Domaine Pierre Thibert Chorey Les Beaune 2019
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 2019 VINTAGE
There’s a popular saying here in Burgundy which points out that, since the start of the 20th century, vintages ending in ‘9’ have been exceptional. So when 2019 came around, we were secretly anticipating something special. Little did we know!
Every vintage comes with its own hyperbole: best of the decade; greatest of the century; another 1990. And it’s true, as the climate continues to warm, there has been some remarkable wine produced in recent years. But in Burgundy in 2019, it got hot.
Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like to come to maturity slowly. Too much heat cooks the elegance out of them. So climate change is an existential issue for Burgundy wine as we know it.
But in 2019 something remarkable happened. I hesitate to call it a paradigm shift; it may well be a one-off. But in a year where, in some places, grapes turned to raisins on the vine, Burgundy has given us a vintage worthy of the hyperbole.
You won’t find many lacey, delicate wines this year. The vintage will be unapologetically bold and unbelievably concentrated. The whites are indulgent, often explosive, and pinned to a mind-bogglingly good acidic framework, given the summer heat. The reds are sophisticated and elegant, alive.
Perhaps most tellingly, despite the hot summer, this was not one of those late-August harvests that we’re getting accustomed to. The harvest got underway in the Cote de Beaune on 12 September. And some in the Cote de Nuits did not begin picking until the 23rd. The fruit was ripe earlier, but the fine conditions allowed the growers to wait for the holy grail: phenolic maturity.
You rarely get fruit maturity (the sugar part of the equation) plus phenolic maturity (the tannins in the pips and stems) coming together at the same time. Usually you sacrifice one for the other. You can’t force it to happen. Nature bestows it upon you. But when it does happen, that, almost by definition, is a great vintage.
2019 will be a great vintage. Think 2018 with more energy. The only downside is that, as opposed to the bumper crop we saw in 2018, 2019 was a small crop. Down by as much as 60% in the southern zones where it was hottest.
Let’s look quickly at how the season developed. The winter 2018/19 was mild, with higher than average temperatures in December and February. There was a lot of rain in December which many claim could ultimately have saved the vintage from the summer’s drought.
Spring was warm and the growth cycle started earlier than usual. There were precocious zones with bud burst in early April. But cold weather set in on 5 April with frost in many areas. Frost damage would have an effect on yields, particularly in the Maconnais. The cold weather held on through mid-April with several consequential frost risks.
Warm weather returned in May and remained until early June when temperatures dropped again, slowing growth again and hindering flowering. There was a good bit of flower abortion (millerandage), which, again, took its part of the yield at harvest.
Then mid-summer was hot-hot And dry-dry. The vines, for the most part, were in good shape going into the heat wave, but the stress was excessive. Vines handled the conditions differently from one plot to the next. Consensus is that old vines, with their deep roots, were able to find water in the subsoil. And that younger, well-tended vines, had a similar advantage. Vines with roots that went looking for water near the surface, however, suffered towards the end of the season, as they scorched and shriveled.
There was just a bit of rain in August, and from then on through September was hot but fine. In certain areas Pinot Noir ripened before Chardonnay, so harvest planning was complicated. The first Cremant vineyards were picked at the very end of August, and the harvest continued through to mid-October.
Harvest was a joy for the most part. Good weather. No disease. And the fruit that survived frost and fire was beautiful. Fermentation in both white and red went off easily. Whites finished slowly, gently, giving balance and purity. The length of red fermentation varied a lot, but the tannins are fine and the wine has vigor.
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.