About the wine
The estate owns a prime 0.71ha parcel of 70-year vines that cuts across the Les Drazey and Les Bussieres vineyards in Chambolle-Musigny, just below the 1er Cru Les Sentiers. The finesse of this wine speaks of the Chambolle pedigree, though its ideal location and ancient vines produce a depth that elevates it to a level beyond what one would expect from a Villages.
About the producer
Benoît Stehly, nephew of Georges Lignier, has run the estate since 2008 after working at the domaine for a decade alongside his uncle. His approach is very delicate, as he seeks to achieve maximum aromatic concentration, and quality has improved dramatically as a result. At the Villages level, the wines are matured in used oak barrels, while 1er Crus see 30% new oak and Grand Crus 50% new oak. A seam of seductive elegance runs throughout the range of wines.
Benoît’s deep respect for tradition allied to a sublime expression of each terroir shapes his decisions, ensuring that the wines evoke their precise origins with clarity and poise. Since 2010, the wines are neither fined nor filtered. The domaine has an enviable spread of 16ha of vineyards encompassing 50 parcels including top Grand Crus. They are the largest owner of Clos Saint-Denis, at 1.5ha, and control over a hectare of Clos de la Roche.
Jancis Robinson (Purple Pages jancisrobinson.com):Barrel sample. 30% whole bunch and no new oak in the village wines. Vines near La Bussière in Morey. Planted in 1922 and some replanted in 1960s. Lightish crimson. Very sweet red-fruited nose. A slight smoky reduction. Red fruited and tangy on the palate but with lots of acidity to balance and give a mouth-watering finish. Chewy and with a straightforward honest pleasure and good persistence. Sweeter and less stemmy than the Morey. Points: 16 . Date Tasted: 28/11/2018
Regions Vintage Report:“2017 Burgundy – expressive, elegant and balanced.”
After several years of difficult and short vintages in Burgundy, winemakers throughout the region breathed a collective sigh of relief when the 2017 harvest was gathered in. Ironically, it was a year which on a national scale was catastrophic for other wine producing areas throughout France with overall production down by almost 25% across the country. Burgundy, for once, did manage to avoid the adverse impact of extreme weather conditions. In fact, this was the largest crop in the region since 2009. A decent or ‘average’ sized vintage was overdue and this is what the region has delivered. Not excessive just very respectable volumes overall. Whilst many vineyards in Bordeaux were decimated by severe late spring frosts – conditions the Burgundians know only too well following last year’s (2016) vintage – Burgundy was spared in 2017.
Terrified of a repeat performance, it was all hands on deck on April 26-27th with what seemed like entire villages turning out in the small hours lighting candles and bales of hay – in fact almost anything that burned in order to generate enough smoke thereby reducing the risk of frost damage. Fortunately these efforts were rewarded with production levels significantly increased from the hugely restricted 2016: Chablis production increased just over 50%, notwithstanding some loss to frost, whilst overall the red Burgundy crop increased by 40% and white wine production was up by just over 20% on 2016. The mainly dry, early harvest without significant hail or frost damage was a welcome blessing. An Indian summer led to a hassle-free harvest. The harvest date, as always, was key. Many growers opted for an early start in a bid to safeguard sufficient freshness in the wines. Malic acidity was generally low, whilst tartaric acidity was of a good level so that even after the malolactic fermentations the wines have retained an excellent sense of vitality and freshness. Gentle, deft handling in the cellar was vital in order to ensure that the relatively delicate profile of the wines was not marked by over-extraction and/or over-manipulation. Pure, crunchy red fruit styles abound in 2017. The taster’s palate remains fresh even after extensive tastings of these elegant Burgundies. A decent sized crop following on from a series of such small vintages does, however, require some caution. As a few growers pointed out, many producers have had to struggle to survive over the last few years and were desperate to recoup some of their losses. This has led to some potential over-cropping. Selectivity in which wines to buy this year is very important, therefore. The majority of growers we visited in November are extremely pleased with their wonderfully ripe fruit and have variously compared the 2017 vintage to 1999, 2002, 2007 or 2012 for the red wines and perhaps 2014 for the whites. The harvest was healthy and of even ripeness. The pedigree of the best wines is clear to see thanks to a fine clarity of expression, terroir by terroir. The over-riding characteristics of the vintage being elegance, fine expressive aromatics with harmonious poise and balance. Freshness, precision and bright sapidity are oft-noted descriptors too. Silken textures and seams of telling vivacity are also of frequent note. All in all, 2017 has produced many wines that are of much charm and finesse with a delightful classically appetising style that high quality Burgundy can deliver so tantalizingly when conditions are right. Young Nicolas Groffier of Domaine Robert Groffier is very pleased with his 2017 vintage, defined by the warm summer and benefitting from gentle persistent wind that helped remove the risk of significant disease pressure. “we harvested wonderfully ripe fruit, with good sugars, and gentle but telling acidity.
The end result is wines that are sensual and with no austerity. They are seductive and accessible with freshness and finesse. They are of a classic style with fine precision, reminding me of 1997, 2002 or perhaps 2012.” Nicolas Potel of Domaine de Bellene/Roche de Bellene is also very happy with his 2017s noting their “fine balance and the sheer quality of their fruit” as the keys to success this year. He, like many other growers, expressed the view that their 2017s will offer much of their seductive charm early in their evolution but will also offer decent ageing ability due to their excellent balance. The distinct characteristics of the myriad terroirs that makes up the mosaic of Burgundy are eloquently expressed in 2017. The wines show fine transparency. In Chablis, a number of growers believe that the character profile of the 2017 vintage is a marriage of the 2016 and 2014 in terms of style; with the ripeness of 2016 but also much of the key tension, salinity and precision of 2014. In other words, pretty ideal. The only sadness, though, is that volumes here were once again impacted by frost in late April. Nevertheless the overall Chablis crop was not nearly as badly depleted as in 2016. Prices As it is, the continued weakness of the pound does not help – which allied to severe pressure of growing global demand for such wines, does mean that several offer prices are subject to an increase over the coming months. We have done our best to keep these rises to a minimum.
Neil Sommerfelt MW, Consultant January 2019