Domaine Jerome Chezeaux

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We were introduced to Jérome Chézeaux in the mid-1990s by Régis Forey, whose father, Jean, was amongst our very first suppliers of wine from the Cote de Nuits back in 1980. We had been looking to supplement the wines that Régis was providing to us from his various holdings in Vosne Romanée and Nuits Saint Georges. He was generous enough to refer us to this small gem of domaine which, to our surprise, encompassed holdings in some of the most prestigious vineyard sites in this southern tier of the Cote de Nuits. We started with the 1994 vintage and haven’t missed a beat since.

The Chezeaux domaine was built on the foundations of an estate owned since 1930 by Julien Missery. Bernard Chezeaux acceded to the ownership of the domaine in 1971 selling most of the wines produced there to negociants during his reign. On his untimely death in 1993, his son, Jérome, took over the direction of the domaine and it was at this moment that we made Jérome’s acquaintance. It was a fortuitous encounter as our collaboration has meshed perfectly with Jérome’s intention to increase the amount of wine bottled at the estate.

The estate, which is based in Prémeaux-Prissey just south of Nuits Saint Georges, owns approximately 12 hectares of vineyards, some of which were brought into play from the family holdings of Jérome’s wife, Pierrette. The vineyards, impeccably tended according to the principles of “lutte raisonnée”, are scattered throughout the villages of Prémeaux, Nuits Saint Georges, Vougeot and Vosne Romanée and include, as mentioned above, a series of the most elite lieu-dits in the zone.

Jérome Chézeaux strictly follows the most traditional of methods in the cellar being firmly “non-interventionist”. The purity of his wines is revelatory; there is an understated majesty to every offering in the portfolio. After a manual harvest, the grapes undergo a cold maceration of 3 to 4 days and the entire cuvaison extends for approximately three weeks. During that time remontage and pigeage are practiced; the extent to which both techniques are used depends on the structure of the vintage. Indigenous yeasts are used exclusively and malolactic fermentation occurs in small oak barrels during the extended elevage. Each year between a quarter and one-third of the barrels are replaced which means that the wines are exposed at most to 30% new oak. The wines are bottled without filtration between 18 to 24 months after harvest.

Bourgogne Aligote: Made from a .8-hectare parcel in Premeaux-Prissey, the Aligoté is always an impressive regional-level wine.  It typically carries a good underlying acidity that translates toward citrus and flint, with good length and density.  The wine finishes quite dry with a chalky tannic character.
Bourgogne Blanc 2015: This is a rare Bourgogne Blanc that is still made principally from Pinot Blanc from a small .36-hectare parcel of old vines. The vineyard is composed of about 80% Pinot Blanc and 20% Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested and fermented together and aged half in barrel and half in stainless steel for about nine months before being bottled. The wine is quite fresh, with a bright floral nose. It is round on the palate, but the fruit feels cool and vibrant, with underlying earthy notes of dried flowers.
chezeaux_bourgogne_pinot_noir_2005 Bourgogne Rouge: The vineyards for the simple Bourgogne are spread over several sectors of Nuits and Prémeaux, a large number of small sites that cover 2.8 hectares. As an “introductory” wine to the large array of appellations produced at this domaine, we could not ask for a finer example to set the stage for the grandeur to follow. This wine consistently reflects, in simple form, the classic characteristics of the wines from the area around Nuits Saint Georges: red and black fruits, bright but not too dense color, exquisite balance with lively acidity, somewhat austere at the outset but elegant and savory. We import 1500 bottles per year for the US market.
chezeaux_nuit_saint_greorge_2005 Nuits Saint Georges: The Chezeaux family owns almost four hectares of vineyards within the village appellation of Nuits Saint Georges. The vineyards are found within a number of lieu-dits but the ultimate cuvée that is bottled is principally from the Charbonniere site supplemented by Les Chaliots and Aux Saint Julien. The vines are very old, some being planted over eighty years ago (written as of early 2012). The soil is a mix of silts of clay, reddish-brown in color, overlain with limestone pebbles.
Nuits-Saint-Georges “Les Charbonnieres-Vieilles Vignes” 2014: In the past, “Les Charbonnieres” was blended with the village wine until Jérôme decided to do a separate bottling in 2011. The .67-hectare parcel is ideally located in Prémeaux just below the Premier Cru “Aux Corvées”.  The vines are over 80 years old and show the power and concentration that marks this fabled southern sector of the appellation.  This is a big step up from the village Nuits: the fruit has a darker tonality, with more hints of iron and a deeper mineral core. The tannins are more present in this classic Nuits, but also more sweet and fine.
chezeaux_vr_2005 Vosne Romanée: Jèrôme works three parcels (“Bossières,” “Mezière” and “Aux Réas”) totaling a little more than half a hectare to make this village wine. At first whiff, it is clear that one has left the Nuits appellation.  The fruit here is dark, with regal notes of truffle and lavender.  The texture is softer and more fruit-forward than his wines from Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the tannins are a bit finer and more forgiving, a complex village level wine that punches way above its weight.
chezeaux_nsg_boudots_2005 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Aux Boudots: This fabled vineyard is situated at the northernmost juncture of Nuits Saint Georges as it touches Vosne Romanée. The Chezeaux parcel is .34 hectares and is on an 18 degree east-facing slope at about 270 meters altitude. Because of its proximity to Vosne, this is the Nuits cuvée that tends to be the most tender, precocious and elegant of the quartet of 1er Crus within this domaine. There is only a barrel of this wine allocated to us for the US market.
chezeaux_nsg_rue_de_chaux_2005 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Rue de Chaux: This vineyard of .29 hectares is located just south of the village center of Nuits Saint Georges on a steep slope covered with a thin layer of clay. It is a fleshier and more rugged wine than the Boudots with a more significant capacity to age. We receive a bit more than a barrel of this wine per year for the US market.
chezeaux_nsg_pruliers_2005 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers: Jérome Chézeaux owns a petit parcel of Pruliers (about one-tenth of an hectare) that is planted to very old vines on dark brown, red-inflected soil in the zone between Nuit Saint Georges and Prémeaux. This wine is consistently one of the top performers in the Chezeaux cellar and we consider ourselves fortunate to have access to a barrel each year (300 bottles).

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains: The Vaucrains lieu-dit is recognized as one of the finest of the entire range of 1er Crus in this appellation. The Chezeaux domaine owns a bit more than a quarter-hectare in this elite site which is composed of a formidable mix of heavy clay and limestone. The vines rest on a 15 degree-angled site with an east-northeast exposure. We expect exceptional results from this vineyard as the vines, about twenty years of age as of this writing (2012), continue to mature.

chezeau_vr_les_chaumes_2005 Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Chaumes: This wine is consistently one of our favorites from the domaine. Chezeaux owns about four-tenths of an hectare in Chaumes which is in the southern part of the village of Vosne and is superbly situated just beneath La Tache and Aux Malconsorts on a vein of limestone and marl. We have the privilege of having access to two barrels of this wine (600 bottles) annually.
chezeaux_vr_les_suchots_2005 Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots: Perhaps the greatest wine to issue from this estate, the Suchots sits on deep and heavy clay at 270 meters altitude with an east-southeast exposure. Chezeaux owns a bit more than one-third of a hectare in this elite lieu-dit which sits opposite Richebourg and Romanée Saint Vivant. We purchase a bit more than one barrel per annum and put a small amount of this very great wine in magnum to honor its exceptional quality.
chezeaux_clos_vougeot_2005 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: From a tiny parcel of 17.5 ares which is situated in the prime part of this grand cru immediately above and next to the castle, Chezeaux produces a masterpiece that is a classic rendition of the best that this appellation can offer. Meaty, gamy, full of wild berry notes and brawny tannins, Chezeaux’s version is masculine, at times rustic and impressively age-worthy. We import one barrel (300 bottles) each vintage.

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