This latest release from Nuits-Saint-Georges masters Denis and Bertrand Chevillon is a big, ripe, mouth-filling Pinot Noir, far from the delicate featherweight breed of red Burgundy they teach about in wine school. It’s as if the pebbly white soils of the premier cru Les Chaignots reflected the 2018 vintage’s abundant sunshine directly back at the grapes all summer, allowing them to grow plump and saturated with intense flavors. For all its density and weight, an earthy suggestion of Burgundian terroir still hides within—one that is likely to gain a stronger foothold over the course of a few years in your cellar.
Brothers Bertrand and Denis Chevillon are the fifth generation managers of this property in Nuits-Saint-Georges, which means they work the vines and make the wines. Both brothers bring passion, experience, a tireless work ethic, and intensity to their work at the domaine. Tasting through their palate of Nuits-Saint-Georges premier crus is a venerable tour of the appellation. Their Passetoutgrain, a blend of Pinot and Gamay, is a worthy introduction and their rare (two barrels made) Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc is an exotic treasure that ages just as long as the domaine’s fabled reds. And their Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Chardonnay and Bourgogne Rouge are grown and vinified with the same care as their premier crus. It shows.
In eastern central France, Burgundy is nestled between the wine regions of Champagne to the north, the Jura to the east, the Loire to the west, and the Rhône to the south. This is the terroir par excellence for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The southeast-facing hillside between Dijon in the north and Maranges in the south is known as the Côte d’Or or “golden slope.” The Côte d’Or comprises two main sections, both composed of limestone and clay soils: the Côte de Nuits in the northern sector, and the Côte de Beaune in the south. Both areas produce magnificent whites and reds, although the Côte de Beaune produces more white wine and the Côte de Nuits more red.
Chablis is Burgundy’s northern outpost, known for its flinty and age-worthy Chardonnays planted in Kimmeridgian limestone on an ancient seabed. Vézelay is a smaller area south of Chablis with similar qualities, although the limestone there is not Kimmeridgian.
To the south of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise extends from Chagny on its northern end, down past Chalon-sur-Saône and encompasses the appellations of Bouzeron in the north, followed by Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny.
Directly south of the Chalonnaise begins the Côte Mâconnais, which extends south past Mâcon to the hamlets of Fuissé, Vinzelles, Chaintré, and Saint-Véran. The Mâconnais is prime Chardonnay country and contains an incredible diversity of soils.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
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