Robert Parker 92-94
The 2013 Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze Grand Cru has a backward nose at first, opening reluctantly with pure dark plum, briary and mineral notes, but keeping everything in fourth, rather than fifth gear. The palate is well integrated with the oak, touches of brown sugar tincturing the red cherry and raspberry fruit and leading to a nicely poised finish. This is one of the best Grand Crus from the domaine this year. This domaine in the heart of Gevrey Village has one of the most impressive portfolios of premier and grand crus in the Côte de Nuits. Few growers can claim to have eight grand crus under their wing. Winemaker Philippe Drouhin faced the same challenges as everyone else including 17 days of rain in May when temperatures were 3.6 degrees below average and a protracted flowering from June 20 until July 7, commencing the harvest on October 4. The vines had been affected by coulure and millerandage, so sorting had to be done, both in the vineyard and in the winery. In many ways, everything I wanted to say about this grower was written in the introduction of their 2012s last year. These can be excellent wines when they want to be, but I would like them to be excellent wines more often. Occasionally there are some “belters.” The Musigny Grand Cru was seared with all the audacity and nobility you could shake a stick at, the Mazoyères-Chamberetin and Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze full of “stuffing,” the Clos de Vougeot stylish. But then some other cuvées, such as the Bonnes-Mares, Chapelle-Chambertin and Charmes-Chambertin just seem to lack the harmony and conviction you expect from these vineyards. Here is the rub. Philippe kindly let me taste from one-year-old barrels from the same cooperage so that I could compare and contrast. If I am being honest, in all but the top three wines I felt that they did not require too much more new wood, which they ineluctably will receive by the end of their 18-month élevage. So, whereas in 2012 I felt that the vintage gave them the concentration to support that level of new oak, in 2013 I am less convinced, hence some of my more prudent scores. In a nutshell, I just know that this domaine has the parcels of vine to be up there with the Rousseau’s of this this world. It just needs a little…fine-tuning.
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2032