Allen Meadows, Burghound.com (Jan 2022)
About this WINE
Domaine Christian Serafin
Domaine Sérafin is now in the hands of third-generation cousins Karin and Frédérique. They continue the family tradition of producing concentrated, powerful wines that age beautifully and express the best qualities of the domaine’s excellent vineyard holdings in Chambolle, Gevrey and Morey.
About the domaine
Domaine Sérafin was founded by Stanislaus Sérafin in 1947. His son Christian inherited the domaine in 1988, and has now passed it along to his daughter Karin and his niece Frédérique.
The house and cellars are located just below the premier cru vineyard Les Cazetiers and above the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. The estate consists of about five hectares of vines spread across three appellations, including Grand Cru, Premier Cru, village and regional parcels.
In the vineyard
Vines are remarkably old even by Burgundian standards, the oldest having been planted in 1946 and the youngest, some of the village and regional vines, in about 1985.
All their vines are given the same meticulous care, with strict pruning and de-budding, followed by a green harvest and de-leafing – though there has been less of this latter as temperatures have become warmer in recent years.
They aim to produce powerful wines, faithful to their terroir, that can age well – an objective which is achieved consistently, with wines that can reward the patient with supremely elegant and full-flavoured wines.
In the winery
The grand cru, premiers crus and vieilles vignes cuvées are all aged in 100% new oak. The team pay careful attention to the choice of cooper, matching the characteristics of the barrel to that of the fruit from each parcel. The result is concentrated wines which are tannic in youth but which in a good vintage can age gracefully for 10 years and more.
Bourgogne Rouge is the term used to apply to red wines from Burgundy that fall under the generic Bourgogne AOC, which can be produced by over 350 individual villages across the region. As with Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Rosé, this is a very general appellation and thus is hard to pinpoint any specific characteristics of the wine as a whole, due to the huge variety of wines produced.
Around 4,600 acres of land across Burgundy are used to produce Bourgogne Rouge, which is around twice as much as is dedicated towards the production of generic whites.
Pinot Noir is the primary grape used in Bourgogne Rouge production, although Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and in Yonne, César grapes are all also permitted to make up the rest of the wine. These wines tend to be focused and acidic, with the fruit less cloying than in some New World wines also made from Pinot Noir, and they develop more floral notes as they age.
Although an entry-level wine, some Bourgogne Rouges can be exquisite depending on the area and producer, and yet at a very affordable price.
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.