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Pretty, silky wine made from old vines. Chevillon's house style for gentle wines trumps the appellation character of firmer wines.
Product Code: BU55611
View all products by Domaine Robert Chevillon
Chevillon is a domaine remarkable both for the age of its vines and the wonderful silky texture of its wines, rare for Nuits-Saint-Georges which is associated more with tannic firmness, especially in the southern part of the appellation. Robert, the head of the family has retired to enjoy pike fishing, leaving the domaine in the safe hands of his two sons Bertrand and Denis who run it as conscientiously as their father did. The property extends to 13 hectares of owned or leased land, including holdings in no fewer than eight premiers crus, with vines of up to 80 years of age. Quite what accounts for the quality here, as at many domaines, is very difficult to ascertain. Buyer Toby Morrhall suspects it comes down to the class of their vineyards and the extreme care they exercise in tending them, regularly producing high quality wines even in difficult vintages.
Taking its name from the town at its heart, Nuits-St-Georges, the Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d’Or, the escarpment upon which lie the greatest of Burgundy’s vineyards. Though there are a number of very fine white wines made it is the reds for which the Côte de Nuits is truly famous. Compared with the red wines of the Côte de Beaune the reds from Nuits have more sophisticated tannins, extra body and a more sumptuous texture than their southern counterparts. The soils of the area are predominantly limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The finest have a happy conjunction of silt and scree over marl with protected and sunny aspects in some of the side-valleys that cut into the escarpment from west to east. These cuts provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as the various aspects. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile respectively. More generic wines are produced at the top and bottom of these slopes, with the Premiers Crus and Grand Crus in a band running along the upper middle. The climate here is semi-continental, though northerly winds can temper a hot summer while warmer winds from the south can bring warmth. Westerly winds that ultimately originate in the Atlantic can bring rain but at its worst may deliver devastating hail in incredibly localised storms. There is a degree of unpredictability about vintages in Burgundy that mean more variation than in any other fine wine region.The appellations that sit above the generic regional ACs in the hierarchy are Marsannay, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Echézaux and Nuits-St-George. Côte de Nuits –Villages is made from grapes grown at either end of the Côte, where the soils and sites are less impressive. Gevrey-Chambertin is a complete and balanced wine, full and harmonious. Wines from Nuits-St-Georges are the most tannic and, like Pommards, need long maturation. For many Vosne-Romanée is the summit. Its wines have beautiful velvety palates: dense and soft, sensuous and tactile. Chambolle-Musigny is the lightest yet one of the most fragrant wines of the Côte de Nuits. It is perhaps Nuits's equivalent of Volnay; a pretty, fine boned wine with exquisite perfume and a silky palate.
Varying from great to excellent, 2012 is a concentrated but fresh vintage, with many similarities to 2010. It is however even more concentrated than the 2010 because yields were even lower. 2012 was a coolish year and it was the tiny, grand cru-like yields of just 25-30 hectolitres per hectare that allowed the grapes to ripen fully yet remain fresh. This rare combination of concentration with freshness is an unusual balance because they are usually diametrically opposed. Variable weather over time and region means that we shall approach the regions separately below.The Côte de Nuits reds are superb. They are deep coloured, intensely aromatic, moderate in alcohol, have ripe black-cherry pinot fruit, concentrated flavours, sweet tannins and lovely freshness too. However, they wear their undoubted concentration lightly. Terroirs are well defined. All is good geographically and hierarchically. The wines’ beautiful balance of ripe tannins means they can be approached early but they have wonderful development potential so will keep very well too. Spring frost and poor weather, including hail, at flowering, were the principal reasons why most growers lost about 40% of the crop, and so produced about 30hl/ha. The poor flowering produced many millerands where an imperfect fertilisation results in berries remaining small with a very high ratio of skin to pulp, and fewer seeds, resulting in deeper colour and softer tannins which is beneficial for quality. It was then a challenging year in the vineyard with strong presence of the diseases oidium and mildew, but the best growers rose to the challenge. The small crop with well-spaced bunches developed slowly in the coolish spring and early summer, and ripened with a flourish in a hot and sunny August and September.As well as the same spring frosts and poor weather at flowering that occurred in the Côte de Nuits, the Côte de Beaune suffered from a number of destructive hailstorms. Some parts of Volnay and Pommard were hit three times and the crop reduced by up to 80%. The effect of hail is complicated, depending on when it hit (the earlier the better) and how severe the damage. It is often very localised. The timing of the hail was relatively early, the last being 1st August. There are many superb Côte de Beaune whites with remarkable levels of concentration because they were made from half a crop (25–28 hl/ha) due to the same problems of poor flowering and hail. Hail is less of a problem for white wines as the grapes are more successful at lower levels of ripeness than pinot. Indeed the trap to avoid was overripeness so the small crop was best picked early. Luckily there was no botrytis. A handful of wines are a little riper than ideal, but the vast majority score 9–10/10. The best wines are pure, moderate in alcohol, with firm fruit, and many have a lovely grip from the fresh acidity and phenolic compounds from the thick skins which will help them to age beautifully. Again it is like 2010. 2010 is a little more elegant and 2012 a bit richer. 2012 Chablis wines have wonderful pure, crystalline aromas, firm steely fruit and lovely grip and dry extract. Again, low crops of 18–38hl/ha caused by spring frosts and poor flowering were the culprits. However, Chablis managed to avoid the hail. The cool year meant there was a strong pressure of diseases like oidium and mildew but this was successfully treated. There was no botrytis. They started picking 20th September to preserve the freshness. It was another lovely vintage in the Mâcon, again similar to 2010: fresh, fine, concentrated wines with moderate alcohol, which are pure and long. Generally yields were reasonable, around 50hl/ha, as in 2010. Poor flowering reduced the yield a little.
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