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Domaine Lucien Boillot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Corbeaux 2016


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Domaine Lucien Boillot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Corbeaux 2016 displays admirable fineness of tannin along with ripe cassis and dark cherry fruit. Notes of bitter chocolate and herbal elements add to the finish. The structure supports but never dominates this substantial and balanced wine. The amount of new oak is limited at this estate which leaves plenty of ripe fruit flavours.

  • Country: France
  • Region: Burgundy
  • Subregion: Côte De Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Colour: Red
  • Grape Variety: Pinot Noir
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Bottle Size: 75cl
  • Closure: Natural cork
  • Style: Well built but approachable
  • Drink With: Fine roast beef.

Literally translated as "the blackbirds", the vineyard of Les Corbeaux lies alongside Mazis-Chambertin and produces wines that are full, generous and very stylish. If you have ever read "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe, this premier cru Gevrey-Chambertin broods with the same dark masculinity and structure - all with an entrancing and poetic rhythm.

Les Corbeaux is a premier cru climat within the Gevrey-Chambertin appellation just south of Dijon. The vineyard is at the very northern end of the Gevrey-Chambertin grand cru hill, next to Mazis-Chambertin. The wines made here are medium bodied with red fruit characters and soft tannins, although they can't quite match the concentration of the Gevrey-Chambertin grand cru wines.

The vineyard sits just south of the village of Gevrey-Chambertin itself, at the mouth of the Combe de Lavaux, a small valley that cuts into the Côte D'Or escarpment. This valley has a significant effect on the terroir in many of the central climats of Gevrey-Chambertin, including Les Corbeaux and its surrounding premier cru climats Fonteny and Issarts.

This is reflected in the mesoclimate of Les Corbeaux, particularly in relation to the grand cru climats. Here, a westerly wind that is funnelled through the Combe brings cooling influences to the vineyards, and the grapes have less time to develop phenols and sugars. This leads ultimately to a lighter style of wine than comes from the more sheltered grand cru vineyards to the south.

Les Corbeaux has a similar soil makeup to Mazis-Chambertin, with a high proportion of limestone and clay. This has proved very useful viticulturally, as it stores water as well as draining excess, forcing vines to work hard for hydration. Vigour and yield is reduced as a result, leading to the production of high-quality grapes.

About the grower

Pierre Boillot is a rare master of both the Côtes de Beaune and the Côtes de Nuits - not only does he have the vineyards but also the savoir-faire and the skill. Pierre inherited this domaine from his father Lucien, whose name it still carries. Pierre worked together with his brother Louis for years, but in 2003 the estate was split to give each son a share of the vineyards when Louis was married. Pierre’s talent has subsequently become much more evident as he has had full control over the domaine, and in addition to retaining the original cellars in Gevrey-Chambertin, Pierre has instituted a rigorous revitalising of the soils and the vines in all of his vineyards.

Pierre inherited very old vines from his father in the Côtes de Nuits, and from his great-grandfather Henri Boillot, who was originally from Volnay, in the Côtes de Beaune. Many of his vineyards are under-appreciated treasures: Volnay Les Angles, originally classified as one of the top premier cru sites in Volnay in the 19th century; Pommard Croix Noires right below Rugiens, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cherbaudes, right next to Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru; and Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corbeaux right next to Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru. Every wine is a classic representation of its appellation, from Volnay and Pommard to Gevrey and Nuits-Saint-Georges. Pierre’s work in the cellars is geared towards transparent, terroir-driven wines of purity and finesse. However, he has nothing against a degree of rich, plump, lusciousness in his red wines.