Early in the morning back in February this year when we reached Burgundy, we met up with Christophe Roumier at his estate in the village of Chambolle. We have for some time been very exited about visiting him.
Anyone understanding Burgundy and its producers, knows that Roumier is one of the true top producers here for sure. Just next to him is the residence of yet another great favourite producer in Burgundy, Mr. Frédéric Mugnier and our impression is that hey are good friends here in Chambolle.
He cannot give us his view on 2014 just yet, since it needs to go through malo first, but he thinks it looks more promising than expected and with just a little better yields than the last 4 years in a row. However, it appears to be a tender type with delightful character, but not an obvious great one.
However, now we are here to understand the 2013 vintage. This vintage was not convincing at first during harvest and flowering was not good and rather uneven, but after hard sorting, Christophe was still surprised with the outcome after malo which rendered really good, ripe tannins, low alcohol and good balance. Obvious to us is that from the hands of the best producers that did meticulous sorting, you’ll get very good precision, a little bit of a holding back impression, but still with delicate good tannins.
Christophe doesn’t normally do green harvest since it can backfire and dilute the grapes in his opinion. Instead he prunes short, removes buds in spring and does a lot of thinning-outs for controlled low yields a few weeks before harvest. He adds that size of grapes are very important for balance of tannins and fruit. He keeps high trellising canopy as he remind us that the ratio between leaves and fruit is crucial and the leaves exposition.
He prefers open vats of wood and concrete over steel and usually prolongs maceration to get more terroir-specific expression and he is well aware of the fact hat he will render some more important tannins. For backbone and structure, he usually adds stems, but not surprisingly the percentage varies depending on the vintage. In addition, a typical 15 degrees Celsius cold soak is conducted.
His favourite vintage, even though he rightly so prefers to see them as different and unique expressions, is ‘99 and maybe ‘95.
2013 Chambolle village
Fine village that is fresh with a nice perfume. Well balanced and fresh is the main impression.
2013, Morey St. Denis, 1er cru “Bussière”
Christophe says it is flatter vineyard a lot of clay and stones that holds water well even in very hot vintages, but it is a simple vineyard in his impression. He uses some ripe stems for this wine.
Fine nose that is a little musky, austere. Dry herbs.
Taste is darker fruit with more structure with thicker tannins. Good balance and depth!
2013 Chambolle-Musigny, 1er cru “Combottes” (0.27 ha)
Christophe says he made 3 barrels. Further down, a mixture of very large rocks, clay and stones that holds water well with intensive exposition to sunlight which usually renders good concentration and ripe fruit.
A bunch of red flowers and enchanting perfume. Clean scent that is incredibly fresh. On the palate it is seamless and very well balanced with silky tannins. Very persistent too. Darker fruit. Very approachable and quite seductive. Fennel, ginger, pure and fresh. Strangely, it was perceived as a little more restrained and reduced than the Les Cras. Very surprising, since usually this one adds just a little more complexity than its sibbling.
2013 Chambolle-Musigny, 1er cru “Les Cras” (1.75 ha)
Christophe says this is probably the one with most minerals. Limestone marls with plenty of fossils at the foot of the hill in a gentle slope with south-south-east exposition.
Red flowers and enchanting deep mineral-fresh perfume. Clean scent that is incredibly fresh. On the palate, it is really well balanced, persistent with good grip and backbone. A very elegant, balanced and mineral-fresh wine.
2013 Grand cru Chambertin, “Ruchottes” (0.5 ha)
Christophe says this is very, very stony high up above Close de Bèze in a very cold place.
He doesn’t own this vineyard, but he has a sharecropping agreement with the owner Michel Bonnefound where he keeps 2/3rds of the grapes.
Loads of dried herbs. Mineral-infused gravel and a delicate inner-perfume. The envelope hides its intensity. At first a little thin impression, but with good balance. A linear wine with less power than Bonnes-Mares.
2013 Grand cru Bonnes-Mares (1.3 ha, 4 sections; ~15 barrels)
Christophe says that he has one parcel in the “terroir rouge” and three in the more elegant “terroir blanche”. Calcareous marl top and clay-limestone at the bottom of the hill.
Fine fruit infused with gravel. Soft blue- and red fruit. Acidity wraps grape juice. Balanced, clean and long. A little dry in the end but delicate deep minerals. Good backbone and grip here. Texture is silky already and tannins are chewy. Weightless power. We would like to give this a greater score, but it didn’t dance for us at this stage.
2013 Chambolle-Musigny, 1er cru “Amoureuses” (0.39 ha; 5 barrels)
Christophe says Mugnier’s version has less extraction and more refined tannins than his. 🙂 His parcels were replanted in 1954, 1966 and 1971.
Ahh… The seductive, endless and effortless perfume, blossoming meadow, morning dew and delicate gravel. Fullbodied, generous layers of juicy fresh fruit, anise, ginger and deep minerals. Fresh. Super elegant. Long. Acidity is really high quality and crisp.
2013 Chambolle-Musigny, Grand cru “Musigny” (<0.10 ha; 1.25 barrels)
The vines here were planted in 1934 and the oldest from 1905. Christophe’s parcel is in the top part above the road there in its northern corner. Calcareous clay, marls on a limestone bedrock with gravel.
Similar to the Amoureuses in many aspects but more concentrated and slower nose. Just a little more tight, refined feminine and aristocratic perfume. Layers after layer of fresh and very small fruit. Good grip. Clean. Ginger, some anise, delicate gravel. Incredibly balanced. Tannins are a little more chewy here and just a little thicker when compared to the Les Amoureuses.
This was the first visit to this estate ever. Both Amoureuses and Musigny are really impressive wines as expected and both really stand out as the estate’s top wines. And even more importantly, we like to put foremost that Christophe is a really good vintner, honest and humble guy. We really like him! He gives his neighbour Frédéric Mugnier a lot of credit for making wines with even more finesse and elegance, while he thinks he may have more power and structure. We think he might be a little too humble in this case, but this just shows his character.