2016 Chambolle-Musigny, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Burgundy
Neal Martin - 29/12/2017
About this WINE
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod
Ghislaine Barthod’s domaine originated in the 1920s with Marcel Noëllat, whose daughter married Gaston Barthod – a soldier stationed in Dijon who came to buy some wine and got the girl as well. He gave up military life for the vineyards in ’60.
His daughter, Ghislaine, and her partner, Louis Boillot, bought their current premises overlooking Premier Cru Les Feusselottes in ’86. Though they share the team who work the vineyards, the vinification and commercial aspects of their businesses are kept separate.
The domaine has an incomparable range of Chambolle-Musigny terroirs, with 11 separate Premier Cru bottlings and highly regarded Bourgogne and village wines.
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.
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The challenge in a frost-hit vintage is to manage the concentration that comes from the inevitably low yields. In a village like Chambolle, the wine must not be too heav y. Here the wine seems to have the weight of a Premier Cru, because of the concentration, but not the complexity. But what it does have is razor-sharp definition. Only 19 barrels from an expected 35. Drink 2020-2028.
Adam Bruntlett, Wine Buyer
Ghislaine Barthod’s domaine originated in the 1920s with Marcel Noëllat whose daughter married Gaston Barthod, a soldier stationed in Dijon who came to buy some wine and got the girl as well. He gave up military life for the vineyards in 1960. His daughter, Ghislaine, and her partner Louis Boillot bought their current premises overlooking Premier Cru Les Feusselottes in 1986. Though they share the team who work the vineyards, the vinification and commercial aspects of their businesses are kept completely separate. The domaine’s strength is the range of Chambolle-Musigny, with eight separate Premier Cru bottlings. It is hard to know whether Ghislaine has triumphed this year because of, or despite, the difficulties of the vintage. The quality she has produced is superb, perhaps due to the meanness of her yields, but tragically there will be hardly any of this glory to share. Chambolle was the hardest hit by the frosts in the Côte de Nuits and, in most vineyards, she has lost 50 to 60 percent of a normal crop, in some cases 75 percent and, in Combettes and Chatelots, there is no wine at all. For each wine, we have itemised the scale of the loss.
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