Red, Ready, but will improve

2006 Gevrey-Chambertin, Combottes, 1er Cru, Domaine Dujac

2006 Gevrey-Chambertin, Combottes, 1er Cru, Domaine Dujac

Red | Ready, but will improve | Dujac | Code: 2196 | 2006 | France > Burgundy > Cote de Nuits > Gevrey Chambertin | Pinot Noir | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Dujac

Dujac

Domaine Dujac in Burgundy was acquired by Jacques Seysses in 1967. The domaine in Morey-St-Denis had 4 hectares of vineyards and he has subsequently built it up to 11.5 hectares. Domaine Dujac now includes holdings in Clos de la Roche, Clos St-Denis, Bonnes-Mares, Echézeaux and Charmes-Chambertin . "Use knowledge and technology to counter accidents - for example, bad weather - but, if all is going well, don't interfere," says Seysses and this principle guides much of what happens in the vineyards and the cellars. Dujac wines are neither filtered nor fined and all of his premiers and grands crus are aged in 100% new oak. These are wines of the very highest order.

The first vintage, 1968, was one of the worst years on record so the wines were sold off in bulk, but 1969 was an entirely different matter, putting the domaine firmly on the map. In 1973 Jacques married Rosalind Boswell, a Californian girl who came to work the vintage and stayed for life. The first two of their three children, Jeremy (born 1975), Alec (1977) and Paul (1980) are now involved in the business, as is Jeremy’s wife Diana, also Californian, and a trained oenologist. In 2000 Jeremy Seysses also inaugurated, with his father, a small scale negociant business known as Dujac Fils et Père.
 
The domaine has expanded over the years as additional parcels of vineyard became available, culminating in the acquisition of some exceptional vineyards from Domaine Thomas-Moillard in 2005. In 1987 the domaine moved to lutte raisonée, the reasoned application of treatments, and from 2001 to organic farming. Today 75% of the domaine, including all premier and grand cru vineyards, is farmed organically with experiments also along biodynamic lines.
 
Jacques Seysses is a leading advocate of including stems in the fermentation process, as much so as to avoid bruising the grapes during the de-stemming process as for a desire to include the stems themselves. However each vintage is treated according to its merits and the ripeness of the stems.
 
The cellars in Morey St Denis have been extended in recent years to improve cellaring conditions. The barrels can now be kept at a cooler ambient temperature, enabling the malolactic fermentation to happen later and for the wines to be racked less frequently.
 
Dujac wines are not necessarily the deepest in colour but are noted for their exceptional fragrance, structure and longevity. With seven grands crus in the stable, Dujac is today one of Burgundy’s leading domaines.

Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.

The Grape

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.

Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.

The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.

The Region

Gevrey Chambertin

Gevrey Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin is the largest wine-producing village in Burgundy’s Côte d'Or, with its vineyards spilling over into the next door commune of Brochon.

Located in the far north of the Côtes de Nuits above Morey-St Denis, classic Gevrey-Chambertin is typically deeper in colour, firmer in body and more tannic in structure than most red Burgundy. The best can develop into the richest, most complete and long-lived Pinot Noir in the world. This is largely thanks to the iron-rich clay soils, though much depends on whether the vineyard is located on either the steeper slopes (Evocelles, Clos St Jacques) or the flatter, richer soils (Clos Prieur, Combottes).

Whereas in the past there have been numerous underperformers in Gevrey-Chambertin exploiting the reputation of this famous village and its iconic Grands Crus, today there are many fine sources to choose from, and overall quality is higher than ever.

Gevrey-Chambertin’s greatest Grand Cru is named after the field of the monk Bertin (Champ de Bertin). In 1847, Gevrey appended the name of this illustrious vineyard, Chambertin, setting a trend for the other principle villages to follow. Le Chambertin may not be quite as sumptuous as Musigny or Richebourg, or as divinely elegant as La Tâche or Romanée-St Vivant, but it is matched only by the legendary Romanée-Conti for completeness and luscious intensity.

In all, Gevrey boasts an impressive nine Grands Crus, with the name of Chambertin retaining a regal omnipresence throughout its finest vineyard names. The other truly great Grand Cru is Chambertin-Clos de Bèze which has the right to sell its wines simply as ‘Chambertin’, and is the only wine allowed to put the Chambertin name before, rather than after, its own. Situated slightly further up the hill, the wines are fractionally less powerful yet full of sensual charm and finesse.

Quality-wise the next best are generally acknowledged to be Mazis-Chambertin and Latricières-Chambertin. The former is incredibly concentrated and very fine, but its structure is a little less firm than Le Chambertin. Latricières is less about power (although it can be explosively fruity) and more about an entrancing silkiness.

Situated slightly higher up the slope, Ruchottes-Chambertin is impressively rich, stylish and slightly angular. The tiny Griottes-Chambertin, which owes its name to the grill-pan shape of the vineyard rather than the wine’s griotte cherry aroma, is lower down the slope and boasts a velvety texture and rich fruit reminiscent of Chambertin itself. It is generally better than the lighter, although wonderfully fragrant Chapelle-Chambertin and Gevrey’s largest Grand Cru, the pure and seductive (if variable) Charmes-Chambertin.

Gevrey also has some outstanding Premier Crus on the south-east-facing slopes above the town. Les Cazetiers and especially Clos St Jacques produce some exceptional wines. Indeed Armand Rousseau, who pioneered domaine bottling here in the 1930s and is still one of the region’s very best producers, often sells his Clos St Jacques for more than several of his Grand Crus.

Drinking dates for these wines vary, but Grand Crus are generally best from at least 10 to 25 years, Premier Crus from eight to 20 years, and village wines from five to 12 years.

  • 315 hectares of village Gevrey Chambertin
  • 84 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). The foremost vineyards include Clos St Jacques, Lavaux St Jacques, Combottes, Corbeaux, Cherbaudes, Cazetiers.
  • 55 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Latricières-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Chapelle-Chambertin, Griottes-Chambertin..
  • Recommended producers:  Bachelet, Dugat, Esmonin, Mortet, Rossignol Trapet, Rousseau, Serafin, Bernstein
  • Recommended restaurants : Chez Guy (good wine list), Rôtisserie du Chambertin (and Bistro)

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