Chanterêves is a new producer in Savigny-lès-Beaune. They purposefully describe themselves as ‘négociant-vinificateurs‘, this to underline that they buy grapes and then do everything that comes afterwards, rather than some of the less demanding shades of négoce.
Wine is a physical profession. We take what we have and try to make the best out of it – either in the vines or in the cuverie.
Tomoko Kuriyama. @TomokoKuriyama
Chanterêves was founded in 2010 by Guillaume Bott (right-hand man of Simon Bize at his domaine in Savigny-les-Beaune) and Tomoko Kuriyama who was Winemaker of Friedrich Altenkirch in Rheingau (2007-2011). Guillaume and Tomoko began working together in Pommard, before moving to newly (actually half-) built premises in Savigny just in time for the 2012 harvest. I first met Tomoko during the harvest when she and Guillaume’s mum were de-selecting the bad berries from a case of Pommard, and thought it would be nice to revisit when things were a little less hectic – for both of us!
In the beginning
Tomoko and her (German) husband had decided to move from Japan to Germany to bring up their two children auf Deutsch. It was only after she arrived, that she found that her Japanese degree was not classed as a degree in Germany. Added to that, many parts of Germany still regard ‘mothers’ as people who should stay at home to look after their children but this was too constraining for Tomoko – but what to do? Her grandmother had been a cookery teacher, Tomoko found this challenging but says with a smile ‘but winemaking is also part of culinary culture!’
One day Tomoko decided to knock on the door of Paul Fürst’s domaine in Franken and asked if she could taste – after tasting she asked if she could become an apprentice at the domaine! I think it took a few moments for them to realise that Tomoko wasn’t joking, and eventually said ‘well, if you are going to work here, you will have to start with the bottling – the hardest job!’. Three years later Tomoko qualified as a winemaker from the University of Geisenheim.
A big change in life came in 2005 when Tomoko did a stage at Domaine Simon Bize – at the same time she was offered the job of an estate manager in the Rheingau. Her time in Savigny though, had founded a connection with Guillaume Bott ‘we just seemed to share the same tastes’ says Tomoko. In 2010 they decided they should set up their own négoce operation.
‘New’ négoce usually struggle to get good grape contracts in their early years, but the good contacts of Guillaume have clearly brought fine dividends. Plaudits came from Jancis Robinson and a consequent sellout of that particular Bourgogne cuvée – more was sourced for the follow-up vintage – just in case! – yet the vagaries of recent yields mean that their ‘largest’ vintage remains their first: 32 barrels of 2010s, 28 barrels of 2011s and 27 from 2012.
Here’s a selection of 2011s tasted with Tomoko and Guillaume, 29th November in Savigny.
These wines were all to be bottled before Christmas. The range is skewed towards whites – maybe a good thing in the 2011 vintage – but that also reflects that it is easier for a new producer to source whites. Guillaume notes that they like a fast, relatively warm fermentation (~21°C) for their whites.
P1 accents lovely red fruit, mainly sourced from Maranges – very pretty. Round with a hint of tannic bitterness – almost a graphite and camphor note in the finish. Fine BPN.
P4, eventually with a pretty berry note as the glass empties. Round in the mouth with a pretty berry fruit and plushness to the texture – very nice flavour dimension in the mid-palate and a tasty length.
Sourced from the Puligny area. The nose is wide and quite interesting. I find a nice extra salty dimension to the flavour and a very good level of extract too for a Bourgogne.
The nose is high-toned, a little floral and with a modest Meursault dimension. Really lovely width and balance and fine silky mid-palate. This is lovely.
P1 (maybe) in a nose of impressive depth. Mineral and complex – again there’s a salty tang here. Good wine!
Chemin de la Grande Chaume