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Profile: Domaine Chantal Remy (Morey)

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Monuments to Domaine Remy dot important vineyards of the Côte de Nuits. The family domaine is much smaller today, but still with much to offer.

There were once two domaine Remys – one in Gevrey-Chambertin and the other in Morey St.Denis. The Gevrey domaine of Philippe Remy was the one purchased by Lalou Bize-Leroy in 1989 to augment her Domaine Leroy. The second domaine, from a branch of the same family, was Domaine Louis Remy.

Domaine Louis Remy is housed in a very nice building on the Place du Monument in the middle of Morey St.Denis – the same building where the family wine business began in 1820. The name of the domaine changed from Louis Remy to Domaine Chantal Remy in 2009 – Louis had died in 1982 leaving Chantal’s mother, Marie-Louise, in charge. Chantal, a qualified oenologist had helped with the vintages from 1985, but returned from Paris to work full-time with her mother at the domaine from 1988.

1-DSC02216When Marie-Louise passed away in 2008. Chantal was not the only heir to the domaine, she had two brothers, so the domaine was split into three at that time. So from 4.5 hectares, Chantal was left with just 1.5, losing all the villages wines and a plot of Chambolle-Musigny 1er Derrière la Grange (right). But lucky Chantal was left with all the grand crus!

Today, Chantal is helped at the domaine by Petrus the cat and her son Florian, who worked for a Swiss supermarket chain before returning to the Beaune Viti (Florian, not the cat). Before the three of us sat together to taste some wines, Florian took me on a special tour of what once was garden to the house – but no more! Florian’s great-grandfather used to have vines neighbouring the house, vines were once classed as 1er Cru ‘Les Villages’ but really he preferred to have a rose garden – eventually a tennis court too! In 2000 Chantal and her mother decided to replant this area – later doing away with ‘Roland Garros’ too quips Florian. They asked the AOC if the wine could once-more be classed as 1er Cru, but their response was ‘let’s wait and see what the quality is like’. From what I can see and taste, premier cru is close to guaranteed – eventually… This plot, now called Clos Les Rosiers, Monopole, delivers about 1,500 bottles per vintage (though yields were only 60% in 2012) and interestingly it sits in a very special corner of the garden – over one wall the Clos de Tart is its neighbour, over the other wall is the Clos du Lambrays – the young vines in terms of delivery and complexity currently remind me of Lambrays more than Tart, but that is also the house-style. More importantly it is a great bottle!

Across the courtyard from the house is the cuverie – set on two levels, it significantly predates the domaine, it also is significantly larger than they need for their 1.5 hectares – so to augment these volumes they add some bought-in grapes from their neighbours, selling under the label Heretières du Remy – the label is still small as sourcing good grapes remains challenging.

Vines and wines…

The domaine is run on a lutte-raisonée basis, using a horse to plough the vineyards – admittedly there are not too many hectares to manage with the horse! Harvesting is by hand, relatively late harvested, and the best whole clusters may be retained – say 10% – with some crushing of the grapes before roughly 3 week fermentations. The domaine still use their 1940s press ‘it’s not very practical, and takes a whole day to do a press’ notes Florian – but with a broad smile. The pressed wine then runs by gravity into the barrel cellar below.

The domaine has relatively long aging, 20-22 months in up to 30% new oak, but whether villages or grand cru the wines are racked after the malos. The wines are bottled without filtration; Florian adds ‘My grandfather used to say that when you filter a wine, you undress it. We are looking for finesse and elegance.’

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The following were tasted with Chantal and Florian Remy on 11th July 2013. Much bottling was underway that week, but they still found a little time for me. As far as the 2012s are concerned they have only 60% yields versus ‘normal’ but are very happy with the cleanliness and quality of those grapes – lots and lots of millerandes – the main reason that yields are so low…

Whilst I’m (more than) happy to sip an oaky young Clos de Tart or a stemmy Pascal Marchand or Domaine de L’Arlot wine, the wines of Remy would, more often than not, fit my prescription for a perfect bottle. Elegance and complexity, with quite enough understated power, thank-you. Just very lovely wines.

2011 Morey St.Denis, Clos du Rosiere
Bottled just 1 week ago.
A small amount of P, otherwise there are very pretty red fruits. Round, with beautiful sweetness and plenty of acidity. There’s a strong, strong line of flavour that runs into the finish. Super!

2011 Mores St.Denis 1er Cru, Clos des Ormes
A négoce wine made from the produce of almost 50 year-old vines.
The nose is high-toned, perfumed and with a raspberry fruit base, eventually just a little P. Here is a lovely sucrosité, and a little more minerality. Good length, though perhaps a little shy of the great finish from the Clos du Rosier. That-said, here is a slightly more powerful delivery. Very nice.

2011 Latricières-Chambertin
The main part of this vineyard has 70 year-old vines, though every two years a little is replanted.
Faint P, high-tones and the impression of a little texture to this nose – it’s more mineral but a little tighter than the last two wines. Very-much more mineral in the mouth. It’s very fine yet delicate – certainly an understated wine and one to wait for too. The flavour lingers beautifully on fine acidity.

2011 Chambertin
From a parcel next to Trapet and Leroy. These 80 year-old vines almost always deliver very small, millerande grapes.
Darker colour. Modest P, but this is also deeper and more profound – very, very impressive. The intensity is super here. The acidity in the finish seems accentuated by a little CO2 – it is being bottled later today…

Domaine Chantal Remy
1, place du Monument
21220 Morey-Saint-Denis
Tel: +33 (0)3 80 34 32 59
www.domaine-chantal-remy.com

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