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One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Domaine Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey-Chambertin 1st Cru “ClosPrieur”

France (Burgundy)

pinot noir


The centrepiece is “Pork and Apple Pie with Cheddar-Sage Crust” (compliments of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook), with a side glass of green grapes infused with a combination of white wine, birch sap wine and vodka. It calls for the addition of a subtle, yet complex red, a Burgundy to be sure.

There is an elegance to a good Burgundy, a noble intrigue. If you were to take the famous wineman Harry Waugh at his word: “The first duty of wine is to be red…the second is to be a Burgundy.” Ummm…

Domaine Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey-Chambertin 1st Cru “Clos Prieur” 2002

A wine to explore, first with aromas of the forest floor, laced with mysteries of black cherry. Medium body as to be expected, with a very pleasant tannic structure, a subtle sting of well-seasoned dark fruit and spice. A wine to let linger on the palate, and when finally it is released there is left a rich and memorable aftertaste. Very well done.  $$

I confess I am not versed in the intricacies of Burgundy wine culture. I do know that the commune Gevrey-Chambertin is the largest in Côte de Nuits, and here is to be found some 110 producers. Domaine Rossignol-Trapet, together with family-related Domaine Trapet, are two of the better known. The pair were once one, the property having been split in by two sisters in 1990. Interestingly, over time, both have moved to biodynamic production.

Domaine Rossignol-Trapet is now the work of sons Nicholas and David Rossignol. Wine critics generally agree that the improvements to the domaine that the brothers have undertaken in the past decade have led to stronger, more memorable wines. There are 14 hectares under vine, including three grand crus and six premier crus, of which our Clos Prieur is one.

The domaine’s holdings in the two hectares of Clos Prieur (once a walled vineyard belonging to the Abbey de Bèze) amount to just .25 of a hectare. The gentle slopes are composed of clay and limestone, with vines now 25 years in age. It is a prime, much-valued spot just below the grand cru Mazis Chambertin. The soil tends to be warmer here than in some of the other premier cru plots, with grapes that ripen earlier and produce wines with more immediate appeal.

Throughout the domaine the grapes are hand harvested by experienced pickers who return year after year. The grapes go through a second selection at the sorting table. The amount of de-stemming ranges from 60-100%, depending on the vintage. There’s a pre-fermentation maceration of several days, the exact length again a judgement call. Eventually the wine is moved to French oak barrels where vinification lasts a further 14-18 months. Daily monitoring is the norm. Bottling takes place without fining or filtration, followed by further maturation in the cellar.

And from their cellar to my glass several more years pass. Though not as long as the time between the formation of this ice in Greenland and its arrival a couple of days ago (looking rather cat-like) just off our shores in Newfoundland.


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