Thursday, January 7, 2021

Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier Vieilles Vignes

Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier Vieilles Vignes Grand Vin de Bourgogne 2005

Linda prepared pork chops and I pulled from the cellar this authentic Grand Vin de BourgogneBurgundy Pinot Noir as an ideal accompaniment. 

This is from Côte de Nuits in the northern part of the Côte d’Or, home to some of the most famous vineyards and wine communes in the world. There are more Grand Cru appellations in the Côte de Nuits than anywhere else in Burgundy. Of the fourteen communes, or villages in the Côte de Nuits, six produce Grand Cru wines. They include Gevrey-Chambertin, as well as Morey-St.-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagey-Échezeaux and Vosne-Romanee. 

Some of the vineyards within the Côte de Nuits are tiny, which adds to their prestige. The fabled Grand Cru vineyard La Romanee is barely two square acres. Altogether there are twenty-four Grand Cru vineyards. The region takes its name from the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Côtes de Nuits produces mostly reds from Pinot Noir, and the wines have been in demand for centuries. During the 18th century King Louis XIV’s physician recommended that for his health the king only drink wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges. Like most of Burgundy, the soils of the Côte de Nuit can vary greatly from one vineyard to another, though most are a base soil of limestone mixed with clay, gravel and sand.

Domaine Tortochot consists of four appellations sites totaling 27 acres. The Tortochot family have managed the property as vine growers in Gevrey for four generations. In the 19th century Paul Tortochot was a modest “vigneron” on the “Place des Marroniers”. His son Félix married Louise Liébaut from Morey Saint Denis, the neighbouring village. Liébaut's Family was well-known in Morey, there was even a variety of Pinot Noir named after the ancestor Eugène. Gabriel, the son of Félix ran the estate for many years before moving aside to let his two daughters, Brigitte & Chantal, take over. Today, Chantal runs the estate’s day-to-day activities.

After graduating from business school, Chantal spent 15 years working for an American petrochemical company in finance. At the urging of her father, Gabriel, she set out in industry and gained experience before eventually joining and taking over the family estate. Both Chantal's children are studying medicine and her husband is a doctor.

After years in America in industry, Chantal returned to the family wine estate. At 35, she passed key certification exams at the Dijon wine university, before taking control of the estate. Chantal is one of a growing breed of “viticulteurs” in Burgundy, bi-lingual and with valuable international business experience. Chantal is knowledgable and passionate about her vineyards and their distinctive terroir. “We are blessed with having some of the best terroir in Burgundy. When the hills first formed hundreds of millions of years ago, the tectonic plates were displaced in such a way as to produce a unique sub-soil made up of different types of limestone and a perfect mixture of clay & marne.”

When talking about her style of Pinot Noirs, Chantal explains: “Here we make a more traditional Gevrey Chambertin, with lots of fruit, strong tannins and good acidity. These are not really Pinots that can be drunk early…you have to be a little patient.”

Gevrey Chambertin has a rare and unique “Terroir”, with its “alluvial fan” in a valley situated to the west of Gevrey called “La Combe de Lavaux”. Its is notable that 9 of the 33 Grand Crus come from this village including the famous Chambertin as well as 26 Premier Crus!

Producer supplied map of Gevrey Chambertin and
Domaine Tortochot parcels


Domaine Tortochot is in the village of Gevrey Chambertin, also the name of the wine appellation. The town boasts over 100 wine estates with Tortochot one of the more famous estates. Tortochot have parcels dispersed in 4 village appellation sites, Morey Saint Denis and those in Gevrey Chambertin, each with distinctive terroir that produces wine with its own style. The appellation formed on the lower slopes of Côte St. Jacques and Brochon. The wines produced here include Au Vellé, En Champs, Jeune Roisare and this Champerrier - powerful and fleshy, rich and aromatic wines with great ageing potential. 

The Champerrier parcel has old vines and is their oldest in all of Gevrey. The vines were planted by Félix Tortochot in 1920. They produce a wine with marvelous density and texture. Like so much of Burgundy, the vineyards are incredibly fragmented with many diverse small parcels, Champerrier is just slightly under two acres. Tortochot is noted as a "charming and impressive estate with professional ownership, a premier producer of Gevrey"!

That characteristic of Burgundy, the Bourgogne, being so fragmented into so many small distinct parcels, is one of the primary reasons that Burgundy wines are so maddeningly complex and confusing there being so many different labels and brands. 

Pictured at left is tonight's bottle. Pictured below is bottle from earlier tasting a decade ago, both from our cellar. 

Domaine Tortochot Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier Vieilles Vignes Champerrier 2005

This label is made from 40+ year old vines and as such is a very different wine than some of the others in the portfolio with a more forward concentrated style.

Its hard to believe but its been almost ten years since I last tasted this label from our cellar. Back then, on 12/26/2011 - I wrote: "Very open and expressive - bright berry, strawberry, mulberry, spice and wood with long moderate tannin finish."

Consistent with my tasting ten years ago, this had the same tasting profile and I blindly gave it the same rating. It showed no diminution of aging whatsoever and it likely still at its apex of its drinking profile.

This was garnet colored, medium bodied, bright, concentrated ripe red and blue berry fruits with earthy minerality and violet notes, smooth silky texture with firm forward tannins.

Both times I gave this RM 89 points.