Domaine Roumier "Bonnes Mares" Grand Cru 2001

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Domaine G Roumier

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Domaine Roumier "Bonnes Mares" Grand Cru 2001

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"What were originally explosive aromas of black fruit, earth and notes of blueberries all trimmed in a touch of wood toast have gracefully transformed into a gorgeously elegant, airy and pure nose that complements perfectly the sappy, full-bodied, rich, wonderfully intense and still firmly structured flavors that go on and on. This is exceptionally dense for the vintage with dusty structure and superb balance which should permit it to age gracefully for years. The '01 Bonnes Mares trades more on elegance than power than usual though to be sure, it's no shrinking violet. Lovely. " Burghound


For Chambolles with a difference, wines which are substantial, even sturdy, as well as velvety and elegant, the best source is the Roumier domaine: to be precise, because there are two others in the village, the Domaine Georges Roumier. This is one of the longest-established estate bottling domaines in the Côte D'Or. And one of the very best of all.

The nucleus of this domaine lies in the dowry of Geneviève Quanquin, who married Georges Roumier in 1924. Georges, who was born in 1898, came from Dun-Les-Places, in the Charollais cattle country near Saulieu. When he arrived in Chambolle he took over the Quanquin family vineyards, enlarged the exploitation by taking on a small part of Musigny en metayage and buying additional land in the commune, and set up on his own, independent of his parents-in-law, who also had a négociant business. (This ceased to exist after the Second World War.)

The domaine was further enlarged in the 1950s. More Bonnes Mares, from the Domaine Belorgey, arrived in 1952. Two parcels of Clos Vougeot were added in the same year. And in 1953 the 2.5 ha monopoly of the premier cru Clos de la Bussière in Morey-Saint-Denis was acquired from the Bettenfeld family. In the 1930s this parcel had belonged to the Graillet estate, the residue of which was subsequently to form the base of the Domaine Dujac.

Georges and Geneviève had seven children, five of them boys, and I get the feeling he must have been a bit of a martinet, not willing to let go of the reins. In 1955, Alain, the eldest son, left to take up the position of régisseur for the neighbouring De Vogüé domaine. Another son, Paul, became a courtier. Jean-Marie, the third, had started playing a part in the domaine in 1954 and eventually took over when his father retired in 1961 (Georges died in 1965). In this year, wishing to keep the domaine intact, the brothers formed a limited company for their inheritance, which together with the sisters' holdings, was rented to the domaine. When he retirered from De Vogüé Alain retrieved his share, these vineyards now being exploited separately by the widow of his son Hervé and his other son Laurent.

Today the winemaker at the Domaine Georges Roumier is the 52 year old Christophe, son of Jean-Marie. Christophe was born in 1958, studied oenology at Dijon University, did a stage at the excellent Cairanne co-operative in the Côtes du Rhône in 1980, and joined his father the year after. The wines were fine in Georges and Jean-Marie's time. They have reached even greater heights under the aegis of Christophe.

In more recent times there have been three significant additions to the Roumier portfolio. In 1977, when the Thomas-Bassot domaine was being sold, a substantial slice of Ruchottes-Chambertin came on the market. Two parcels were quickly snapped up by Charles Rousseau and Dr Georges Mugneret. The third was acquired by a businessman and oenophile from Rouen, one Michel Bonnefond. At Rousseau's suggestion Bonnefond entered into a metayage arrangement with the Roumiers, and Christophe now gets two thirds of the yield of this 0.54 ha parcel. You can find under both labels. It is the same wine.

In the following year, Jean-Marie Roumier finally managed to buy the parcel of Musigny, just under one tenth of a hectare (it only produces a cask and a half) which the family had been share-cropping since the 1920s.

Seven years later, in 1984, a French merchant in Lausanne, Jean-Pierre Mathieu, bought a small section (0.27 ha) of Mazoyères-Chambertin. This again is rented en metayage to Christophe Roumier. The financial arrangements are a little different here, and Roumier only gets half of the crop, which, like most Mazoyères, is labelled as Charmes, a name easier to pronounce and sell.

Somewhat earlier than this, back in 1968, Christophe's mother, Odile Ponnelle, bought a parcel of land, en friche, on the Pernand-Vergelesses side of Corton-Charlemagne, half-way down the slope from the Bois de Corton. The land was cleared and replanted, the first vintage being 1974. It is delicious, but there is little of it: three pièces from 0.2 ha.

The heart of the 12 hectare Roumier domaine, as always, lies in Chambolle-Musigny. A number of parcels in the village, totalling almost four hectares, produce a splendid village wine. There are originally six cuvées of this, eventually blended together, and within this wine will be the yield of some old vines of Pinot Beurot, a sort of Pinot Gris, the residue of the old days when a f ew white vines were planted in with the red in nearly every Burgundian climat to add balance and complexity to the wine.

Christophe Roumier is fortunate to own vines in the three most famous premiers crus in the commune: Les Cras, and, since 2005, when it was first seperated from the village wine, Les Combottes; 1.76 ha and 0 27 ha respectively.

On the other side of the village, just under the northern end of Le Musigny, there is 0.4 ha of Amoureuses, Chambolle's finest premier cru. This plot was planted in three stages, in 1954, 1966 and 1971. The vines in the parcel of Musigny itself, lying nearby, date from 1934.

Roumier's most important wine, though, is not this Musigny, or not always, but the Bonnes-Mares. (A pièce and a half is difficult to vinify. And though Christophe considers Musigny in principle the grandest grand cru in the Côte D'Or he finds the results of his Musigny less regular). There are four parcels of Bonnes-Mares, all in the Chambolle part of this grand cru, totalling 1.45 ha.

There are two distinct soil types in Bonnes-Mares. At the Morey end the soil is terres rouges. But, coming down the slope in a diagonal line from above the Clos de Tart and continuing south towards Chambolle the soil changes to terres blanches (if you look carefully you will see a large quantity of small fossilised oysters) and this makes up most of the climat. Three of Christophe Roumier's parcels are terres blanches, one terres rouges. He normally vinifies them separately and blends them together afterwards. What is the difference? The terres rouges gives the power, the backbone, the concentration, says Christophe. Wine from the terres blanches is more spiritual. From here we get the finesse, the intensity, the definition. But a blend is yet greater the sum of the parts.

Producent Domaine G Roumier
Jaar 2001
Appellation Bourgogne
Climat Aloxe Corton
Flesgrootte 0,75 L
Aantal flessen 1
Conditie Nee
Waardering 93