They say good things come in small packages, perhaps this should be rephrased to good things come from small parcels. From humble beginnings of just 1.8 hectares, Denis Bachelet comprises just over 4 hectares of vines, yet is renowned for producing some of the finest wines from Burgundy.
The cellars in Gevery-Chambertin have been run by Denis since he was a teenager, producing his first vintage in 1981. Consulting his grandmother until very recently, he conducts a traditional approach to winemaking, using only natural yeasts and bottling without fining or filtration. During harvest any fruit that is not perfect is discarded. Vine age is old, averaging 75-80 years, but dating back 1907 in some cases - as a result of which yields are extremely small.
Malolactic fermentation takes place as late as possible, as Denis believes this preserves the freshness of the wine, with maturation in up to 35% new oak for the Premier and Grand Crus. After a total of 15-18 months, the wine is hand bottled. These are elegant and extremely fine wines.
Bourgogne or Burgundy is a wide-ranging generic appellation in eastern France that has been planted with the vine at least since Roman times, the earliest archaeological evidence coming from 2nd Century A.D. The region, now spanning up to 28,000 hectares, owes a lot to the work of Cistercian Monks in the 11th and 12th Centuries, particularly in the Côte d'Or, who were responsible for identifying some of the finest vineyard plots still in existence today. The appellation is large, stretching between the cities of Auxerre in the North and Lyon in the south and includes Chablis, the Côte d'Or (from where hail some of the world's finest examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), the Chalonnais, Maconnais and Beaujolais. Chardonnay is the main white grape planted, though there is still a fair amount of Aligote to be found if an ever decreasing amount, as well as tiny proportions of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Beurrot. For quality reds Pinot Noir is the dominant grape and the only permitted variety for the "Bourgogne Rouge" appellation controlee, there are plantings of Gamay too, though, which can be blended with a minimum one third Pinot Noir to make "Bourgogne Passetoutgrain." There is also the rarely seen Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, which may include the Pinot Noir, Gamay, César, and Tressot varieties. This appellation also exists for whites, allowing a blend of Chardonnay, Aligoté and Melon de Bourgogne. Being such a big area style can vary enormously: From the steely, minerally white Bourgognes near Chablis to the rounder, more buttery offerings in the Maconnais. Very fine and extremely good value examples of red and white Bourgognes are made by many of the high quality estates in the Côte d'Or, the designated "Bourgogne" vineyards here being on the flatter less well-drained terrain the other side of the RN74 road to the villages and 1er Cru appellations. Some Bourgogne Rosé can also made be made but this is a tiny fraction of the red and white wine production.