The small quantities of expertly crafted wines produced here are almost disproportionate to the magnitude of Denis Bachelet’s fame. His remarkably modest cellars in Gevrey-Chambertin are located in an old building which was the local post-house during the reign of Louis XIV. They house the whole of Bachelet’s production, the fruit of just four hectares of vines he took over from his father as a teenager.
After his father left to pursue a new life in Belgium, Denis began tending the vines himself. He produced his first vintage in his late teens, and, from the very beginning, his wines were noteworthy, in an intensely elegant, subtle and harmonious style. All the wines are made from old, low-yielding vines. Pruning in the vineyards is severe and Denis is firm about excluding any fruit that is not perfect. In the winery the approach is traditional with minimal intervention: no yeasts are added and there is no filtration. If his grand cru, Charmes-Chambertin and premier cru Les Corbeaux are impossibly hard to come by, his village Gevrey-Chambertin is an outstanding example. In slightly more plentiful quantity, his Côte de Nuits-Villages is exceptional value, with its pretty, bright fruit and smooth texture.
Since 2009 Denis has been joined by his only son Nicolas and has recently indicated that he is considering a small increase in his holdings. Although it is not yet clear what form this expansion will take, it is welcome news for his many fans. This is a domaine, perhaps short of hectares, but certainly not of class or commitment from its hugely dedicated and thoughtful owner.