2012 Chambertin, Clos de Bèze, Grand Cru, Domaine Alain Burguet, Burgundy
Neal Martin - 30/12/2013
About this WINE
Domaine Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet
Barrel-chested Alain Burguet has been one of Gevrey’s most respected vignerons for a quarter of a century. He has been making terrific wines in Gevrey Chambertin for nearly thirty years, during which time his techniques have evolved. He left school in 1964 to work in the vines and made his first vintage under his own name in 1972. Alain is approximately two barrels tall by one barrel wide, and his muscular physique could be seen in the wines he made in the 1980s, where the tannins were occasionally too firm for the fruit. His style has evolved since then, the fruit now being picked later and riper to add a richer dimension to his wines. He is now assisted by his two sons, Jean-Luc and Eric.
Most of the 8 hectare domaine consists of village Gevrey Chambertin. Les Justices, En Billard and En Reniard are bottled on their own, alongside two blends – a Gevrey Chambertin Tradition and his excellent ‘Mes Favorites’, made from old vines and favoured sites. There is also a small cuvée of premier cru Les Champeaux, just 0.18 ha. These are supplemented by three negociant cuvées – Chambolle Musigny Les Chardannes, Vosne Romanée 1er cru les Rouges and grand cru Chambertin Clos de Bèze so that Alain can try his hand at making different appellations.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
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)
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.
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This Grand Cru Chambertin Clos de Bèze shows agreeably fresh, layered and cool wild red berry fruit aromas that are liberally laced with a sauvage character. There is good richness and plenty of volume to the tautly muscled medium weight plus flavors that possess a subtle minerality that continues onto the impressively long finish. Like several wines in the range this is not especially complex at present but my projected range offers the benefit of the doubt that much more will develop with time in bottle.
Eric and Jean-Luc Burguet succinctly described 2012 as a difficult vintage that was not easy to manage. We lost a lot of the potential crop because of a poor flowering and then at the time of the harvest we lost more due to a careful sorting process. On the plus side the fruit was concentrated and the vinifications were able to pull out this material into the wine with almost no help from us. As a result the 2012s are quite fleshy and generous with seductive mouth feels that should allow the wines to be very popular as they will be easy to appreciate. For us, 2012 is not a great vintage but it is an attractive one all the same. My take on the Burguet 2012s is pretty much spot on with how the brothers feel about their wines, which is to say that the quality is consistent with the general level of the vintage. The 2012s will be bottled without fining or filtration.
91-93/100 Allen Meadows - burghound.com - issue 53 - Jan 2014
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