Clément, Georges & Pascale Chicotot
I was first aware of Domaine Chicotot through a nice series of photos posted by Clément Chicotot on Facebook – his ducks are the motif to this report. Having asked if it would be okay to reprint his photos, I thought I should also stop-by, to try to find out a little more about the domaine.
I have to say that initially I had some concerns, because the domaine was right on the main road through Nuits St.Georges and it was clear that it was positioned quite well for the tourist trade – indeed the little courtyard was a picture-perfect tourist destination – very pretty indeed – but this left me wondering if enthusiasts would be as well-catered-for as the passing tourist. I have to say, and indeed I am happy to say, that my terrible pre-conceptions were blasted out of the water by a simply brilliant set of wines from a domaine of which I was only peripherally aware – prices are tourist prices – i.e. not very cheap, but these wines are really first class, and as such, offer ample value…
Georges Chicotot is a short bull of a man with round glasses – he would be very easy to caricature – he has the pugnacious, self-confident air of somebody who knows exactly what they are doing and why. His wife Pascale, originally from Alsace, is since 1993 responsible for the vinifications, but she seems to handle Georges quite easily! Their son Clément is mainly to be found in the vines – and of-course taking some nice photos. I believe that Clément is the 8th generation of the family at the domaine. Together they make a really likeable team – I’m already looking forward to making another visit.
Pascale says that the domaine’s clientele has also come through the generations of the family, so the majority of their sales are direct from the domaine – still, there are customers also in Japan, the UK and apparently Italy likes their Bourgogne Pinot Noir – me too!
Vines and wines…
The domaine currently farm 7 hectares, most of which is in Nuits St.Georges, plus a little Aloxe/Ladoix. Many of the domaine vines are 60-80 years old, and they are cared for with a ‘reasoned’ approach, growing grass between the rows and avoiding the use of herbicides. They are ‘hard pruned’ in the winter months to provide a modest yield of grapes.
All the domaine’s triage is done in the vines, using cases of maximum 15kg for the fruit – and no over-filling! Georges is very insistent that this is the only way; “Putting rotten grapes in a basket to be triaged later, means that you will spoil the good grapes” to which I pointed out that it’s not always the most proficient cutters that are employed so it is good to have a second triage at the domaine. He countered “Oh, here they learn very quickly – if they get it wrong, I pour the whole basket over their head.” It was clear from Georges’ delivery, that he was deadly serious, and probably highly competent in this respect 😉
Concrete vats are used for their fermentations, and plenty of whole clusters are used too. Pascale likes to say that the tanks and cuverie offer the descendents of the yeasts that were used by their parents and grandparents. Pigeage is by foot and the domaine uses no pumps.
2011 is the current ‘for sale’ vintage – bottled in February/March 2013 – but we made a tour of the 2012 barrels first – 11th July 2013. The malos were relatively late in this cellar – ’but it’s cold in here’ says Pascale – ‘so it’s like that almost every year’.
Not much new oak is used – certainly no more than 20% – Pascale thinks it hinders terroir expression. They buy old barrels from Dominique Laurent. There is no battonage and no racking. Filtration may only be used if turbidity is too high – i.e. rarely in practice.
100% whole clusters! From southern Nuits – Les Chaillots in Premeaux – goblet pruned and only delivered 28hl/ha in this vintage – normally they achieve 40-42.
My tasting partner and I simultaneously did a double-take here – could this deeply coloured wine really be BPN? The nose was stemmy but showed an almost 1er cru depth and interest. The palate was concentrated and very, very impressive indeed. Wow Bourgogne!
Tiny grapes were harvested this year.
Wow – super colour again. The nose still shows a hint of malo aroma. In the mouth this (again!) shows impressive concentration and an unexpected extra depth of flavour. Hmm – another winner!
A villages plot of 65 year-old vines close to Les St.Georges, ‘always producing small millerande berries.’
Great colour. This is rich and interesting, just a little less silky than the Charmottes.
Concentrated wine – what a beautiful baby. Such a shame that there is only one barrel.
Full and exciting. Some spice and licorice flavours. Great length!
Deep and concentrated aromas. Lovely flavours that have more minerality than Rue de Chaux.
This wine is rounder but less mineral than the Les St.Georges – that said, there is a beautiful stream of acidity that runs through the core of this wine, delivering you into the finish with a flourish!
Hmm – beautiful, deep, jump-out-of-the-glass fruit! Round in the mouth with a hint of musk – very pretty and engaging, stylish too!
The nose is also round, but higher-toned and prettier still. Lovely, cool fruit. Maybe the flavour stops quite quickly but this is beguiling and mouth-watering.
Beautifully defined and focused red berries on the nose. Super concentration and lovely cool fruit again. There’s a clear extra dimension of fruit-flavour here – simply super!
The aromas have less impact than the Vaucrains, but no less delineation and precision. Again the apparent minerality that the 2012 showed but here there is more impact and roundness. A lovely extra growth of flavour and extract as you head into the finish. Excellent!
A 40-year-old treat! Lots of tannin, it’s still astringent too. But growing from the core is a nice sweetness and a lovely acidity that flows through the core of the wine, bring and ensuring life. The nose is now starting to develop strawberry notes. Clearly there is a hard edge to this wine when first opened, but this will be really super with another 2-3 hours of air – you can feel and taste it opening and softening. Yes, a treat!
Domaine Georges & Pascale Chicotot
15 rue Gal de Gaulle
21700 Nuits St.Georges
Tel. +33 (0)3 80 61 19 33