2012 Clos Vougeot, Grand Cru, Olivier Bernstein, Burgundy
Neal Martin - 30/12/2013
Jancis Robinson - jancisrobinson.com - 13-Jan-2014
About this WINE
Much has changed in Burgundy, both economically and climatologically, since Olivier Bernstein began his eponymous project with the 2007 vintage. Yet the aim here remains essentially the same: to produce wines of the highest possible quality and to forego nothing in a quest to create elegant, sensual and refined wines that can sit comfortably among the top wines of Burgundy.
It is this quest for perfection that has seen Olivier cease production of two of his Premiers Crus in order to focus on his domaine holding in Champeaux, and the seven Grands Crus which are now well established in the range: Charmes-Chambertin; Mazis-Chambertin; Chambertin Clos de Bèze; Chambertin; Clos de la Roche; Bonnes Mares; and Clos de Vougeot.
Most of the wine produced in this small village comes from a single, walled Grand Cru vineyard, the famous Clos de Vougeot. The vineyard in its present form dates from 1336 (when it was first planted by monks of Cîteaux), although it was not until the following century that it was entirely enclosed by stone walls.Clos de Vougeot is both the smallest commune and the largest Clos in the Cote d’Or. It consists of 50 hectares of vineyards shared among 82 owners, with six soil types. There is quite a difference in quality between the upper (best) and lower (least fine) parts of the vineyard, though in medieval times a blend from all sectors was considered optimum.
Le Domaine de la Vougeraie makes a very fine white wine from Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot, first picked out by the monks of Cîteaux as being suitable ground for white grapes in the year 1110.
- Five hectares of village Vougeot
- 12 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (four in all): Les Cras, Les Petits-Vougeots, Clos de la Perrière and Clos Blanc de Vougeot
- 51 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard – Clos de Vougeot
- Recommended producers: Domaine de la Vougeraie, Domaine Bertagna, Engel, Anne Gros, Grivot, Liger-Belair, Meo-Camuzet.
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.
Add to wishlist
Olivier Bernstein’s grapes come from the centre and the southern side of this famous 50 hectare Grand Cru, from two plots both located at mid-slope. Exactly when the Clos de Vougeot vineyard was enclosed by walls is uncertain, though there is mention of a ‘clausum’ de Vougeot in 1211 and of the ‘grand clos de Cîteaux’ at Vougeot in 1228. A date often quoted is 1336 – a date cited by Camille Rodier for the acquisition of the final parcel of vines.
The vines for the Bernstein grapes date back up to 80 years. Rich, deep purple, the nose at first shows power but not too much detail, before the rich dark cherry fruit starts to expand. The wine opens up slowly on the palate to show luxuriant fruit, a very full, multi-layered, mouthful. The wine finishes on a fabulous brisk, nervous intensity. This is a deeply impressive example of Clos de Vougeot with fruit, flesh, density and precision.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director
The wines of Burgundy – perhaps more than any other region – are a product both of place but also of people. With individual vineyard plots often split amongst countless producers, the terroir expressed in a wine can be unusually specific; equally the style of the winemaker can be readily discerned when tasted against his neighbours.
Back in 2007, Jasper Morris MW – Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Burgundy buyer, who lives in the region for most of the year – heard whispers about a new producer, whose wines were said to be universally impressive. Jasper duly sought out Olivier Bernstein and tasted his portfolio: “It was terrifically exciting to come across a brand-new quality producer in the Burgundy market, and to taste wines of such class from his very first vintage,” says Morris.
“Now, five years on, Olivier has matured into a confident player with his Premiers and Grands Crus wines of the Côte de Nui
wine at a glance
Delivery and quality guarantee