2016 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-St.-Georges les Pruliers 1er Cru

Year: 2016
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 90-92
Vinous Media: 92-94
Burghound: 91-94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$149.95

"The 2016 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers is initially tightly wound and only really expresses itself after a few swirls of the glass: blackcurrant, raspberry preserve, wilted rose petals and a fine mineral seam underneath. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent ripe tannin, confit-like red berry fruit, blood orange and a slightly more savory finish where the wood is just a little more pronounced. Give this Pruliers 2 or 3 years in bottle.

Bertrand Chevillon always pops a mature vintage after his barrel tasting. I am a crap blind taster. Too many reference points is my excuse. I have a preternatural knack of getting it wrong. This year I nailed it! The 1999 Les Vaucrains! I was expecting a prize…Argos vouchers…a speedboat…Clos de Tart…Instead I had to make do with congratulations and gloating over John Gilman, his next appointment, who apparently got the 1993 Les Pruliers wrong (though John is a much better blind taster than I). But you know, tasting these older vintages, as much as I appreciate the task, it often highlights how the wines have improved so much in recent years. That is unquestionably the case at this address. Tasting the 1999 I observed how the tannins are more filigree compared to the last three of our vintage; how the fruit is so much purer and the terroir more expressive. Of course in 2106, the appellation, particularly the southern sector, was severely affected by the frost, and the domaine lost between 50% and 70% of the crop depending upon vineyard, particularly those toward Prémeaux. Picking here was between 24 September and 3 October. Bernard pointed out that he found the older vines were more resistant to frost. Most of his cuvées came in between 12.5% and 13.0% natural alcohol, so he only chaptalized some of them by a small degree (literally). I just loved these wines. In my opinion, Chevillon has become the leading grower in Nuits-Saint-Georges with a raft of superlative wines that would get more attention if cognoscenti were not so obsessed about other appellations blessed with grand crus. This vintage is not, or could not be consistent because of the frost damage, and therefore, a couple of crus such as the Roncières lacked the vividness and nascent energy of say, the brilliant Vaucrains (his best cru?) and Les Saint-Georges. These wines come highly recommended." (WA)

"Bright, dark red. Very ripe, almost liqueur-like aromas of raspberry and boysenberry. Slightly high-toned, smooth and dense in the mouth, with sweet, sappy, energetic black fruit flavors dominating. The substantial fine-grained tannins arrive late, spreading out to saturate the sides of the tongue. This seriously concentrated wine finishes impressively long and slightly tight. I can't recall ever scoring Chevillon's Pruliers higher from barrel." (VM)

"A restrained and discreetly earthy nose features ripe plum and black berry liqueur aromas that are set off by a moderate lashing of wood. The broad-scaled, rich and intense flavors possess a sleek muscularity along with excellent power, all wrapped in a rustic, austere and backward finish. As is usually the case, this is the most obviously Nuits in character among the Chevillon wines and like the Perrières, it demands considerable patience but it's virtually always worth the wait." (BH)

Winery Notes:
The stunning collection of premier cru and old-vine vineyards held by the two Chevillon brothers would make any Pinot Noir grower jealous. Their innate ability to carefully tend the vines and master the difficult Burgundian conditions provides ripe, healthy clusters of grapes year after year. Taste through the barrels of Chevillon post-harvest and it doesn't matter what happened the year before, almost as if by miracle, the wines show class and character and each terroir has its distinct idiosyncrasies. It is le vrai Pinot chez Chevillon.

Brothers Bertrand and Denis Chevillon are the fifth generation managers of this property in Nuits- Saint-Georges, which means they work the vines and make the wines. Their father Robert, for whom the domaine is named, is still active as well. Both brothers bring passion, experience, a tireless work ethic, and intensity to their work at the domaine. Tasting through their palate of Nuits- Saint-Georges is a venerable tour of the appellation. Their Passetoutgrain, a blend of Pinot and Gamay, is a worthy introduction and their rare (two barrels made) Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc made from the “Pinot Gouges” is an exotic treasure that ages just as long as the domaine’s fabled reds. And their Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Chardonnay and Bourgogne Rouge are grown and vinified with the same care as their premier crus. It shows.

The track record of the Chevillon wines in the cellar is one of the most remarkable aspects of this storied domaine. We regularly have the good fortune to taste back through the past three decades of vintages of all the various premier crus and the wines always more than convincing—they are amongst Burgundy’s very best. In fact, I have often been more disappointed with grand cru bottlings than I am with the top-tier Chevillon premier crus. Indeed, Nuits-Saint-Georges does not officially have any grand cru vineyards, but we are convinced that Cailles, Vaucrains and Les Saint-Georges are firmly grand cru quality. This decision is currently in the hands of the appellation authorities but it is almost better if the status quo doesn’t change–that way we are assured to get grand cru quality at a premier cru price!