July 26, 2014
Worth the Wait Arriving Next Week
Thomas Pico is the young winemaker/proprietor at the head of Domaine Pattes Loup, a small plot of his family’s vineyard in Chablis. At the age of 30, he’s already earned a reputation for innovation and excellence in a region known for tradition and difficult growing conditions. In 2005, he dubbed his inherited 2.4 hectares “Wolf Paws,” and began transforming the site with strict yield control and organic viticulture.
One key to his success is his vines:planted by his grandfather in selection massale in the hillsides near Courgis and Preys, the two highest altitude villages within Chablis, with vineyards up to 300 meters. The quality of the grapes helps him express the briny minerality prized in Chablis, while adding density and texture. Pico harvests everything by hand, with hand sorting of any imperfect berries at the winery on a vibrating table de trie. He ferments all his wines using indigenous yeasts. He does a 14-16 month élévage on the wines and bottles without fining and filtration. His Chablis AC, from 55+ year old vines, is fermented in about 30-40% in concrete egg-shaped fermenters with the balance in stainless steel. The Premier Crus, Côte de Jouan, Beauregard and Montmains (from the lieu-dit “”Butteaux””), are farmed from hillside vineyards between 25 and 50 years and aged in older oak.The third generation of winemakers in his family, Pico has wisdom beyond his years, creating wines with a sense of vitality, and a textured density that can only come from his dedicated work in the vineyards.
Arriving Next Week
Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis 2012 ($31.95) $28 special 12+ bottles available Stephen Tanzer 90 points “Full straw color. Orange oil and spices on the nose, with a leesy nuance and a suggestion of honeyed ripeness. Rich, spicy and concentrated, with ripe stone and soft citrus fruit flavors framed by harmonious acidity and an element of dusty stone. Ripe, pliant, tactile village wine with lovely shimmering energy on the back end. This would be perfect with oysters.”
Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis Les Beauregards Premier Cru 2012 ($44.95) $41.90 special 12+ bottles available Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Pale yellow-gold. Aromas of orange zest and spices are complicated by a trace of nutty lees. Plump, broad, spicy and sweet, showing fine-grained, open-knit flavors of very ripe peach and soft citrus fruits. Distinctly sweeter than the Cote de Jouan but the dusty, tactile finish displays precise notes of tangerine and minerals. ”
Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis Butteaux Premier Cru 2012 ($44.95) $41.90 special 12+ bottles available Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Pale yellow-gold. Cooler and more reticent on the nose than the Beauregard, offering hints of orange zest, ginger and crushed stone. Then surprisingly plush and broad, showing sexy floral lift to the mineral and spice flavors. Turns more taut on the back end than the Beauregard, finishing tactile, long and extract-rich, with bright lemon and spice notes and noteworthy breadth.”
Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis Cote de Jouans Premier Cru 2012 ($44.95) $41.90 special 12+ bottles available Wine Advocate 90-91+ points “Through vintage 2011, the wines were raised in older barriques, but beginning with 2012, Pico has introduced some new demi-muids crafted in France and Austria (from French oak). From barrel, the Pattes Loup 2012 Chablis Cotes de Jouan delivers a chalky, bright lemony, piquantly fruit pit-tinged performance that searches every recess of one-s palate, then leaves it feeling cleansed and invigoratingly scoured even as mineral, citric and cyanic notes deposit a long-lasting and mouthwatering residue. Look for a run of excitingly intense if potentially sparely-textured performances through at least 2020. ”
Collector’s Corner All Pinot Noir – All Here Now
While Nuits-Saint-Georges does not officially have any grand cru vineyards, we are convinced that Chevillon is producing wines from the area that are firmly grand cru quality. The Chevillons have been part of the winemaking history of Nuit St Georges since Symphorien Chevillon began producing in the early 1900s. Several generations of Chevillons worked to build their vineyards, with Robert at the helm until 2003, when he passed the winemaking to his sons Denis and Bertrand.
Their land consists of roughly 13 ha in Nuits, mostly Premier Cru, from which they produce a wide selection of single vineyard bottlings each year. The wines are all made in exactly the same way – only the quantity of new oak may vary between villages and 1er Crus. The domaine sticks with 30% new wood for the 1er Crus, the villages normally being brought-up in something closer to 20% new wood, the remainder a blend of 2-3 year-old barrels. There are no tricks at Chevillon: the reliance is on old vines and old fashioned winemaking, an integral part of their process is to let a vine produce for as long as it can, replacing vines individually as they age. Domaine Robert Chevillon produce yardstick Nuits-St.-Georges with care and devotion. Famous for transparency and consistency in winemaking, Chevillon finds a way to let the vintage and the terroir speak for itself every year, producing wines of complexity that are well worth cellaring.
New re-Arrivals from Chevillon –
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Roncieres Premier Cru 2009 ($99.95) $69 special 18 bottles available Burghound 91-93 points “Moderate wood influence does not unduly hamper the attractiveness of the otherwise fresh and bright earthy and high-toned red pinot fruit suffused nose. The rich and solidly structured medium-bodied flavors possess copious amounts of mid-palate sap, which is a good thing because the impressively persistent finish is firm to the point of being chewy. This is potentially the best example of the Chevillon Roncières that I have ever seen from cask though note that patience will be required.”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Perrieres Premier Cru 2009 ($99.95) $69 special 7 bottles available Burghound 90-93 points “A more elegant nose of ultra fresh though restrained red berry fruit and cassis blossom precedes rich, concentrated and palate staining mineral-driven medium-bodied flavors that are quite serious on the linear, focused and impeccably well-balanced finish. Excellent.”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Bousselots Premier Cru 2009 ($99.95) $69 special 7 bottles available Burghound 90-92 points “Subtle but not invisible wood frames relatively high-toned red berry fruit, especially red currant, that introduces delicious, round and unusually fine middle weight flavors thanks to the refined tannins and impressively long finish. The ‘09 is the best example of this wine that I have ever tasted from cask chez Chevillon.”
More Chevillon wines – all available now
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-Georges Vieilles Vignes 2007 ($54.95) $49 special 10 bottles available Burghound 91 points “Elegant and beautifully expressive aromas of white fruits and flowers trimmed in noticeable wood introduce detailed, fine and mineral-infused medium weight flavors that are both sappy and precise on the impressively persistent finish. This is beautifully well-balanced though the wood is hardly restrained.”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Cailles Premier Cru 2007 ($119.95) $99 special 1 bottle available Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Good medium red. Black fruit and violet aromas lifted by a stony nuance. Sweet, intense and quite structured for 2007, with a superb stony underpinning to the strawberry and raspberry fruit flavors. Finishes pliant and long. This will be ready before the 2008, but there may be even more mid-palate sweetness here”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Roncieres Premier Cru 2007 ($69.95) $66 special 11 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 88-91 points “Bright, full red. Dark raspberry, spices and an element of leathery reduction on the nose. Then densely packed but youthfully imploded and a bit reduced, with a distinctly darker character to the blackberry, blueberry and violet flavors. In a fruit-driven style, but this will require a good four or five years to blossom in bottle. Finishes supple, fruity and long, with excellent intensity”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Roncieres Premier Cru 2008 ($89.95) $69 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 89-92 points “Medium-deep red. Sexy aromas of raspberry, flinty minerality and smoked meat. Sweet, bright and showy, with lovely cut and definition to its dense berry flavors. Combines brisk acidity and an impression of thorough ripeness. Very pure on the aftertaste.”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Vaucrains Premier Cru 2007 ($109.95) $89 special 12+ bottles available Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points “Good dark red. Wilder on the nose than the Saint-Georges, offering black cherry, dark chocolate, smoke and a whiff of game. Wonderfully sweet in the mouth but youthfully closed, with a medicinal menthol note supporting the impression of power. Can’t quite match the Saint-Georges today for complexity or personality, but this is also very convincing on the back end. And this too calls for six or seven years of cellaring.”
Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St-George Les Vaucrains Premier Cru 2008 ($119.95) $99 special 12+ bottles available Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points “Deep, bright ruby-red. Black raspberry and chocolate aromas are complemented by sweet oak. Less refined than the Saint-Georges or Cailles but solidly built and quite powerful, with a youthfully medicinal character to the blast of dark fruit flavors. Extremely primary and impressively long. This may need the most patience of this excellent set of 2008s”
Chapter 24 2012 Pinot Noir
Launched by Mark Tarlov, the former owner of Evening Land Vineyards, in 2012, Chapter 24 Vineyards is a collaboration of several unique talents. Wanting to being surround himself with as much talent as possible, Mark chose to bring on Burgundian vigneron Louis Michel Liger-Belair, the highly respected owner of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, as consultant to work with winemaker Mike D. Etzel, the son of Beaux Freres winemaker Michael Etzel. Tarlov plans to build a winery and acquire one or two vineyards in the Willamette Valley while also signing long-term contracts with several other vineyards, current vineyard sources include Patricia Green Estate, Hyland Estates, Shea Vineyard, Lachini Vineyard, and Nysa Vineyard. Inspired by his background in film, all Chapter 24 wines draw their names from Homer’s “The Odyssey”. Two Messengers, their Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, is part of an ongoing collaboration with Patricia Green Cellars. A mid-range label, Fire+Flood, offers The Fire and The Flood, two Pinots that explore the two main soil types in the Willamette Valley, Jory (Fire) and Willakenzie (Flood). The highest end release is Last Chapter, the final scene in “The Odyssey”, and is a culmination of Tarlov’s long history with Oregon wine, with goal of promoting thoughtful wines, winemaking practices, and the wonderful terroir of the Willamette Valley.
Chapter 24 Pinot Noir – Available Now
Chapter 24 Two Messengers Pinot Noir 2012 ($29.95) $26 special 11 bottles available From the winery “Our goal with the Two Messengers is to explore the meeting point and harmony that makes wine so pleasurable. For 2012 that meant drawing from multiple sites and their various personalities. Together they forged a wine tasting like fresh red cherries scented with floral and forest floor notes. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Chapter 24 The Flood Pinot Noir 2012 375ml ($31.95) $27 special 6 bottles available Chapter 24 The Flood Pinot Noir 2012 750ml ($61.95) $54 special 11 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 93 Points “Vivid ruby. Powerful aromas of dark berry preserves, cola, licorice and lavender are energized by a bright mineral flourish. Palate-staining boysenberry and black raspberry flavors are given bite by a hint of blood orange. Sweet and broad on the long, sappy finish, which repeats the floral note and shows just a trace of tannins.”
Chapter 24 The Last Chapter Pinot Noir 2012 ($99.95) $79 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 94 Points “Vivid ruby-red. Heady, exotically perfumed aromas of dark berry liqueur, cherry-cola, Asian spices and potpourri. Densely packed yet lithe, offering palate-staining red and dark berry and spicecake flavors that gains sweetness and vivacity with air. Distinctly fresh and supple on the gently tannic, incisive finish, which leaves notes of allspice and candied flowers behind.”
Armand Rousseau Wines
Domaine Armand Rousseau is revered as one of the grand old domaines of Burgundy, resplendent with 14 hectares (half Grand Crus), noble old vines, and a long history of fantastic winemaking. Armand Rousseau founded this famous Burgundy domaine, located in Gevrey, in the 1920s, basing the winery in the Combe de Lavaut.
Armand Rousseau was at the forefront of the first wave of domaine bottling in the 1930s and quickly established the domaine as one of the greatest in Burgundy, while continuing to expand his vineyard holdings. He was succeeded by his son Charles in 1959, shortly after they had bought a significant slice of the Clos St Jacques vineyard. In 1982, Eric, Charles’ son joined the team after completing studies at the Lycée Agricole et Viticole of Mâcon Davayé and one year of specializing in oenology at Dijon University.
Charles Rousseau (left) and his son Eric (right) in the vineyard in Gevrey Chambertin (center)
While Charles Rousseau may still be present at the winery, his son Eric has taken over wine making responsibilities since 1982, along with many younger members of the Rousseau family, including Eric’s daughter Cyrielle, who recently joined the family operation in 2012 after studying oeneology in Burgundy and Oregon. Compared to twenty years ago, Eric’s presence can be most clearly seen in the vineyard. Viticulture is significantly more precise and yields are now mastered through green harvesting, using leaf removal and mechanical work of the soil without use of insecticides or chemical additions.
The simple principle of old vines and restricted yields dictates the Rousseau style and Eric has changed little in the cellars since taking over, producing finely structured wines of great elegance and longevity. Rousseau retains around 15 per cent of the stems, giving tannin and structure to the wines and aerating the juice and skins. After de-stemming, the grapes are cooled to 15°C then macerated for 18-20 days, without heating or other temperature control. Punching down and pumping over are both used. The wines are then sent to barrel, with the same percentage of new oak being followed each year, except for the Clos St Jacques which may vary. Under the helm of Eric, Domaine Rousseau offers consistent quality across the range, including their three most rare and sough after wines; Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze and Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques, considered among the greatest wines in Burgundy.
Stock List – Armand Rousseau Wines – In Stock Now
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($1799.95) $1499 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 95+ points “Bright, deep red, darker than the 2012 today. Wild, soil-driven aromas of blueberry, violet, black pepper, leather and game. Lush, velvety and compellingly sweet, with a magically fine-grained texture and outstanding concentration to the dark berry, violet and earth flavors. This is fat with fruit, and the noble tannins allow the back end to open and expand. Compared to the 2012 version, this may show a bit less inner-mouth tension but it’s richer and more complex at this stage.”
Armand Rousseau Charmes Chambertin 2011 ($599.95) $499 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer & Burghound 89-92 points “(two-thirds from Mazoyeres): Good full medium red. Expressive nose melds redcurrant, mocha, rust, minerals and flowers, plus a suggestion of game birds. Sweet, smoky and nicely concentrated, with a musky quality to the complex flavors of redcurrant, smoky minerality, mocha and game. Finishes with supple tannins and excellent length. Very Gevrey.” ST
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos De Beze 2010 ($1999.95) $1599 special 1 bottle available Stephen Tanzer 97 points “Bright, saturated deep red. Incredible multidimensional nose combines cherry, raspberry, gunflint, crushed rock, flowers and oak spices; youthfully reserved but already remarkably complex. Thick but magically light on its feet, with penetrating red fruit flavors framed and carried by explosive salty minerality. This wonderfully vibrant, refined wine is showing no sign of shutting down but it’s hard to imagine that it won’t go through a sullen stage on its way to peak maturity in 12 to 15 years. The sweet but firmly structured finish saturates the palate with red fruits, minerals and spices.”
Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos De Beze 2011 ($1799.95) $1499 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 94+ points “Good dark red. Expressive aromas of blueberry, woodsmoke, earth and game, plus an ineffable floral complexity. Moderately sweet and very intense, with purple fruit and spice flavors conveying an impression of energy. Tight, serious wine with outstanding breadth and a firm tannic spine to support a slow and graceful evolution in bottle. Leaves behind intense black- and blueberry flavors on the building aftertaste. In November, Rousseau told me he preferred 2011 to 2012 but noted that the ‘12s demonstrated their terroir character more accurately.”
Armand Rousseau Clos De La Roche 2010 ($599.95) $399 special 4 bottles available Burghound 92-94 points “A well-layered and dense nose features notes of anise, earth, underbrush, violets and both red and blue pinot fruit aromas. There is very good volume to the large-scaled and dense yet quite supple flavors that possess excellent length. This is impeccably well-balanced and should require 15 years or so to arrive at its peak.”
Armand Rousseau Clos St Jacques 2011 ($999.95) $899 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 93+ points “Good full red. Spicy red berries, cherry, licorice and a hint of horseradish on the nose. Juicy, brisk and taut; not hugely fleshy but energetic and penetrating. Conveys an impression of density without weight in the manner of the best 2011s. Tightly wound and very backward, finishing with terrific spicy persistence. Eric Rousseau bottled his 2011s in April of 2013; his bottles now have the domain name embossed on the bottom of the glass.”
Armand Rousseau Lavaux St Jacques 2011 ($399.95) $349 special 2 bottles available Burghound 89-91 points “This is also reduced and here it’s enough to render the nose unreadable. There is plenty of energy and precision to the intensely mineral-tinged medium-bodied flavors that possess an elegant mouth feel on the youthfully austere finish. A classic Lavaut that should reward 8 to 10 years of cellar time.”
Armand Rousseau Mazy Chambertin 2011($599.95) $499 special 2 bottles available Stephen Tanzer & Burghound 91-93 points “Good bright, deep red. Wild, vibrant nose offers black cherry, black raspberry, minerals and spices; conveys a small-berry feel. At once dense and juicy; more masculine than the Charmes-Chambertin but also sappy and fined-grained. In a more backward style but already conveys excellent soil accuracy. Finishes with serious but well-buffered tannins and strong soil tones.” ST
Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru 2010 ($799.95) $699 special 4 bottles available Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2010 Ruchottes-Chambertin is an intensely cool, reticent wine. The bouquet recalls the Mazis, but then the firm Ruchottes tannins set in. Ultimately the Ruchottes is built on purity, definition and nuance. The chiseled aromas and flavors possess stunning detail, but it will be some time before the 2010 is ready to drink. Still, I very much like the energy and drive. Bright, floral notes add lift and vibrancy on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045.”
Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($699.95) $599 special 6 bottles available Stephen Tanzer 92-95 points “Bright, deep color. Wild, musky, ripe dark berries, black cherry and botanical herbs on the captivating nose. Dense and sappy, offering an exhilarating high-wire act of sweetness and acidity. Complex flavors of black raspberry, licorice and game birds. Seriously concentrated, expressive grand cru with great purity and round, mouth-saturating tannins. In its tension and fruit persistence, this is close to a 2010 in style; the same could be said for Rousseau’s Mazy-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche.”