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Domaine Chantal Lescure - terroir and appellation.


Nuits-Saint Georges, Clos de Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Pommard, Volnay - even avid wine enthusiasts and bookworms have stumbled upon these names countless times, without really grasping the intricacies of Burgundy's infamous vineyard classification system. But hey, does it really matter as long as the wine...tastes good?


Well, kinda. Sure, as often when it comes to wine, you can dive deep into details until you're lost in a sea of complexity, leaving the average Joe scratching their head. But let's face it, that's part of what makes wine so fascinating for us. The endless layers of detail, the exploration of the subtlest differences between vineyards, parcels, grape varieties and the soil they call home - admittedly, at this point it's a little nerdy. We're totally okay with that. There's a saying in the wine world that everyone can relate to: You'll never know everything about wine, and there's always someone who knows more than you. Pretty motivating, huh? But then: Why stress over it? If wine is this never-ending journey of discovery, does one really need to know about every tiny detail? And there it is. Nirvana.


The French, as we all know, take this whole thing rather seriously, and thus one finds oneself amidst what appears to be a classification-chaos, which at first glance seems far beyond comprehension. But appearances can be deceiving! "Burgundy" as a whole is a very broad term - Chablis, Châtilonnais, Challonais, Mâconnais, Beaujolais - all these subregions (and more!) fall under the Burgundy umbrella. Super exciting in their individual roles (all incredibly diverse!), but for today, we can safely forget about them (with the consolation that these regions will be explained in other blog entries!). Today, it's all about the heart of Burgundy: the legendary Côte d'Or, the "Golden Coast," the union of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. Many a wine enthusiast who follows their palate here never finds their way back. And they surely don't want to. Here, in a mere 50 kilometers long, one or two kilometers wide strip of land south of Dijon, lies the mecca of the wine world. This hilly area of ​​barely 5000 hectares has a cool microclimate, which differs significantly from the southern parts of Burgundy. Planted here, you'll find only a short list of grape varieties, of which by far the most relevant are undoubtedly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the king and queen of grapes. This can be traced back to an ordinance of the Principality of Burgundy in the 14th century. Due to this grape variety extremism, we can practically eliminate differences in wine quality that would result from choices of variety! Contrasts in these wines can thus be reduced to its process of becoming, élevage, but perhaps even more importantly and in more detail, to its home, its terroir.


But what exactly is Terroir? This magic word of the wine world is arguably the key to understanding the entire Burgundy region, or actually all origin-oriented winemaking around the world that has been inspired by Burgundy. The French term "Terroir" literally means "environment". In the language of wine, we understand Terroir as the totality of the natural environment of a vine or a vineyard. This includes importance of soil composition, climate, weather, topography - slope orientations with regard to sun exposure, and so on. Every little detail matters because it makes even the most minimal difference. It is here that the nearly 700 Premier and Grand Crus of Burgundy find their raison d'être.



And so it happens that Domaine Chantal Lescure too traces its origins back to the year 1975 in the Côte d'Or - in the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, in the heart of the Côte de Nuits, to be precise. Since Chantal's passing in 1996, the estate has been run by her children and has been guided by cellar master and now also operations manager François Chavériat, performing in an exciting, timeless minimalistic style.19 hectares of old vines of Pinot Noir and (a bit of) Chardonnay, certified organic and now also biodynamic since 2006. From Chambolle-Musigny in the northern Côte des Nuits to Meursault on the Côte de Beaune (a half-hour drive).


Today, nine people work at Domaine Chantal Lescure. A very hands-on mentality is brought to the vineyards. Grapes are all hand-picked in small crates. Controlled, slow spontaneous fermentation, no addition of sulfur dioxide during maceration, gentle transport by gravity into the cellar. Aging for 14-15 months in mostly older barrique (228 liters) and tonneaux (500 liters). Unfiltered and unfined with minimal sulfur addition, the individual vineyard bottlings rest as long as they need (around 18 months) in the historic wine cellar before they finally hit the market, vibrant, brimming with energy.


The Côte d'Or encompasses the northern Côte de Nuits and the southern Côte de Beaune.



Now, let's take a deep dive into the individual Crus, Climats, and vineyard blends:


Beaune"Clos des Topes Bizot" Blanc/Rouge

In red and white. The only white wine from the Domaine in our current range. Its price suggests the entry-level wine, but sensorially, it offers almost a bit too much. In the Climat "Clos de Topes Bizot" in the Beaune appellation, near the eponymous town of Beaune, Domaine Lescure has 1.3 hectares of Chardonnay (20-year-old vines) and 3 hectares of Pinot Noir (60-year-old vines). Stony, clayey limestone soil. Fermentation and aging in old, more neutral barrels and tonneaux. Extremely well-balanced, with delicate freshness, spicy notes, incredibly elegant fruit, creamy yet neither fat nor too linear. 2021 already fantastic now.


Beaune AOC 1er Cru "Les Chouacheux"

Also in Beaune, but at the southern end of the appellation, closer to Pommard. The 1.5- hectare Climat "Les Chouacheux" is classified as 1er Cru. Lescure shares this vineyard with, among others, Louis Jadot. 50-year-old vines, iron-rich limestone soil. Aging in 500-liter tonneaux, 25% new. Beautifully juicy, initially a bit rough, needs some air, then delicate, precise, cherry, currant, a bit of red apple. The most approachable of the Crus!


Volnay AOC

Blend of 3 Climats over 1.28 hectares in Volnay, between Pommard and Meursault. We find a bit more clay in these soils. Also, a higher proportion of new oak (30-40%) - exclusively 500-liter tonneaux. Fine fruit, solid concentration, robust acidity, a more rustic Pinot that reaches further but really hits with time.


Pommard AOC “Les Vaumuriens”

45-year-old vines, white marl, slow fermentation in steel, 500-liter tonneaux, 30% new oak. Very "mineralic" presence, deep and concentrated, but not too heavy. Unique stuff!


Pommard AOC 1er Cru “Les Bertins”

1er Cru in southern Pommard, south of the city of Beaune, Pinot heaven. Here, on just 1 hectare, some of the oldest vines of the Domaine thrive. Gentle élevage in barriques and tonneaux, 30-50% new oak. Powerful, earthy, with tremendous aging potential. A bit of blackberry, relentless currant-reminiscent acidity. Can be opened younger, but decanting is a big recommendation for maximum enjoyment.


Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC

A blend of limestone-rich vineyards around the Domaine's home, near Vosne-Romanée. Three Climats, totaling approximately 0.5 hectares of vineyard area - thus individual bottling makes little sense here. Fermentation in steel, aging in only 20% new oak for 16-18 months. The focus is on preserving precision and fruit in younger years. Can benefit from a bit of aeration, a large glass and/or decanting, then it opens up beautifully.


Nuits-Saint-Georges AOC “Les Damodes”

Located at an altitude of 320 meters at the northern tip of Nuits-Saint-Georges, partially within the Premier Cru area. Sparse, stony soil. Starts off very tight and densely structured, but after a long breather becomes extremely graceful, earthy, cherry-like with great aging potential.


Nuits Saint Georges AOC 1er Cru “Les Vallerots”

0.77 hectares, dominated by limestone, long, relaxed fermentation, plenty of time in barrel, up to 50% new oak. Delicate, especially after well-deserved (further!) aging, refined stuff

from the southern Premier Cru area of Nuits-Saint-Georges.


Vosne-Romanée AOC 1er Cru “Les Suchots”

Legendary Climat in Vosne-Romanée in the north. On this highly sought-after terroir, Domaine Lescure works on just 0.42 hectares. Neighbors include top-tier winemakers like Lucien le Moine and Prieuré Roch. Here, more new oak is used because the grape material has significant power - playing on aging potential.


Clos de Vougeot AOC Grand Cru

The Grand Cru. A tiny appellation near home, between Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne- Romanée. Climat Montiotes Hautes, 0.3 hectares. Vines up to and over 70 years old. Stony, barren soil. Fermentation in wooden vats. More new oak is used, endless aging potential. Giants compete here, Leroy, Roch, Engel.

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