Domaine Pierre Thibert Chorey Les Beaune 2018
Pierre Thibert is a ‘garagiste’ no more! And we’re here to report on big changes in this small-production, top-quality, self-made domain. Pierre and his wife, Aline, have accomplished what many say is no longer possible in Burgundy: they built a solid family domain, a world-class reputation and a sophisticated style over the course of a single generation. They created something out of nothing!
Delicate and supple, rich and full of Pinot Noir character. Crimson with classic red and black fruits set off by earth and spice. Good and subtle tannic structure finishing long on fruit
DOMAINE PIERRE THIBERT
Pierre Thibert is a ‘garagiste’ winemaker in the truest sense of the word. While some who make wine in cramped quarters claim that their wines come from their garage, most have recourse (often because of their ‘day job’) to sophisticated wine making facilities where they do the hard work in comfort.
Not Pierre Thibert. You walk into his garage and it’s all there. The fermentation vats, the press, the storage tanks, the pumps, the hoses, the barrels. Even the bottling and labeling machinery. Everything takes place in an area big enough for 2 cars and, in a good year, 20 barrels.
Pierre chose wine making out of passion. He was not born into a wine family. At 15 he enrolled at the Lycee Viticole de Beaune, literally Beaune’s Wine High School, where all the winemakers’ kids go. When he got his BEPA diploma in 1984 he set about making wine, working with another winemaker at first.
Five years later, in 1989, he created his own domain in Corgoloin, one of the villages dominated by stone quarries in between the Cote de Beaune and the Cote de Nuits. Some people call it no-man’s-land. For some it is the center of the Cote de Nuits-Villages appellation. For Pierre, it was his foot in the door. In 1995 he purchased an old winemakers house there, which has been the winery since then.
Renting vines in the appellations of 'Bourgogne' and 'Passetoutgrain', while still working outside his own domain for another winemaker, the Domaine Pierre Thibert got off to a modest quiet start. Soon though Pierre was able to bring some Chorey-les Beaune and Aligote vines into his domain. Some purchased, some ‘en fermage' (a sort of 'share-cropping' current in Burgundy), the list of wines grew slowly at first. Finally came the vines in Nuits St. Georges and Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru.
At present, he oversees about 10 acres of vines. Pierre takes pride in his single-vineyard appellations. But everything he touches show the mark of great respect for Nature and attention to detail in the vineyard.
Bourgogne rouge "Les Bouffales"
Côte de Nuits village " La Montagne"
Nuits-St-Georges 1er cru "Rue de Chaux" cuvée vieille vigne
Vinification remains traditional with respect for the soil and plant. Maturation is either in tank or wood, depending on the appellation, with a small proportion of new wood on the more prestigious cuvees.
The Domaine Pierre Thibert has a loyal following in France. Much of the production is sold at the winery, But regular citations in the prestigious French guides and magazines (including the Guide Hachette as well as 'Bourgogne Aujourd'hui' and the 'Revue de Vins de France') has brought a clientele from further afield.
Elden Selections is proud to bring these wines to the US for the first time.
BURGUNDY 2018 VINTAGE
There has been talk over the past year of the 2018 vintage in Burgundy being one of the greatest of all time. Comparisons with the mythical 1947, and all that. But let’s be careful and take a closer look.
We’ve tasted some marvellous wines, both white and red, and from all of the appellation levels. Purity and concentration would be the key words across the board.
But lest we forget, 2018 was the hottest vintage in Burgundy since 2003. And frankly, we were expecting wines like we got in 2003: flabby whites and Cote du Rhone-like reds. But that did not happen. And the secret to understanding 2018 Burgundy lies in understanding the difference between these two very hot years.
If you look at 2018 from start to finish, not only was it hot, it was dry: 50% less precipitation than the annual average over the past 30 years. However, if you were here in the early part of the year, you’ll certainly remember the rain.
After a very dry summer in 2017, winter 2017-18 was wet. It rained nearly every day through March and into April. And the vine was slow to bud.
That all changed in the middle of April. Wet soil and higher temperatures brought on explosive growth in the vineyards that the vigneron had a tough time keeping up with. In a week we went from bud burst to unfurled leaves.
The first flowers burst in mid-May. The crop set regularly with very little disruption, and summer settled in. The early wet conditions followed by April’s warmth saw the onset of mildew, but the fungus never stood a chance.
It was a hot and sunny summer. Some would say it was a heat wave and a drought. And we started to see signs of stress in vineyards in certain sectors. Things were better where there was a little rain. But August was bone dry. In fact, there was no rain from June 15th to the end of October.
It was about this time that comparisons to 2015 cropped up. You could see ripeness rapidly approaching, and there was talk of harvest starting at the end of August.
The vines were incredibly healthy; no moisture means no threat from mildew or odium. No rot. Good ripeness.
And, for the first time since 2009….a normal yield! So, let the harvest begin!
And it did, in the last days of August. What was most astonishing right from the start was that the perceived acidity levels seem OK. Granted, there’s no malic acid, but the levels of tartaric acid seem to be compensating, and there is an over-all impression of balance.
Also amazing was the amount of juice the Chardonnay crop produced. Not only was the yield bigger than the past 10 years’ average, but the amount of juice set a record for Burgundy. So there will be a lot of 2018 around.
And all this in a year that felt more like the south of Spain than Burgundy as we know it. The only thing we can attribute the quality of 2018 to is the abundant winter rains, and the vine’s ability to go searching for water when it needs it.
COTE DE BEAUNE.
Chorey-les Beaune lies on the lower slopes of the Côte de Beaune. It often lives in the shadow of its nearest neighbors, Aloxe-Corton and Savigny-lès-Beaune. Its wines, lively and approachable, are an excellent introduction to Burgundy. In the past they were sold under the names of their more prestigious neighbors, but their consistent quality entitles them to their own village appellation which they were granted in 1970. The vineyards grow mainly Pinot Noir grapes but white grapes (Chardonnay) are taking an increasing share of total production..
Chorey produces a light and supple red wine that can be rich and characterful. Often dark crimson with purplish highlights. The nose is classic Burgundy Pinot Noir with red fruits (raspberry, black cherry) and black fruits (blackberry) set off by earth and spice. Its perennial charm is based on a good and subtle tannic structure. Chorey famously finishes on fruit..
The whites are light gold with aromas of white flowers, nuts and citrus. Lively in a good year when young, white Chorey develops rapidly into a wine with good body, length and juiciness..
Soils in Chorey are limestone-marl alluvium, ferruginous in places, over stony subsoil, formed by millennia of up-slope erosion from the Rhoin river that forms the complex Savigny vineyards and describes Aloxe-Corton. Towards Aloxe-Corton are beds of alluvial gravels, rich in calcium rich rocks called « chailles » and towards Savigny-lès-Beaune beds of clay with pebbly limestone.
Mostly Reds- Pinot Noir
Whites - Chardonnay
Area under production.
1 hectare (ha) = 10 000 m2 = 2.4 acres.
Reds : 126.95 ha.
Whites : 6.70 ha.
Chorey is an ideal ‘summer red’. The subtlety, delicacy and refined tannins of red Chorey make it highly adaptable, a fine match for cold cuts and hot main dishes while its fluid structure goes well with balanced dishes like roast chicken or braised beef..
The following climats are village wines from a single-vineyard, known as a lieu-dit..
Le Grand Saussy.
Les Bons Ores.
Les Champs Longs.
Les Grandes Rêpes.
Les Petites Rêpes.
Petits Champs Longs.
Pièce du Chapitre.
Plantes des Plantes.