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Average critic rating : 89.0 points



The 2012 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru (Domaine du Clos Frantin) has a fragrant bouquet with impressive purity and very well-integrated oak – feminine and very Vosne in style. The palate is smooth and silky on the entry, velvety in texture with an almost obscenely succulent finish. It is seductive, although it needs to show a little more tension and grip for it not to pall in quantity. Hopefully that will develop during its maturation. ||There are a cluster of winemakers and negociants that huddle together on the northern section of the Beaune’s ringroad. I wonder whether there are times when Philippe Pacalet, David Croix and Thibaut Marion find themselves bumping into each other on a street corner? And perhaps Alberic Bichot too? The vast winery and surrounding gardens of Maison Albert Bichot dominate the locale, and yet this Burgundy stalwart has remained family-owned since 1831. As I have reported in the August issue, it might be true that Albert Bichot’s wines are under-valued by Burgundy connoisseurs that mistakenly rank historical negociants below that of small independent growers tending their own vines. On the contrary, many of those merchants such as Louis Jadot, Joseph Drouhin and Faiveley, have pulled their socks up in recent years. They are no longer content to rest upon their laurels, relying on size instead of quality to generate sales. The tasting I attended at Vinexpo that focused on their own, independent domaines such as Domaine du Clos Frantin, Domaine du Pavillon and Domaine Long-Depaquit, served as a timely reminder that Albert Bichot’s more recent releases can offer as much complexity and soul as cultish vignerons up and down the Cote d’Or. So in broaching the 2012s, it was time to cast my net wider to conduct a more comprehensive tasting with Alberic and long-serving chief winemaker, Alain Serveau. Both gentlemen have done a great deal to revive the Bichot name and should be applauded for doing so. Managing a large enterprise with such a plethora of contracted growers cannot be easy, especially given the dramatic impact of successive small harvests. If am to be honest, one could see that some of the wines at the entry level and at village cru were impacted by the challenging growing season in terms of their simplicity, denied the complexity that a more benevolent season might have bestowed. My advice in 2012 is to pick and choose wisely. While some crus seemed discombobulated by the 2012 at least at this early stage, others such as the Pommard-Chaponnieres, Vosne-Malconsorts and Latricieres-Chambertin are all beautifully crafted Pinot Noirs that I suspect will constitute great value once they see the light of day., 2013

Domaine du Clos Frantin (Albert Bichot): The Importance

Domaine du Clos Frantin is one of several Burgundy estates managed by the Bichot family, who first entered the wine industry as brokers in 1831. Albéric Bichot heads the domaine today, producing wines across the Côte de Nuits.


Robert Parker has applauded the estate for some of its “unbelievable vineyards” and describes the 1985 Vosne Romanée Les Malconsorts as “profound, prodigious, complex, and ethereal - pure magic.” The estate’s wines have “made huge strides in the last few years” according to Burghound.  This has lead Neal Martin to conclude that: “Bichot’s more recent releases can offer as much complexity and soul as cultish vignerons up and down the Côte d’Or.” These successes culminated with the estate being named White Winemaker of the Year at the 2011 International Wine Challenge.


Over the last decade Clos Frantin has won several prestigious awards making it one of the most decorated producers in the appellation. At the 2004 International Wine Challenge three of its wines won gold and the estate was named Red Winemaker of the Year. The 2002 Echezeaux Grand Cru was also awarded the International Pinot Noir Trophy by Decanter World Wine Awards that same year.


Domaine du Clos Frantin (Albert Bichot): The Insight

Some of the domaine’s most exceptional wines are produced from the limestone terroirs of Vosne-Romanée. Clos Frantin describes its 1er Cru Les Malconsorts as the “estate jewel” and the Richebourg Grand Cru is one of the more sought after wines in the appellation due to its small production levels. Neal Martin noted the 2011 vintage has a particularly “extravagant and multilayered bouquet” that proves Bichot to be one of Burgundy’s “top-flight producers.”


The entirety of Domaine du Clos Frantin’s estate expands across 13 hectares, including 20 acres of Premier and Grand Cru plots in Vougeot, Nuits Saint Georges, Gevrey Chambertin, Flagey-Echezeaux, and Vosne Romanée.


Domaine du Clos Frantin (Albert Bichot): The Background

The historic property, once owned by the Maréchal de Camp to the Emperor Napoleon, was purchased by Albert Bichot in 1967 from Maison Grivelet; the latter struggling with financial difficulties at the time. In 1996 Albéric Bichot, Albert’s son, became head of the domaine.


The winery follows a Guyot method of pruning; vinification takes place in Nuits Saint Georges in an historic building dating back to the Middle Ages. Humidity levels are meticulously controlled in the domaine’s vaulted cellar to promote ideal ageing conditions. Clos Frantin prides itself in respecting the particularities of the terroirs in each of its vineyards by treating all soils organically.

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