Vinmøte Knut 28.4.16
Nuits Saint Georges Les Cailles 2006, Domaine Robert Chevillon
Rødbet, naturvinaktig, litt kjønnsløs og usedvanlig lite "giving" på nesa. Diskret og enkel med pur og ren rødbærsfrukt. Snev av undermodne bær og viser årgangens litt trange stil. 87-89 poeng
Cote Rotie Les Grandes Places 2010, Domaine Clusel-Roch
Mørk og spontanfermentert stil. Rå "moderne" vinmaking i en sursøt stil med innslag av pepper. Imponerende syrah og en Cote Rotie som får drahjelp av en god årgang. 90-91 poeng
Domaine Clusel-Roch (pronounced Cluzel-Roke) started asDomaine Clusel, founded by the René Clusel, who began bottling his wine in 1969. At the time, René Clusel had but 1 hectare of vineyard along with many hectares of apricot trees.
One of his holdings was a tiny parcel on Les Grandes Places, a lieux-dits in the center of the slope above the hamlet of Verenay in northern Ampuis. The vines had been planted by his father Baptiste Clusel before World War II. During the seventies, the wines of Côte Rôtie did not have the reputation that they have now, but René's wines were always appreciated by connoisseurs.
René's son Gilbert decided to continue in his father's winemaking footsteps and completed his enological studies in 1977. The domaine, however, was too small to provide income for two families. Gilbert consequently chose to rent some vineyards and begin producing his own wine, while at the same time helping his father both in the vineyards and in the chai.
Still the vineyard surface was miniscule. At only about .25 hectares, the first vintage in 1980 produced only 1,000 bottles! Little by little, Gilbert rented more land and began to give value to the fifty-year-old vines that had been abandoned while at the same time planting new vines. Finally, in 1986, his holdings reached 2 1/2 hectares, although not all of those vines were yet in production.
Clusel-Roch vines on the Cotie Rotie slope of the Rhône River
The Marriage of Clusel & Roch
When René Clusel retired in 1987, his vines were taken over by Gilbert. For the first time, the parcel inLes Grandes Places was bottled separately. Two years later Domaine Clusel became Domaine Clusel-Roch, incorporating the name of both partners, Gilbert Clusel and his wife Brigitte Roch. This also gave the domaine an identity of its own.
Today the property remains tiny: Just 3.5 hectares in Côte Rôtie and 1/2 hectare in Condrieu. The chai, built in 1992 in Verenay, is attached to their house and just next to the house of René Clusel. Being on the side of the sloped hill of Côte Rôtie allows Gilbert and Brigitte to take advantage of gravity and naturally treat their fruit gently by avoiding the usage of pumps at vinification time.
Map showing the location of Clusel-Roch's Côte Rôtie parcels
After ten years of experimenting with their various parcels, the domaine officially converted to organic farming in 2002. The vines themselves are planted on terrasses along Côte Rôtie. Two pieces of wood are tied above the vine helping them to resist the often violent winds.
The vines are cultivated while respecting the land. The work is for the most part manual — no chemical fertilizers are used. Instead the soil is tilled by hand with picks, hoes and hand-plows. Medicinal herbs are used to prevent maladies.
Côte Brun Soils
The Côte Rôtie vines are located in the northern part of the appellation facing southeast over the Rhône River. This area is known as the Côte Brun, as opposed to the south called theCôte Blonde. The soil includes decomposed schist, also known as l'Arzel, containing black and white mica. The black mica has faded to dark brown, which in turn has given it the Côte Brune name.
This schist descends about half a metre. The roots of the vines, however, actually descend several metres deeper. At this depth, the vines pick up certain nutrients that add to the Côte Rôtie taste.
About a third of the Clusel-Roch vineyards have vines more than thirty years old. The rest are of vines less than twenty years old.
To best express the qualities of the vineyard, the domaine only replants grapes from their own selection ofSerines (the traditional Syrah plant of Ampuis). For the plantings after 1990, the grapes come from their own nursery on their property and are grafted from their vines in Les Grandes Places. According to Gilbert, these vines are less productive and give more complex aromas than the modern selections. Roughly 4% percent Viognier vines are interspersed among the Syrah.
Harvest & Production
During September, the maturity is analyzed both scientifically and by tasting the actual grapes. The harvest is manual, in small cases with a capacity of 25 kg. An initial selection is performed in the vineyard. When the grapes arrive in the chai, the leaves are removed and partially destemmed. The yield is relatively low — about 35 hl / ha or about half a bottle per vine.
The press is an old vertical press, which is very gentle and helps give the wine additional finesse. The vinification is classic, with punch downs, pump overs and temperature control. This fermentation normally lasts two to three weeks, depending upon the vintage.
The wine is then placed in barrels, with the press juice kept separate until the malolactic fermentation. The barrels have their origin in Burgundy, at Maison Sirugue in Nuit-St.George with origins in Allier, Nièvre and Bourgogne. About 20% new oak is used each year, the rest in second-, third- and fourth-use oak. The barrels are lightly toasted after three years of air drying. The point is not for the oak to dominate the wine but to marry harmoniously with the final product.
Two thirds of the Condrieu is fermented in barrel, while the rest is raised in stainless steel. Like with the Côte Rôtie, no yeasts are added to the must. Instead, only indiginous yeasts are used which further allow the vineyard to express itself.
The élevage lasts two years for the Côte Rôtie, and one year for the Condrieu. The Côte Rôtie is racked four or five times during this time. These racking help to clarify the wine so that it can be bottled without fining or filtration.
Annual production at Domaine Clusel-Roch is about 15,000 bottles a year.