Fresh from visiting Gevrey-Chambertin and the gravity of it all has a grip on me. I think it was the courtier naming off the producers I will be shoulder to shoulder with come harvest time that drove the point home. I am officially in contract on all of my fruit.
Now onto the vineyards. The Charmes-Chambertin I am sourcing is all from within ‘Aux Charmes’ which is roughly 10 feet (the width of the road which separates the two) away from Le Chambertin. Grapes from close to the RN74 are in Mazoyeres, but can be labeled as Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru. My source is located higher above, on a gentle slope. The grapes were really were sorted curently. When tasted from the vine today, the Charmes had a nice thickness of skin, a soft flesh, lightly browned seeds, and bright toned fruit. The clusters hanging were very few in number, with truly a modest set of berries on each.
Chicken and Egg
The fruit from Aux Charmes is showing a generous amount of chicken and egg, which is excellent. When you have uniform berry sizes, the skin thicknesses (which are quite important for a Pinot noir), water/grape skin ratio are similar throughout the cluster. When you have both tiny and regular sized berries, older wine makers have always called it Chicken and Egg. The common thought is that with these circumstances, there are more nuances to the wine, which makes for something more interesting. When tasting the grapes, there is a noticable difference in the tannin feel, brightness of fruit, and the perceptible feeling of the flesh around the seeds. Will it be better? I have no idea, but whatever the results both the chicken and egg are apparent.
This vineyard is roughly 10 feet higher up te slope than Charmes, possibly 20 feet. The elevation has more variability than the gentle sloping soil below the feet of Aux Charmes. Chambertin has quite an angle as it reaches up the slope. My vines go from the street up to the top of Chambertin. The vines seem to point East/West as opposed to the North/South situation of Aux Charmes. The berries are just a bit bigger at times here, and at others impossibly small. There is quite a bit chicken and egg here as well. The soil has just as many stones as the other vineyard, however the stone looks finer at times, broken into rubble. The soil is also at times are a deeper hue of red than others.
The grapes have a deeper tone, the skin is thicker, more packed with everything. Deeper tone to the seed, more intense fruit impression, tigher flesh around the seed and more of the sense of acid. Before tasting these grapes side by side I would never have guessed at this point that they would have so many perceptible differences. Now, you couldn’t blind guess these at this point. However, side by side, most people, non people would clearly notice they weren’t the same.
Tonight I am happy to report all of this to my wife. My head is aching from thinking about all the variables in play. It’s a good sore. But I am anxious, waiting again for what seems like the shot before a marathon begins.
Well, to bed for now…to think, and to listen for that shot before I take off.