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Type
Red Wine

Domaine Royet Bourgogne Cotes du Couchois 2019

Appellation
Bourgogne Cotes de Couchois
Region
Cote Chalonnaise
Vintage
2019
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$34.00
 
SKU: ERCO03R-19
Overview

Bright Ruby color, fresh and intense black fruits, blackberry, cassis. A light toasty wood with the good acid base makes it mouth-watering.  Fine, smooth tannins, good length. Aging potential: 5 years

TERROIR: Varied clays that give Pinot Noir the distinct terroir notes of the Côtes du Couchois.

SITUATION: Plot located in the town of Couches, facing south-east at a fairly high altitude, around 380m

IN THE VINEYARD: Control of yields with reasoned pruning. Tillage, dogging, plowing. Manual de-stemming, trimming over 1m30. Vineyard area: 1 ha - Average age of the vines: 30 years

VINIFICATION & AGING: Yield: 55 hL / ha - Production volume: 7200
Manual harvest in crates. Sorting table, 100% destemmed. Control of vinification temperatures. Control of the maceration temperature with a controlled rise to allow fermentation Aging in demi-muids for 12 months, 1/3 new barrels, 1/3 one year old barrels and 1/3 two year old barrels.

Producer

DOMAINE ROYET

In Burgundy, the Côtes du Couchois is at a crossroads. Both literally and figuratively.

Closing the geological fault that runs from Dijon to the southwest, this islet of vines west of the Côte Chalonnaise but in the extension of the Côte d´Or should be attached to the soils of "great Burgundy". But its location in Saône-et-Loire has led the appellation to fall back to the Côte Chalonnaise.

The region is undiscovered, all but unknown in the US. But it can be a source of excellent wine from excellent producers. And as always Elden Selections is there to prospect for the best.

Allow us to introduce the Domaine Royet. Located in the heart of the Côtes du Couchois, this family estate extends over 14 hectares (nearly 34 acres). The vines are planted on steep slopes at the foot of the Château of Couches. Combining tradition and modernity, the Domaine Royet produces wines that express the unique subsoils of this corner of Burgundy.

Vincent Royet today works with his father, Jean-Claude, being the third and fourth generations to exploit the domain. They have planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Aligote, and produce wines in the regional appellation Bourgogne, the sub-region Cotes de Couchois, as well as premier cru Maranges. They are also producers of an excellent in-house Crémant de Bourgogne.

Vintage

BURGUNDY 2019

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.

Appellation
p>BOURGOGNE COTES DE COUCHOIS

In Burgundy, the Côtes du Couchois is at a crossroads. Both literally and figuratively.

Closing the geological fault that runs from Dijon to the southwest, this islet of vines west of the Côte Chalonnaise but in the extension of the Côte d´Or should be attached to the soils of "great Burgundy". But its location in Saône-et-Loire has led the appellation to fall back to the Côte Chalonnaise.

Little known, the Couchois is therefore somewhat unloved in Burgundy. Angry at being snubbed by its neighbors, the appellation is now taking the bit in the teeth. Its time has come. In fact, at the start of the 1980s, at a time when appellations of origin were organized, the Côtes du Couchois procrastinated. Its winegrowers (around thirty at the time) could not agree on the position to adopt. Resist alone or let yourself be swallowed up by the neighboring Hautes Côtes de Beaune? In 1983, a union was finally formed, but its action, undermined by clan quarrels, produced little results. The Côtes du Couchois had to wait seventeen years to finally gain access to the precious AOC. Today, only a dozen truly concerned winegrowers are watching over the future of the appellation.

These troops have formed a new strike force. At their head: Olivier Poelaert, disembarked from his native Normandy in 2009 and since then installed at the Château de Couches. At the instigation of the group, the quality of the wines improved, a business called the Union of Producers and Traders of the AOC Côtes du Couchois was created. Together, they try to attract tourists and professionals to their end of the Côte d´Or.

On these slopes planted with Pinot Noir, Aligoté and Chardonnay (though the whites are not yet entitled to AOC Bourgogne Côtes de Couchois), the view is beautiful and the prices more than reasonable.

The vines meander along the geological fault and the folds of the valleys. This laughing landscape, just after Maranges and ten kilometers from Meursault as the crow flies, remains unexplored. Wrongly. It is time for fans to come and recharge their batteries.

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