Mazoyeres and Charmes Chambertin double vertical with Virginie Taupenot-Daniel
December 1, 2012
A double vertical of Domaine Taupenot Merme’s Charmes and Mazoyeres Chambertin with Virginie Taupenot-Daniel on 11 November
At the Merano Wine Festival in November 2012: Many thanks to project manager Ian d’Agata
You may have heard of Domaine Taupenot Merme for its miniscule bottling of Clos des Lambrays. I had not! Thanks to fellow wine lover Mike Grammer, I discovered the superb estate a few years ago, which we visited along with friend and fellow taster Jurgen Steinke. (see video below)
Based in Morey St Denis, this estate works organically, although not certified. They have a wide range of wines, but co-owner Virginie Taupenot Daniel agreed to bring five vintages of each of their Gevrey Chambertin Grands Crus (Charmes Chambertin and Mazoyeres Chambertin) for a “master class” at the Merano Wine Festival: a double vertical that covered recent vintages, not including 2009, which is in short supply. As I found out again during the Hospices period, volumes are low in Burgundy, given three below average quantity harvests – so much so that vintners say they lost almost an entire harvest in the last three years 2010, 2011 and the smallest 2012.
For example, for Taupenot-Merme, production was down 40% in 2010. Given a precocious Spring, the vintage cycle was in advance and the harvest started on 2 September that year. 2008 was more regular, with the harvest on 23 September. In 2008, many illnesses were encountered in the vineyard, so selection was critical, sorting at first in the vineyard, then with sorting tables. A north wind helped to dry out the vines leading up to the harvest. The 2008s have a reputation for high acidity, but when coming from fine terroirs, the maturity is there and – as we will see in this vertical – they can be very impressive indeed.
This was really a fabulous double vertical of two great terroirs: Charmes and Mazoyeres Chambertin. Gevrey Chambertin makes up about 400 hectares. A large Burgundy appellation… Nine out of the 33 grand crus are found here. Mazoyeres can also be called Charmes: so all Mazoyeres is Charmes, but not vice versa. Because of the age of the vines, the domain made only Charmes until 2000, when the first Mazoyeres was made – from older vines. The average age of the domain’s Charmes vines is 45-50, while the vines for Mazoyeres average 60 years of age. Charmes vineyards are on a slightly higher level and have more clay soils than the Mazoyeres do. The increased rocky soils at Mazoyeres lends a more mineral aspect to the wine.
Double vertical, in a master class at the Merano Wine Festival, over five vintages: 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005. When in bold, I liked in particular; red and bold even more; when underlined as well, the best.
2010: Bottling was done in February this year. Both wines have been aged in 40% new oak. The Charmes exudes focused cherry notes, with a certain pleasing spiciness. What can one say about this without getting a bit into a cliché but, by Golly, this wine is… charming! The Mazoyeres has greater intensity by contrast, as it conveys a darker cherry aspect, with perhaps more depth and certainly more structure. I made a comment that while the Charmes is like Ingrid Bergman, the Mazoyeres is more Lauren Bacall.
2008: Any doubts about the 2008 vintage from quality grand cru terroirs like Charmes were firmly put to rest with this tasting: a touch of musk, intriguing spice but what elegance on the nose! Slightly violet and floral on the palate – all very, well, charming. The finish lingers with a fresh forest aspect, and a touch of oak derived aspects that will melt over time. Lovely. Perhaps not as long on the finish as the 2010. The Mazoyeres is – once again – a richer and deeper wine, with greater density and more evident tannic structure. This will need more time. Very nice job!
2007: Due to a precocious Spring, an early harvest (1 September). The nose of the Charmes is not as exuberant as the 2008; there is a subtle and pleasing sweet fruit aspect, with a lighter-on-its-feet feel. I really enjoy the cooler fruit – blueberry/strawberry – flavors on the mid palate. The finish is shorter than the preceding wine however, and there is just a bit of edginess on the tannins, but the wine is drinking well already and I could imagine enjoying this with steak on the grill. Once again, the Mazoyeres conveys a more “serious” wine – deeper and richer with a darker fruit profile. But I cannot help but notice a slightly larger grain of tannin here when compared to the greater finesse in the 2008, and certainly in the 2010. But there is enough density for now, so that you should not open any bottles of this yet.
2006: The initial nose of the Charmes is closed, with a deep mineral (stony) aspect that is later accompanied by lovely fruit aspects upon retro-olfaction. Here a more noticeable concentration compared to the 2007, with more tannic edginess. The most masculine of the Charmes… give it time! The 2006 Mazoyeres was voted third place after the tasting amongst participants. What a wine! Plum spice, baked cherry (clafoutis?0 aromas and flavors abound. Rich and full bodied yet elegant too. A superb expression of Pinot Noir in Gevrey Chambertin, as the structure is there, too.
2005: OK, folks. Now this duo won gold and silver respectively from the participants (in terms of current drinking), proving how darn good 2005 can be in Burgundy. But I got it the other way around, preferring the Mazoyeres. In any case, I need to add a star next to the bold red and underline… As for the Charmes: very tannic, like the 2006, but more “beautiful” and expressive. There is a spherical quality that outpaces its younger sibling. A purity and precision that was not matched by any other Charmes in this vertical. Now, as for the Mazoyeres*? What can I say? Beautifully intense, with a cornucopia of flavors and – get this – a comforting sense of reduction meaning that this wine is built to last (like the Charmes, too, by the way). The palate is at once deep and enveloping, with layers of flavor and a very long, clean and precise finish. It is hard to get better than this… reminding me of a tasting at Moueix when I got to the Petrus.
Many thanks to Virginie Taupenot-Daniel and to Ian d’Agata for making this happen!