Jerome Chezeaux Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Chaumes 2018
"A small gem of a domaine," is how our distributor Neal Rosenthal describes this tiny but exquisite winemaker. Chezaux offers incredible value for those in the know. Jèrôme works three parcels (“Bossières,” “Mezière” and “Aux Réas”) totaling a little more than half a hectare to make this village wine. At first whiff, it is clear that one has left the Nuits appellation. The fruit here is dark, with regal notes of truffle and lavender. The texture is softer and more fruit-forward than his wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the tannins are a bit finer and more forgiving, a complex village level wine that punches way above its weight. The Chezeaux family owns almost four hectares of vineyards within the village appellation of Nuits Saint Georges. The vineyards are found within a number of lieu-dits but the ultimate cuvée that is bottled is principally from the Charbonniere site supplemented by Les Chaliots and Aux Saint Julien. The vines are very old, some being planted over eighty years ago (written as of early 2012). The soil is a mix of silts of clay, reddish-brown in color, overlain with limestone pebbles. The Chezeaux domaine was built on the foundations of an estate owned since 1930 by Julien Missery. Bernard Chezeaux acceded to the ownership of the domaine in 1971 selling most of the wines produced there to negociants during his reign. On his untimely death in 1993, his son, Jérome, took over the direction of the domaine and it was at this moment that we made Jérome’s acquaintance. It was a fortuitous encounter as our collaboration has meshed perfectly with Jérome’s intention to increase the amount of wine bottled at the estate. The estate, which is based in Prémeaux-Prissey just south of Nuits Saint Georges, owns approximately 12 hectares of vineyards, some of which were brought into play from the family holdings of Jérome’s wife, Pierrette. The vineyards, impeccably tended according to the principles of “lutte raisonnée”, are scattered throughout the villages of Prémeaux, Nuits Saint Georges, Vougeot and Vosne Romanée and include, as mentioned above, a series of the most elite lieu-dits in the zone. Jérome Chézeaux strictly follows the most traditional of methods in the cellar being firmly “non-interventionist”. The purity of his wines is revelatory; there is an understated majesty to every offering in the portfolio. After a manual harvest, the grapes undergo a cold maceration of 3 to 4 days and the entire cuvaison extends for approximately three weeks. During that time remontage and pigeage are practiced; the extent to which both techniques are used depends on the structure of the vintage. Indigenous yeasts are used exclusively and malolactic fermentation occurs in small oak barrels during the extended elevage. Each year between a quarter and one-third of the barrels are replaced which means that the wines are exposed at most to 30% new oak. The wines are bottled without filtration between 18 to 24 months after harvest.