Not a domaine-owned wine but the next closest thing to it. The vines are owned by the family of Bichot’s chief winemaker Alain Serveau, so he knows the plot like the back of his hand. Exquisitely fine, top drawer 1er Cru Burgundy, suave and sweet yet with precision to it, lovely cherry and strawberry fruit flecked with minerals, long focused and gently gripping.
In 1996 Alberic Bichot became the 6th generation to take over the management of this historic Burgundian house. Bichot have always had impressive vineyard holdings and been one of the most important negociants in the region but the wines were all too often disappointing. Alberic’s mission was to transform the estate’s quality and reputation. One of his first moves was to bring in Alain Serveau as chief winemaker. Vitally both of Bichot’s Cote d’Or domaines, Clos Frantin in the Cotes de Nuits and Domaine du Pavillon in the Cote de Beaune, have their own vineyard and winemaking teams as well as their own wineries and cellars with Alain overseeing the whole production. When asked at a tasting of the fine 2014s what the most essential changes have been during his near twenty year reign, Alain pinpointed a lowering of yields and increased flexibility, ie adapting to each plot and vintage rather a systematic approach. Well the wines have improved immeasurably, the last three vintages in particular have been excellent for the Domaine wines, to the point that we could finally not resist the beautiful 2014s. By and large the grapes are de-stalked, undergo a long slow and gentle cuvaison of up to thirty days and then age in barriques for between 14-18 months depending on the wine and vintage. New oak is far from excessive, going up to a mximum of 60-70% for the top Grand Crus.
A village and appellation in the Côte de Nuits, whose red wines are some of the most seductive in Burgundy offering a delicate balance between Vosne elegance and Gevrey-Chambertin power. There are two Grand Cru vineyards in the commune, the majority part of Bonnes Mares and the whole of Musigny. Next door to Musigny is one of Chambolle's most famous Premier Cru vineyards, Les Amoreuses, whose wines offer a combination of power, elegance and richness, less austere or intense than Musigny but very good nonetheless. The next most sought-after would be Charmes, that produces very opulent, ripe, seductive wines. The Premier Crus largely fall into two groups: The higher vineyards such as Veroilles, Cras and Fuees - these wines are usually the most ethereal, structured, high-toned and have the best acidities, they age extremely well; and the lower-lying vineyards beneath or adjacent to the Village which include Les Charmes, Beaux Bruns and Baudes, here the wines are richer, warmer and more generous in their youth than the higher vineyards but often without the same lift and definition. Chambolle is smaller than Gevrey or Vosne, so the "villages" wines, which can be very good value, are not always easy to find. The pre-eminent producers are: Mugnier, Barthod, Roumier, Comte de Vogue and Groffier.