- Tasting Notes & Technical Details
Domaine Chevrot was introduced to us by Jane Eyre while we were tasting her pristine Burgundies in October 2021. It was the first winery she worked in when she arrived from Melbourne, and she retains good relations with brothers Pablo and Vincent who run the estate. They took over from their parents in 2007 after gaining experience in Bordeaux and Central Otago. They farm the 19-hectare estate organically and have introduced horse-drawn ploughing (for less compacted soil) and larger barrels to refine the style of the wines, which has helped raise the domaine’s profile.
Situated just 10 kilometres from Puligny and Chassagne-Montrachet, at the southern end of the Côte de Beaune, Maranges is gaining attention for the quality and affordability of its wines. The village is in the Saône-et-Loire department, something you notice as the vegetation and houses change as you drive towards the village. Domaine Chevrot is nestled in the heart of the appellation and is widely viewed as one of the leading producers.
The wines are very low in sulphur dioxide, as Vincent is allergic to this key preservative. As a result, the wines don’t receive any SO2 treatment until bottling, so have a total of under 50 mg/l for red wines and under 60 mg/l for whites. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their approach in the vineyard and the cellar. They are in fact one of the pilot research wineries for the BIVB (Burgundy wine board) and are currently leading a program on how to combat the spread of Brettanomyces in Burgundian cellars, something that is greatly benefiting not only their wines but also those of the region more widely.
We have added four Maranges from the brothers, as well as two from their holdings in Santenay, where they have just over two hectares. The Maranges Villages Blanc comes from the granite and gravel soils of the lower part of the hill. The wine has distinctive flavours of praline and roasted hazelnuts, and a lovely texture balanced by lively acidity. The Maranges 1er Cru La Fussière Blanc is produced from a steep west-facing slope. The chalky soil is ‘almost Champagne-like’, says Pablo, which contributes to the wine’s great depth, clean fruit, fresh acidity and long finish. Their Santenay 1er Cru "Clos Rousseau" Blanc is made from fruit grown on chalky soils and aged using 20% new oak. It is fresh and slightly honeyed with ripe stone fruit flavours, great depth and a long finish.
The reds have a depth and interest that is seldom found in Marange. The Maranges "Sur le Chêne" Rouge comes from a three-hectare lieu-dit purchased by Pablo and Vincent’s grandfather. 30% whole-bunch fermentation brings perfumed, red-fruit aromatics, and gentle tannins and crunchy acidity give precision and structure. The Maranges 1er Cru "La Fussière" Rouge is deeper in colour than the Villages, with rich but delicate aromas of dark fruits, fine tannins and a powerful yet elegant finish. The structure is enhanced by 18 months’ oak ageing, with 30% new oak employed in the first year. The Santenay 1er Cru " Clos Rousseau" Rouge displays balance yet power. 40% whole-bunch fermentation enhances the aromatic profile and the use of 30% new oak in the ageing process contributes structure and complexity. Concentrated fruit characters are supported by floral notes, fine tannins and a fresh finish.
The vineyard for the Meranges 1er Cru is situated on steep, south-facing slopes at the top of the Meranges hillside. Soils are comprised of marly Jurassic substratum, covered by a top scree layer of gravel and rock particles and limestone from the surrounding cliffs that aid drainage and lend elegance to the wines. All the domaine’s vineyards are organically farmed, without the use of fertilisers and using only manure and green compost to boost nutrients in the soils. Its two draft horses, Valentine and Hotesse, help work the land to control unwanted vegetation and are considered to be integral members of the Chevrot team.
After a mild winter, the domaine encountered rare frosts on 5th April and again on 15th, when budbreak had already commenced. Despite the utmost efforts to increase temperatures on the lower slopes using candles and smoke, some of the grapes were lost to frost damage. However, the frost and associated moisture did manage to replenish water reserves in the soils in preparation for the hot summer that followed, which peaked at 42.9 °C towards the end of July and prompted the need for careful vineyard management to protect the grapes. By harvest, they had reached the perfect levels of phenolic ripeness and, although yields were reduced, the remaining fruit was in pristine condition and of the highest quality.
The Pinot Noir grapes were hand-picked into small boxes, drip-dried and carefully sorted so that only the perfectly ripe, healthy bunches were used to make the wine. Once at the winery, they were transferred into vats, with 20% of the fruit left in whole bunches, to undergo a 15-day fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The wine was then aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, 30% of which were new, followed by a further 2 months ageing in stainless-steel tanks before being bottled.
This wine has an elegant nose that offers blackberry and flint aromas. The palate is concentrated and robust, with red berry flavours that marry with a saline minerality and structured tannins. Delicate and savoury aromatics complement the fruit-driven finish.