Domaine Chevrot

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Côte de Beaune,Burgundy,France

Maranges is located at the southern-most part of the Côte d’Or, producing red wines that Clive Coates describes as “honest, sturdy and rustic in the best sense… (and) with good acidity”. The Chevrot family has been making wine in Maranges since 1830, and Domaine Chevrot was founded in 1936 by the grandparents of the current winemaking brothers, Pablo and Vincent. Their parents started bottling wines under the Domaine Chevrot label in the seventies, and the young Pablo and Vincent have maintained the traditions of their parents with only one exception: they are converting the vineyards to certified organic viticulture. They are using organic compost in the vineyards and a minimum of copper and sulfur treatments as needed to treat oidium and mildew. They are practicing biodynamics as well but are not certified.

The entry-level cuvées are destemmed and some whole clusters are kept on the 1er cru cuvées. Indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. The average age of the vines is 30 years, but the oldest plots were planted by the current winemakers’ grandfather and are up to 75 years old. After fermentation, the wines are put into barrels for aging. The amount of new oak used depends on the cuvée; Pablo explains that new oak is necessary in Maranges because the region produces very powerful wines like Pommard or Nuits-Saint-Georges. As the goal is to produce wines that reflect their terroir and the vintage, the Chevrot brothers never add enzymes, acidify or chaptalize.

Domaine Chevrot

Heading south from Chassagne-Montrachet you immediately enter the vineyards of Santenay. The old section of the village sits up on the hill to the west. This is last sight most travelers see as they exit the Cote d’ Or and speed towards the Chalonnaise. However, a careful observer will notice through the woods the village of Cheilly-les-Maranges, one of three villages that comprise the Maranges appellation. Along with Corton, Maranges possesses the most impressive hill in the region. Cheilly sits at the base of this wall of vines. Sampigny-les-Maranges and Dezize-les-Maragnes rest up on western edge of the hill. Growers in this area traditionally sold off their production to negociants, but the rising generation is more inclined to bottle under their under own estate labels. One such estate is Domaine Chevrot.

Located in an eighteenth century manor house near the heart of Cheilly, Domaine Chevrot is run by the brothers Pablo and Vincent. The estate, founded in 1936 by the brother’s grandparents, totals 20 hectares and spans 15 appellations. Estate bottling began in the 1970s and since 2008 Chevrot has produced wines following l’agriculture biologique (organic). Biodynamic principles have also been introduced. Pablo gained experience working in regions outside Burgundy, including Bordeaux (Ch. Phélan-Ségur ) and the U.S. Vincent joined the domaine in 2007 after spending time at various estates including Domaine Alain Graillot (Rhone) and Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon (Chalonnaise). Apprenticing at such prestigious wineries has given the brothers a high bar to strive for at their home estate. Pablo and Vincent’s approach to
wine making emphasizes terroir. Indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation and some whole clusters are
retained.

While the majority of the domaine’s production is red, there are several excellent blanc cuvees. The Bourgogne Aligoté “Cuvée des Quatre Terroirs” is made from four plots with an average vine age of 25 years. Crisp and clean, it is a classic version of this grape variety. More impressive is the  rich, complex Bourgogne Aligoté “Cuvee Tilleul.” The wine is made from a single plot of old vines (50 years) located directly across from the winery. This is a wine that can challenge Villaine’s
Bouzeron and Ponsot’s Morey-Saint-Denis 1er cru Clos des Monts Luisants for the title of Burgundy’s best Aligoté.  In the Chardonnay category there is a Maranages blanc (1ha). Forty year old vines produce a rustic, meaty wine. One wine is made from grapes grown in Santenay. Comme Dessus (0.30ha) is a vineyard that sits directly above the premier cru La Comme on the border of Chassagne. Although the vines are young, the wine is impressive for its mineral driven profile. The portfolio also includes a solid Cremant de Bourgogne rose (100% Pinot Noir) and a delightful, deeply colored  Bourgogne rose (100% Pinot Noir).

Maranges is known for vin rouges and the reds are the stars of the Domaine. The Hautes cotes de Beaune is a bright and crisp wine. Richer and more intense is the Maranages Sur le Chêne (50 year old vines). This vineyard is located at the edge of the village and its soil is deep.  The wine is a delightful pinot that often has a rustic quality which reflects the historical profile of the village’s wines. In neighboring Santenay are 50 year old vines the premier cru Clos Rousseau(1.5ha). The wine is more elegant and complex than the basic Maranges.  All the premier cru vineyards in Maranges are located on the slope. Les Clos Roussots (1.5ha) is on the lower portion of the hill and its 60 year old vines produce a full-bodied wine. La Fussiereis the largest and most recognizable premier cru in the village. Chevrot’s plot is stony and makes a mineral wine with a long finish. According to legend, the first vines planted on the slope were in the tiny La Croix Moines. The vineyard, which Pablo refers to this wine as their “grand cru,” is nestled at the top of hill near Dezize. From this plot of decomposed limestone Chevrot crafts their noblest wine. Intense aromas introduce a mouthful of concentrated fruits. Although rich, the wine is elegant and refined. A mineral laden backbone gives the wine structure for aging. Time in the bottle will determine if this wine is really of grand cru level, but the potential is there.

The vineyards of Maranges were traditionally a source of bulk juice and because of this the area has long been ignored by wine lovers. Young winemakers such as Pablo and Vincent are striving to change that.  Although they are located in a humble village, the brothers strive to squeeze every ounce of potential from the terroir. Their dedication is producing greater results with each vintage. Domaine Chevrot is destined to become a benchmark producer of this underappreciated appellation.