2014 Morey-St Denis, Domaine des Lambrays, Burgundy
89-91/100 Top Value Allen Meadows, burghound.com, Jan 2016
About this WINE
Domaine des Lambrays
Domaine des Lambrays was established in 1363 yet it was only in 1981 that this climat was finally promoted to Grand Cru. The estate was purchased in 1996 by the Freune family and since then dramatic changes have taken place, leading to an upsurge in quality. At 8.8 hectares, this is the largest Grand Cru parcel in Burgundy under one proprietor.
As well as the grand cru itself, the Domaine also owns vines in premier cru and village vineyards in Morey, and since 1993, two premier cru vineyards in Puligny Montrachet, les Folatières and Clos du Cailleret, purchased from Domaine Chartron.
Winemaker Thierry Brouin has been in charge since 1979. The vineyards are run on more or less organic lines, with no chemical anti-rot sprays, and ploughing of the soil by horse. In the cellar, he likes to use the majority of the stems, favours punching down over pumping over, and prefers to restrain the amount of new oak – around 50% for the grand cru. The produce of young vines is downgraded to Morey St Denis 1er cru where it joins the fruit of tiny holdings of La Riotte and Le Village. The village Morey comes from La Riotte, Clos Solon, Les Larreys and especially La Bidaude which lies just above the Clos des Lambrays.
Domaine des Lambrays produces wines which possess balance, power and finesse and which fully live up to their Grand Cru status.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Morey is sometimes ignored between its two famous neighbours, Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin, but its wines are of equal class, combining elegance and structure. Morey-St Denis, being that little bit less famous, can often provide excellent value.
The four main Grand Cru vineyards continue in a line from those of Gevrey-Chambertin, with Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche the most widely available. Clos des Lambrays (almost) and Clos de Tart (entirely) are monopolies of the domains which bear the same names.
Domaine Dujac and Domaine Ponsot also make rare white wines in Morey-St Denis.
- 64 hectares of village Morey-St Denis
- 33 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). Best vineyards include Les Charmes, Les Millandes, Clos de la Bussière, Les Monts Luisants
- 40 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard. Clos de Tart, Clos des Lambrays, Clos de la Roche, Clos St Denis and a tiny part of Bonnes Mares
- Recommended Producers: Dujac, Ponsot, Clos de Tart, Domaine des Lambrays
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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Most of the grapes here come from the hillside above Clos des Lambrays. This is a fresh, full purple, showing a spicy nose (even though no stems were used). There’s rich, purple fruit with weight and energy, and an impressive depth of fruit and a good acid balance too.
Thierry Brouin, whose successor at the Domaine des Lambrays is about to be unveiled, is very happy with 2014, his 36th vintage in charge here. He began picking on 22nd September, relatively late by his standards, and is happy to have produced a little more wine this year (with the exception of the Premier Cru).
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