We knew already in late 2011 that the family Maume wanted to extract the equity in the domaine which had been run so well by Bertrand Maume – sad for him, for sure – it was a source of wines with a lot of personality, but who or what would come next? There was plenty of speculation, there always is, but it seemed to centre around various large négoce, so it was a bit of surprise when we learned a few weeks back that it was the backers of Pascal Marchand’s operation in Nuits St.Georges – Murray Tawse who had scooped the four hectare domaine from ‘the usual suspects’.
The good news is that Bertrand Maume will remain with the domaine. He has managed his vines with a ‘lutte raisonée’ approach, but with input from Pascal Marchand, still working with his old number two, Bernard Zito, they have now started the conversion to Biodynamics “Actually, it wasn’t that easy to start doing anything” joked Pascal yesterday, “We’ve had so much rain since the early Spring that we can hardly get into the vines because of the mud!”.
Maume is a relatively tiny estate in Gevrey-Chambertin, which, during the stewardship of Bernard Maume was just under 4 hectares – Bernard was a professor at Dijon University who amongst other things studied yeasts and starches. His son Bertrand, the fifth generation of the family at the domaine, joined in 1988 and is now responsible for closer to 5 hectares of vines of which the grand cru Mazis-Chambertin is their single largest plot. They also have a clutch of Gevrey premiers, villages Gevrey and and some bourgogne rouge. To expand his horizons a little Bertrand is also making a few négoce wines (from grapes) under the ‘Maison Maume’ label, I guess it is easy to get hold of some good starting materials if you’ve a little Mazis to trade – that’s conjecture on my part!
Bertrand seems slightly guarded when we first start chatting but is soon cracking jokes – I never met Bernard, but I assume father and son are quite different – at-least Bertrand doesn’t seem to have the air of a professor to me.
Despite being on the Route Nationale through Gevrey, the domaine is not the easiest to find, hiding as it does behind the smallest of name plates on the door – you’ll need the door to be closed to see it, and it might still be obscured by parked vans! When I visited at the end of March it was far from the tidiest of courtyards but they were clearly preparing for some building work. Part of the courtyard’s detritis (it seemed) was was a sawn-off barrel that looked like it had been attacked by a bear or a wolf – it turned out that this was actually the dog’s bed – the owner being a large, shaggy, Bernese mountain dog who was too sleepy to raise an eye-lid when I arrived…
The domaine is itself a mix of vintages, the most recent 1999-2000, some more from 1991 construction and the main house in 1832. The old old cellar under the house dates from 1726. There is plenty of space, but it’s also needed because the elevage for the wines is in the order of 20-22 months so two vintages are in barrel at the same time.
Lutte raisonée is Bertrand’s approach in the vines, “bio is a step too far far” he says, “I prefer to follow how the year develops rather than stick to a regime.”
“I’m known for reds so I like very much to vinify a little white but clearly it’s only a little.” True, but that ‘little’ is Corton-Charlemagne!
The grapes are sorted at the vines then again back at the domaine before 100% de-stemming. Since 2005 Bertrand has taken the approach of trying to keep those destemmed grapes in as perfect a shape as possible (no crusing) when put into the fermentation tanks. Around 5 days of cold pre-fermentation maceration followed by about 15 days for fermentation would be a rough guide.
Not a particularly high percentage of new oak is used but there is a wide variation in the wood used; Bertrand likes to match the barrel-maker to the cru “For Mazis I prefers Cavin and Berthomieu with oak more from Nevers. For Charmes-Chambertin Tronçais oak from tonellerie Aquitaine, Lavaux is a little between the two. For our Gevrey Vieilles Vignes I use Cavin which goes well with the wine’s spice. The Bourgogne usually Cadus with Nevers oak, medium grained, medium-plus toast. I find that finer grained wood gives a little too much vanilla for my taste.”
Tasted 22nd March 2011. There are a few négoce barrels in the cellar – we can start with those – they were to be bottled in the next two weeks. I wonder if it is the very soft handling of the grapes post-2005 but I find a little less rusticity and a clearer fruit to these wines versus older bottles.
The nose is wide and quite interesting. In the mouth there’s both power and minerality.
Apparently ready for bottling. There’s a little reduction on the nose. In the mouth fruity and round – quite long too – in-between there’s some slightly rustic tannin, though this will be but a memory in two or three years.
The nose is high-toned with pretty red berries. Again there’s slightly rustic tannin under ebullient fruit – good minerality though. This is quite interesting.
Dark fruit dovetails with hints of reduction. Very mineral then slowly leaches mouth-watering flavour. This is very impressive.
There are 1 hectare of Bourgogne vines are within the commune of Gevrey next to the Gevrey villages lieu-dit of Platières. Round with really good flavour. There’s some tannin of-course and a strong, slightly bitter finish.
An assemblage from 10 parcels of vines which normally makes 3 cuvées; a Gevrey Aux Etelois, a Gevrey En Pallud (seventy-five year-old vines) and this wine. A spiced-bread nose. The serious flavour grows and grows. Will be very good.
A little reduction. Lots of cherries in the flavour and intense flavour too. Long finishing.
The 09 Gevrey En Pallud starts wide with hints of almond and more than hints of vanilla, move to a Berthomeau barrel and the vanilla is on a lower level. The Gevrey 1er Lavaux shows round aromas with hints of spice – a full and mineral wine. Charmes-Chambertin also puts the full and intense fruit in a narrow frame of vanilla. Finally the Mazis-Chambertin is the most mineral with a little licorice flavour – a second sample from a Berthomeau barrel the minerality is lower and the wine is rounder – I prefer the first! “The Charmes is from Mazoyères – more Alliers oak here. I like Charmes a lot, density with a really good length” says Bertrand, whereas the Mazis-Chambertin (du bas) – “Plenty of tannin; normally spice, mineral and muscle, a little licorice too. Mazis is like some people – not to the left, not to the right – they are completely direct.“
Aromatically understated. Round and balanced ; another wine with hints of vanilla. Long and lingering. Indeed very long…
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