Since my last visit with Pierre Meurgey, director of Maison Champy, and enologist Dimitri Bazas, in June 2007, the firm has expanded its domaine holdings. First, it acquired Domaine Laleure-Piot in 2010, then last year secured three premier cru parcels in Volnay and Pommard from Louis Boillot that will be called Domaine Clos de la Chapelle.
These new acquisitions give Champy complete control over 69 acres of vineyards from Volnay to Corton. Several parcels are already farmed organically and biodynamically and the new parcels will be converted over time.
With more than half the wines now under Domaine Champy or Domaine Clos de la Chapelle labels, Meurgey and Bazas showed me all the 2010s from these two properties. Below are my highlights. As usual, the wines were in various phases, some having been bottled already, others blended and in tank for bottling soon, while some were still in barrel. All the wines were tasted non-blind.
As a commune, the wines of Pernand-Vergelesses are often overlooked, yet Champy's Les Vergelesses 2010 (this was bottled in November 2011), full of spicy red currant, wild berry and violet flavors on a silky, elegant frame (87-90, non-blind) and Ile des Vergelesses (racked and blended for bottling), also a mix of spice, cherry, mineral, chalk notes, all pure and very classy (88-91, non-blind), both show the potential of Pernand-Vergelesses' best premiers crus.
Neighboring Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Vergelesses (bottled Jan. 10) was fermented using 50 percent whole clusters. The result is a rich, cherry-flavored red, supple and juicy, with firm tannins and a lingering mineral finish. It's a more powerful wine than its cousins. All three come from the former Laleure-Piot estate.
The Beaune Les Champs Pimonts and Beaune Aux Cras show their typical personalities. The former (bottled the second week of January) is expressive and rich, evoking currant and cherry notes (88-91, non-blind), while the latter (still in barrel) is taut and firm, a more linear, precise, minerally style (89-92, non-blind).
From Domaine Clos de la Chapelle, the Volnay Carelle Sous la Chapelle reveals black currant, floral and fruity flavors, all lively and long, yet very approachable already (88-91, non-blind). The Clos de la Chapelle boasts candied cherry and exotic, almost jammy aromas matched to a round, rich, expansive, profile. It's seductive, very long and fresh (89-92, non-blind). Terrific fruit—raspberry, bilberry and cherry—highlights the Pommard Les Chanlins, whose texture is dense and concentrated, but also civilized, and well-integrated (88-91, non-blind). All three had just been bottled two weeks earlier, without fining or filtration.
By contrast, the Pommard Les Grands Epenots was still in barrel. An expression of cherry, iron and mineral aromas and flavors, it boasts ample flesh, yet it's firm, with an underlying base of tannins (89-92, non-blind). Also in barrel, the Volnay Taillepieds exhibits a gorgeous nose of flowers, cherry, raspberry and currant allied to an elegant, lacy and straight profile, ending in a long, minerally finish (90-93, non-blind).
Moving up to grands crus, both from the former Laleure-Piot parcels, came the cherry-, herb-, mineral- and smoke-infused Corton Rognets (91-94, non-blind; bottled the second week of January) and Corton-Bressandes (blended and ready for bottling) with its fleshy black cherry and lingering finish (90-93, non-blind). The Rognets showed a little more sweet fruit and intensity, despite the class of the latter.
Among the whites, I had a soft spot for those from Pernand-Vergelesses. Les Combottes 2010 is intense, with a generous mouthfeel backed by fine structure focusing grapefruit, lime blossom and chalk notes (87-90, non-blind).
The En Caradeux offers ripe, waxy grapefruit, spice and floral elements on an elegant, racy frame (88-91, non-blind). More pointed, the Sous Frétille shows a precise nose of lime blossom and acacia; racy, complex and long, it was really singing (88-91, non-blind).
From three parcels, all on the Pernand side, the Corton-Charlemagne was bottled after the 2011 harvest. Despite an austere nose, it started out generously in the mouth, tightening to grapefruit, lime, almond and apple flavors. Grand, complex, yet tight for now, it has excellent length (91-94, non-blind).
Overall, the yields in 2010 were 30 percent less than in an average year. Champy tends to excel in difficult vintages, though not across all appellations. Its 2010s are fine examples of the vintage if Meurgey and Bazas continue to capture the pure fruit flavors and elegance in the wines yet to be bottled.
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