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What is the Chambertin appellation in Burgundy?
This French wine is produced in Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte-d'Or. It is classified among the grands crus of the Côte-de-Nuits vineyard.
Since the 12th century, Chambertin has been considered to be one of the first red wines in Europe. It is considered to be the "King of Wines". It was the property of the Chanoines de Langres, its terroir followed the same path as its neighbour Clos-de-bèze until the Revolution. The Chambertins are powerful, structured wines with a great capacity for laying down: 10 to 20 years (up to 50 years for great vintages). This wine was also reputed to be Napoleon's favourite wine.
The Chambertin is the most important vineyard "grand cru" of Gevrey-Chambertin, one of the northernmost wine villages of the Côte de Nuits in Burgundy. The vineyard produces exclusively red wines based on pinot noir, which are among the finest in the world. Napoleon drank Chambertin wine even during his military campaigns abroad. He drank it daily, diluted in water, from bottles bearing the embossed "N". Classic Chambertin has a rich ruby colour (becoming brick red with age) and a deeply perfumed nose of plums, red cherries, earth and sweet spices. The prestige of the wines from this former vineyard was such that in 1847, the parish council voted to add the name of the site to that of the village, which was then simply called "Gevrey". Seven vineyards, including that of Charmes-Chambertin (29 hectares), also took the name as suffix. In 1937, they obtained the status of grand cru alongside Chambertin. The nine vineyards Grand Cru of Gevrey-Chambertin together form a rectangle approximately 2 km by 500 metres. The Clos Saint-Jacques, a Premier Cru vineyard widely considered as one of the most beautiful sites of Gevrey-Chambertin, does not have the status of a "terroir" grand cru because it is not adjacent to Chambertin.
Soils, vineyard climate
The soils of Chambertin are well-drained and stony, with a thin layer of limestone topsoil scattered with pebbles on a deep rocky base. The percentage of clay decreases further up the site, giving way to drier, looser limestone. As in all of the Côte-d'Or, the climate is continental, meaning hot, dry summers and crisp, cool winters. The significant diurnal temperature change caused by this type of climate helps the vines maintain a balance between natural sugars and acidity. The disadvantage is that spring frosts are a particular threat; entire vintages have been lost due to frost damage, and more recently by the infamous hailstorms in Burgundy.
The vineyard is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious in the Côte d'Or, unlike the only Romanée-Conti and Montrachet Grand Crus. Some of Burgundy's most famous names have cultivations in the vineyard, including Armand Rousseau, Dugat-Py and Leroy, as well as several of Burgundy's most important wine merchants, including Louis Latour and Bouchard Père et Fils.
How are the wines of Chambertin?
To the eye: Very lively colour, with nuances between dark ruby and black cherry.
Nose : Blackcurrant notes from the opening, with hints of redcurrant and raspberry on the finish. It is also possible to find cherry liqueur, fruit pits, spices and liquorice. A few notes of rose, jasmine or reseda, then finally, moss, underbrush, and game suddenly appear.
Palate : A present finesse, it is full of sap and mellow. A concentrated and powerful wine. Flesh and structure merge admirably, especially as it develops incredibly with age.
Find the best bottles of Chambertin on Comptoir des Millésimes. Enjoy your visit!
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