Neal Martin - 02/01/2015
About this WINE
Domaine Christian Serafin
This domaine was originally put on the map by Christian Sérafin’s father, Stanislaus Sérafin, a Polish émigré, who settled in Burgundy before the war. He initially worked as a mason, before purchasing some land in 1947 and establishing himself as a vigneron. His son Christian inherited the domaine in 1988, though he had been making the wine for the previous 20 years. Christian Sérafin is now past retirement age, but with his niece Frédérique in the vineyards and cuverie, and daughter Karine in the office, continuity is in place.
Frédérique and Karine may be expanding the cellar, and while they offer a youthful energy, the winemaking here remains reassuringly familiar and loyal to the house style. The emphasis here is on old vines and low yields, with strict pruning and de-budding, followed by a green harvest and deleafing on both sides.
From the Gevrey Vieilles Vignes upwards, everything sees 100% new oak, all the fruit is de-stemmed, fermented at a highish temperature to ensure good depth of colour and fruit, and bottled unfiltered. The wines are built to last, eschewing the modern trend for light, pretty wines which can be drunk practically from the barrel. These powerful wines age exceptionally well.
Chambolle produces the most elegant wines in the Côte de Nuits, having more active chalk and less clay in the soil than the other villages. The wines may be a little lighter in colour and less tannic than Gevrey-Chambertin but they have a sublime concentration of fruit. Village Chambolle-Musigny usually provides excellent value.
Le Musigny is one of the top half-dozen vineyards in Burgundy, producing wines of extraordinary intensity and yet with a magical velvety character. Les Amoureuses is immediately appealing, a wonderfully sensual wine which deserves Grand Cru status. Bonnes Mares tends to have a firmer structure and ages very well
- 94 hectares of village Chambolle-Musigny.
- 61 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (24 in all). The finest vineyards include Les Amoureuses, Les Charmes, Les Fuées, Les Baudes and Sentiers.
- 24 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard - Bonnes Mares and Le Musigny.
- Recommended producers: de Vogüé, Mugnier, Roumier, Barthod.
- Recommended restaurant: Le Chambolle
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.