Tag Archives: Gevrey Chambertin


by Ian Blackshaw

The announcement on 24 August that a Chinese gambling tycoon from Macao has bought the twelfth century Chateau of Gevrey-Chambertin and its surrounding five acres of vineyards (the purchase was actually completed in May) has sent shock waves throughout the centuries old closely-knit family-controlled Burgundy wine producing community. Quelle horreur!

To add insult to their injury and to secure his purchase, he outbid the locals by offering €8 million, twice the locally estimated value of this prestigious wine property.

Although this purchase represents a small part of the 1,000 acres of vineyards that enjoy the right to use the protected name (DOC) of Gevrey-Chambertin, the Chateau of Gevrey-Chambertin vineyards, which produce some 12,000 bottles per annum, do include some plots producing Grand Cru and Premier Cru wine, bottles of which sell for €100 or more.
The local vignerons have described the deal as an attack on their heritage. Their spokesman has likened the transaction to a purchase by the French of part of the Great Wall of China! Posing the question rhetorical question: what would the Chinese think of that?

I suppose that they fear that other purchases by the Chinese, who are into French red wine, especially bordelais chateau produced and bottled wine (for example, the excellent wine from the Chateau of Richelieu in the Fronsac wine region, which I have previously written about!) are bound to follow, despite the fact that the Chinese economy is reputedly shrinking somewhat!

The deal has certainly put the Gallic nose out of joint, although it is not expected that any harm will be done to the quality of Gevrey-Chambertin as a result of this Chinese investment. Perhaps the French should get real and realise that we are living in a global economy.

I wonder what my late mother-in-law, who loved France, French food and wine, especially Geverey-Chambertin, which was her favourite tipple and, incidentally, was also that of the Emperor Napoleon, would have thought of this development!

Burgundy Wine: an expensive taste

by Ian Blackshaw

Those of you who are avid and attentive readers of my wine articles will have noticed that I have not written very much about the wines of the Burgundy region. That is not because I do not like or appreciate these wines, which are some of the finest in France, but because I prefer the more robust Bordelais wines.

Wines of Burgundy ~ IGN Wine Region Map (Carte Touristique)

There is also another reason and that is cost of them. The finest Burgundies do not come cheap, but, from time to time, I treat myself to some of them.
Of the reds, I particularly like Gevrey-Chambertin, which, incidentally, was my late mother-in-law’s favourite tipple, who was a regular visitor to France in her nineties. When she died, it was pleasing to find some good examples of this fine wine, which she had not got round to drinking!

Gevrey-Chambertin is in the northern part of the Cote d’Or wine region of Burgundy, whose south-facing vineyards stretch from Macon in the south to Dijon in the north, the birthplace of the very popular Kir, a cocktail of a lesser white Burgundy wine and a measure of crème de cassis (a locally produced blackcurrant liqueur), and named after Felix Kir, a former Mayor of Dijon who lived from1876-1968. Obviously wine was good for him!

Michelin Green Guide Burgundy Jura, 6th Edition (Michelin Green Guides)

And, talking of Macon, between 20 and 22 April (this coming weekend in fact), the famous Macon International Wine Fair is due to take place, during which you can sample a whole range of Burgundy wines, for an entrance fee of €5. The organisers, however, warn you not to drink too much, purely on health grounds, but, of course, to buy as much as you want!

Gevrey-Chambertin is made from the Pinot Noir grape, which gives the wine its distinctive raspberry after taste. As I mentioned, the wine does not come cheap and the 2009 is drinking well at the moment, although earlier vintages, such as 2006, are very good wines, but more expensive. For example, the 13.5% 2006 Premier Crus Lavaux St Jacques from Domaine Maume, with its kirsch-scented fruit. This is a wine that needs to be decanted to enjoy it fully, especially as it retails at €54 a bottle! A pleasure to drink by itself, the wine also goes down particularly well with guinea-fowl.

Further south on the Cote d’Or you will find some fine white burgundies, such as Mersault and Montrachet. In fact, the Puligny-Montrachet is my favourite, described by Hugh Johnson, dubbed ‘the world’s most popular wine writer’, as “potentially the greatest white Burgundy!” This is an elegant minerally and luscious wine and may be drunk as an aperitif or with food, especially with roast veal and chicken. It also goes down well with wild salmon. According to the Wine Society, the 12.5% 2007 Puligny-Montrachet Premier Crus Folatieres, produced by the Chateau de Puligny, is ‘scintillating’ and so also, it may be added, is the price at €70 a bottle!

So, as I said, the Burgundy region is not to be overlooked when choosing and enjoying French wine as it produces some very fine wines indeed; and I only wish that I could afford to drink more of them!