If we told you that Burgundy prices of Grand Cru had escalated dramatically over the last years, you would hardly call that news; after all this has been well-documented in the press. Even when it seemed that we were approaching the upper price limit for certain rare Burgundy, they kicked on further. In January this year, in an article entitled ‘Heady returns for Burgundy investors as index climbs a third’, the Financial Times cited the fact that the Liv-ex Burgundy 150, their index of the most traded wines from the region, climbed 35% in 2018.
As comforting as such facts and headlines might be to those with portfolios of fine Burgundy with some inclination to onward sale, it does mean that the rarest Burgundy are moving out of reach for a large proportion of fine wine drinkers. These prices show no signs of abating either, as they are essentially underwritten by the price of vineyard land in Burgundy. Grand Cru vineyard land has doubled in value in 10 years, with a single hectare (2.2 acres) of a Grand Cru costing as much as 14 million euros.
This year we took the decision to decline an allocation from a fine domaine in Burgundy as we just felt that their prices had moved so rapidly that our wine buying audience were struggling to keep up. Rightly or wrongly, we couldn’t endorse the price demanded, which had shot up 400% in just four vintages.
Understandably our attention has moved to up-and-coming domaines which are yet to receive full recognition, where prices and value remain favourable. It is still possible to find value, relative value. Domaine Rossignol-Trapet’s Chambertin is one such wine…
Neal Martin wrote last January that ‘Domaine Rossignol-Trapet rarely attracts headlines and yet they consistently produce very fine wines that deserve more attention. Maybe that is because brothers Nicolas and David Rossignol are not attention-seekers and prefer to let their wines do the talking. Certainly, the wines are vastly improved since the brothers began in 1990, and the last decade has seen an upswing in quality…’
The domaine boasts some 13 hectares of vineyard, all of which has now been successfully converted to biodynamic viticulture. The majority of their holdings lie in the Côte de Nuits, centred on the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, though ten percent of their vineyards are in Beaune and Savigny-lès-Beaune. The Chambertin, Chapelle and Latricières-Chambertin are certainly the gems in their range, though they also produce an impressive Premier Cru Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes.
Such an extensive vineyard holding was brought about by the joining by marriage of the Rossignols, in Volnay, to the Trapets in Gevrey. These are wines with fine fruit purity and elegance, new oak is always measured, with Grand Cru seeing around 40% - 50% - a figure that is reasonably low by Grand Cru standards across the Côte de Nuits.
Normally, we are unable to offer a Grand Cru on its own, without clients needing to balance, but in this instance, we are pleased to offer the 2017 Chambertin on its own. It goes without saying that volumes are limited, but we have secured a healthy number of cases to offer. As to 2017 as a vintage, the chance to revisit the region has confirmed our initial view that the best 2017s offer the generosity and supple attack of a warmer vintage yet the refinement and freshness of a cooler, classic year. You can look forward to ripe-natured wines with fine poise, and yet wines that are likely to be easier to appreciate in their youth. If anything, our view of the vintage has been enhanced by our later tastings. The Rossignols considered the 2017 vintage to be very fine indeed, commenting that the 2017 growing season was ‘light years easier than the 2016 season’ and that they ‘would describe it as ideal’.
2017 Chambertin, Grand Cru, Domaine Rossignol-Trapet
£995 per 6 bottle case in bond
(This wine is made from two parcels of vines, with on average 40 years of age, though the oldest section was planted in 1919)
(94-96) points, Neal Martin, vinous.com
The 2017 Chambertin Grand Cru matures in 50% new oak. It has an exuberant vivacious bouquet with wild strawberry, Morello cherries and crushed stone, becoming increasingly floral with aeration. There is real intensity and perhaps more brightness compared to its "Latricières" and "Chapelle" siblings. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, quite animated and tensile with a very pure and caressing finish that might be more unstated than its peers, but feels just as persistent and engaging. And the good news? This year there are twenty barrels instead of just five last year. 2022-2040
(93-95) points, Allen Meadows, burghound.com
There is just enough wood to merit mentioning on the attractively layered nose of dark currant, black raspberry and earth where additional notes of spice and floral elements are present. There is fine mid-palate density to the lilting yet tautly muscular and powerful flavors that coat the mouth with sappy dry extract while buffering the even firmer and overtly mineral-driven sneaky long finish. This is austere, compact and very serious and plenty of patience will be necessary.
Comparing price directly to other examples of Chambertin in the 2017 vintage might not be a completely logical exercise as domaines come with differing levels of rarity or market demand, but using Neal Martin’s top five Chambertin from 2017 as a guide highlights the point. All prices shown are approximates in bond.
Producer NM Score Price per 6 in bond
Domaine Armand Rousseau 96-98 £13,750
Domaine Denis Mortet 95-97 £ 4,240
Domaine Trapet 95-97 £ 1,900
Fourrier 94-96 £ 2,950
Perrot-Minot 94-96 £ 5,000
The Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin 2017 certainly ranks favourably...
Please let us know of your interest.