2015 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air 1er Cru

Year: 2015
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 92-94
Vinous Media: 92+
Burghound: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :

"An impenetrable mélange of black cherry, blackberry, violet and spice aromas and flavors is allied to a silky texture here, saturated with fruit that meshes seamlessly with the iron backbone. Shows terrific grace under power. Best from 2023 through 2045." (WS)

"The 2015 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Bel Air, which comes from vines on the same limestone soils as Clos de Ruchottes, has an entrancing bouquet with very pure and airy red cherry, strawberry and mineral scents. There is wonderful transparency here—you can "feel" the vineyard. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, ample freshness and tension with hints of orange ring and quince jus filtering through the red berry fruit. The structure reminds me of a Morey-Saint-Denis and there is plenty of energy lingering on the tart red cherry finish, with a long spicy aftertaste. This is excellent.

"The main difficulty we had in 2015 was the drought from mid-June to end-July," Romain Taupenot told me when I visited his winery in Morey-Saint-Denis, directly over the road from Christophe Perrot-Minot. "There was a big concern about mildew pressure. The only way to fight against disease when you farm organically is to use SO2 and at this time, because the heat was high, it started to burn the leaves. So should we keep on spraying and risk, or take the risk of development of mildew whilst maintaining leaf cover? So I used SO2 just once every two treatments in the vineyard. This worked perfectly well except in Saint Romain for the white, where we lost around 30% of the crop. In 2015, as we had a drought with a lot of millerandage. There was some rain in August, but we found the berries did not expand because of the thickness of the skins, so there was a consistent level of concentration. I was concerned about the balance of the wine, especially with the acidity level, but when we picked the grapes from 8 September (in Corton), we noticed from the alcohol level and acidity were under the final result. For example, most of the wines came in at 12.5-12.8% alcohol and 4.2-4.4 grams per liter total acidity, but by the end of the fermentation we went up to 13.9% for the Corton-Rognets and a majority around 13.5%. The Gevrey-Chambertin Village was a bit lower because the drought retarded the sugar accumulation. The yeast was a little more productive in 2015, needing 17.5 grams of sugar instead of 18 grams per one degree of alcohol. We actually found some acidities were higher after fermentation and because the malic was so low, the acidity level did not drop much and this maintained the freshness. Therefore, you do not feel the high alcohol. It's a compromise between 2009 and 2010, because of the heat and precision respectively. Everything is de-stemmed in 2015 with no whole bunch, matured in no more than 20% for the Côte de Beaune, 25% for the village cru and up to 40% for the grand cru with a light toasting from the five different cooperages."

I really admired these wines from Romain and Virginie Taupenot. In some ways, they represent the kind of wines, the level of quality that they have been threatening to do in recent vintages. What I loved was the purity of fruit, the way that any over-exuberance of over-ripeness was mastered, even through relative to other growers, they were exactly the earliest to go out and pick. What marks the 2015s is a consistency across the board: very few barrel samples falling below expectations, most of them surpassing them." (WA)

"Healthy bright, dark red. Redcurrant and raspberry liqueur aromas are leavened by notes of chalk, licorice and mint. Very rich, pliant, silky wine with enticing sweetness and inner-mouth tension to its red berry and saline mineral flavors. Turns drier and more classic on the back end, finishing with firm but fine-grained tannins and an exhilarating note of rose petal. Like a couple other 2015s at this address, this bottle went into a shell in the glass, which I take as a positive sign for its likely longevity." (VM)

"A fresh, ripe and very Gevrey nose reflects plenty of earth, sauvage and humus characters on the dark currant and softly floral aromas. There is a lovely sense of underlying tension and minerality to the dusty, precise and sleekly muscular flavors that culminate in a notably firm but not especially austere or backward finale. This should reward up to 10 years of cellaring yet be approachable after 5 or so." (BH)

Winery Notes:
Gevrey Chambertin 1st Cru Bel Air overlooks the Grand Cru Chambertin Clos de Bèze. The area of the vineyard is 0.43 hectares. The average age of the vines is 40 years.