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FICOFI: Vertical of Domaine Prieuré Roch Le Clos Des Corvées 1999-2010

March 30, 2016

Compared with many other producers in Burgundy, Domaine Prieuré Roch is a relatively young start-up that came about in 1988, started by Henry-Frédéric Roch, nephew of Lalou Bize-Leroy and himself a co-director of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Through a complicated process of selling vines in Échezeaux and Grands-Échezeaux in order to finance purchases of other plots (while re-leasing the vines they had sold), Domaine Prieuré Roch began at first in Vosne-Romanée, gradually increasing in size to 14 hectares, encompassing plots in Chambertin-Clos de Beze, Clos Vougeot, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Les Suchots 1er in Vosne-Romanée and, now, Henry is assisted by his co-owner and winemaker Yannick Champ.

Prieure Rock Le Clos des Corvees

Photo by FICOFI

Domaine Prieuré Roch is certified biodynamic. While the domaine isn’t entirely hardcore about this, it adopts a minimalist approach to winemaking, utilising natural yeast, minimal temperature control, avoidance of pumping and, naturally, neither filtration nor fining. Interestingly, Yannick prefers to ferment the grapes (which are harvested in full ripeness as far as possible) together with stems, followed by maceration. The wines are aged mostly in 100% new oak, the total élevage lasting about 18 months. I certainly won’t pretend to understand the whole process of winemaking, but when one speaks with Yannick, one senses his total commitment and passion in everything he does and this certainly translates into wines that are, at once, highly individualistic.

Amongst the domaine’s holdings since 1995 is a 5.2 ha monopole named “Le Clos des Corvées”, the only premiere cru in this tiny commune of Premeaux that is actually, strictly speaking, outside of Nuits-Saint-Georges, being located just beyond its southern boundary. However, as Premeaux per se is not recognised as an appellation d’origine contrôlee, it rides piggyback on Nuits-Saint-Georges, not a bad thing at all. I must admit not having encountered this cuvee before, perhaps because only some 2000-8000 bottles are produced annually, until Yannick conducted a masterclass on this wine at the Tower Club, Singapore, on 15 March 2016 organised by FICOFI. These wines bear the hallmarks of Domaine Prieuré Roch, displaying lightness in color but instilled with generous aromas on the nose, coupled with a unique power and robustness in its youth, yet sensuous and feminine when mature.

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Yannick silhouetted against the afternoon light

2010 Domaine Prieuré Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges “Le Clos des Corvées” 1er. Highly aromatic, of cherries and darker tones. Excellent purity of fruit on the palate, dominated by saline minerals, displaying well-controlled tannins and great acidity. Closed up after some time. Carries great promise and potential.

2009 Domaine Prieuré Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges “Le Clos des Corvées” 1er. Distinctly feminine aromas, more of rose petals and camphor. Darker toned on the palate, marked by a certain intensity and richness with dry textures though somewhat tough and slightly awkward now, shutting down after some time.

2008 Domaine Prieuré Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges “Le Clos des Corvées” 1er. Very lovely aromas with a lifted medicinal note, driven by ripe berries with bright characters, superb in concentration and intensity, supported by abundant saline minerals, displaying excellent linearity and definition right down to its lasting finish. Superb.

2007 Domaine Prieuré Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges “Le Clos des Corvées” 1er . Harmonious notes of camphor, red fruits and tangerines with secondary nuances of cinnamon. Expansive and rounded, very open and sensuous with a beautiful feminine glow that was absolutely lovely. Most captivating.

2004 Domaine Prieuré Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges “Le Clos des Corvées” 1er. Lifted tones of floral fragrance recalling roses and tangerines. Fully evolved on the palate where it is highly harmonious and homogenous, rounded with excellent purity and fresh acidity. Excellent.

1999 Domaine Prieuré Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges “Le Clos des Corvées” 1er. Not showing well, unfortunately. Dusty red. Gentle aromas of red and dark roses, open on the palate but backward, too placid in demeanour, not helped by dusty textures that clouded definition, missing in fruit character and rather short.

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