Vegetarian, Practising Biodynamic, Certified Organic
On the nose, Maranges 'Sur le Chêne' rouge offers delicious notes of red berries, redcurrant and cherry, together with hints of mocha and cacao. The palate is smooth and steady, bringing fresh fruit flavours with a suave texture.
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.
Sur le Chêne's vineyard features a beautiful steep, south-facing terrace of limestone gravel and granite soils, which are deep but poor and well-drained. The neighbouring Cozanne river produces large diurnal differences. In the vineyard, compaction and mechanization are limited as much as possible, and fertility and microbiology boosted by nourishing the soils with manure and green manure alone. Pruning is carried out in respect of sap flow, with each branch trellised and leaves removed from the grape areas carefully in each plot, in order to produce healthy fruit and flavourful wines.
After a mild winter, the domaine endured rare frosts on the 5th and 15th April, when budbreak had already commenced. Despite efforts to increase temperatures on the lower slopes using candles and smoke, some of the Chardonnay 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, the grapes 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 grapes were harvested, drip-dried and carefully sorted to keep only perfectly ripe, healthy clusters. During the harvest gravity was used to make the transfers, so as to limit crushing as much as possible. Whole bunches accounted for 30% of grapes in the vats, and the fermentation was followed up with indigenous yeast for a complete and harmonious process. The juice remained in vats for 15 days, before being softly extracted. The wine was then matured for 18 months, of which 14 months were spent in French oak barrels (15% new), and 4 months in stainless steel. No sulphites were used.