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By Alexandria Rae Cubbage, 23 July 2020
Domaine Denis Bachelet is a family estate that’s tiny in size but big in quality. Denis Bachelet took over the domaine in 1983, and he manages the 4 hectares with his wife Marie-Jo. Since 2007, his son Nicolas and later on (2017) his partner, Doriane have been working at the domaine too. Humble, quiet and respected family, they work hard in their vineyards to produce the best grapes possible every vintage. Their aim is to produce delicate and precise wines.
For the viticulture, they practice lutte raisonnée and tend the vines according to the cycles of the moon. Denis believes that good wine is made first in the vineyard.
After careful selection of the grapes during the harvest, they are put onto a vibrating sorting table for additional sorting in the cellar. Then, they are 100% de-stemmed prior to being crushed. The grapes undergo cool maceration for approximately one week prior to fermentation which takes place with indigenous yeast.
For the ageing, Denis is mindful about using new oak simply to refine the harsh tannins sometimes found in Gevrey-Chambertin rather than to have the oak speak out or add flavours to the wine. The Gevrey-Chambertin sees approximately one third new oak and the premiers crus and grands crus receive 50% new oak. The ageing is for approximately 16-18 months depending on the cuvée and vintage.
Denis Bachelet is a benchmark producer for Charmes-Chambertin. He owns just 0.43 hectares of this grand cru vineyard, but it’s the best part right between the villages of Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey-St.-Denis. It’s split into two plots located in the center of ‘Aux Charmes’. The vines in this vineyard were planted between 1907 and 1917, so they are very old vines. And the vineyard contains chalky, clay soil.
The wines of Domaine Denis Bachelet are special because they are small production; they don’t make many wines and only one grand cru, so their attention is focused. In addition, the one grand cru they make is Charmes-Chambertin, and the portion of that grand cru vineyard that they own is the very best. And, Denis and Nicolas focus on making good wine in the vineyard first with oak being used thoughtfully just to refine the tannins.