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

Year: 2016
Appellation: Cote de Nuits
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 93-95
Vinous Media: 92-95
Burghound: 92-95
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$199.95

"There are just nine barrels from 1.5 hectares of vines this year, so make the most of the 2016 Nuits St Georges 1er Cru les Vaucrains if you can locate a bottle. It has a very intense but classy bouquet with pure red cherry, cranberry and wild strawberry scents infused by cold stone aromas. I adore the delineation of these aromatics. The palate is defined by filigree tannin, pitch perfect acidity, an almost sorbet-like freshness than dovetails into a lightly spiced, fine boned finish that is a pure joy. This may even surpass the 2015.

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-ruby. Classic Vaucrains aromas of dark raspberry, black cherry, dark chocolate and violet, plus a whiff of menthol. Sappy, highly concentrated and dense, showing a very fine-grained texture but serious medicinal reserve in the early going. Finishes very long and subtle, with broad, late-arriving dusty tannins and a repeating note of dark chocolate. The most powerful of these 2016s but also unusually silky for young Vaucrains." (VM)

"A fresh but brooding nose displays plenty of sauvage character on the ripe dark currant, plum and humus scents. The big-bodied and robust flavors also possess excellent power that continues onto the austere and markedly firm finish that delivers explosively fine length. Like the Les St. Georges, this bold effort is very Vaucrains and is going to require a long snooze in a chilly cellar because it won't be approachable young." (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!