2013 Chapelle Chambertin Claude Dugat

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Average critic rating : 94.0 points



There is 1¾ barrels of the 2013 Chapelle-Chambertin this year. Like the Charmes-Chambertin '13, there is a marine influence on the nose that lends this so much character and intrigue. While it was sloshing around in my mouth, my mind raced ahead wondering what will it be like in bottle? The palate is very well balanced, nicely poised, with strawberry, red cherries and candied orange peel. This has an effervescent quality, real energy towards the finish. This is an "athletic" Chapelle-Chambertin that should enchant once in bottle.||I have been visiting this "cult" domaine for several years, always a memorable rendezvous in their former 13th-century tithe barn. This year was perhaps the most interesting, however. Instead of Claude showing me through the wines, it was his son Bertrand. He said that his father was easing back his involvement in the domaine, which means Bertrand has large shoes to fill. I detected a slight nervousness and trepidation, a sense of self-questioning, possibly a tinge of disquietude. Those are good signs, not bad. It is a positive sign to see someone contemplating a legacy, what kind of future might be their own. Bertrand clearly does not want to change too much at the domaine, yet knows that he has to put his own imprint on the wines. He remarked that they had not found it easy to cool the fruit when it arrived at reception, that the temperature of the must "shot right back up," once the alcoholic fermentation started, and that the natural yeasts were very active in 2013. Bertrand also mentioned that 2013 was the first year that they had not commenced the harvest with the Grand Crus, and, like everyone else, they had to chaptalize just a little. No, the main question was whether there is too much new oak being used chez Dugat? It is a question that I have heard a number of Burgundy-lovers express, for clearly while the family oversees prized parcels of vine and the winemaking is meticulous, several I know eschew their wines because they find the new oak too dominant. Tasting through the 2013s, I did feel that the use of the François Frères barrels was conspicuous on the village crus and the perhaps also the Lavaux Saint Jacques. While I would not avoid new oak entirely, I would have modified it commensurate with the growing season. I feel that less new wood would have allowed the terroir to be articulated. And it seemed that Bertrand felt likewise. In some ways, this self-questioning reminded me of when Sébastien Cathiard took over from his father, Sylvain. I remember him asking the same question, myself offering the same answers. It will be interesting to see how the new chapter unfolds at Claude Dugat. Bertrand does not have too much to worry about. Being cautious and self-critical are facets of the best vignerons. eRobertParker.com.December, 2014


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