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Ric visits Domaine Prieure-Roch

November 21, 2017

Compared with many other domaines in Burgundy, Domaine Prieure-Roch must surely be one of the youngest, having been established in 1988. To me, this estate appears to run against the grain as well with an almost rebellious streak, practising biodynamic management, vinifying with stems, having different ageing periods for different wines, totally unfiltered and unfined, of course, and managing only a select few vineyards, all purely reds. DSC_1065Locating this domaine within Nuits-Saint-Georges is also no easy matter, the nondescript building being totally unmarked along the main road. When we arrived on the morning of 20 November 2017, its young co-owner and winemaker M. Yannick Champ was ready to welcome us. Even though we’d meet about twice a year at FICOFI events, it was really good to see him once again on his home turf. Recalling that Yannick had previously welcomed us with freshly stained hands after a very early morning harvest two years ago, he appeared far more relaxed this time, but it is clear he’d been up much earlier in the morning to prepare for our visit, evidenced by the fact that the wines we were about to taste had been carefully aired in advance. But first was the obligatory trip down the steep stairwell into its cellars, where the smaller old cellar had been present since 1862 whilst a brand-new facility had just been carved recently adjacent to it, capable of housing up to three recent harvests. It was clear that Domaine Prieure-Roch runs on a lean management with Yannick himself being very hands-on in the winemaking. When we returned to its main hall, which resembled a living room-cum-workshop-cum-kitchen, Yannick proceed to pour us bottle after bottle of his wines. What struck me most was that his drive, passion and individuality can be felt in each of his wines, made with a personal vision while always abiding by his own principles and that of Mother nature. The terroir comes through very well but they all need plenty of time to express themselves properly. These aren’t made to please the palate. They are made to pay respect and thanks for what nature has endowed us. Many thanks, Yannick, for the wonderful friendship and thanks too to FICOFI.

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2015 Domaine Prieure-Roch Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Lovely colour, exuding complex aromas of red currants and dark plums with a deep tinge of licorice. Open and seamless with lovely acidity and lift, displaying great freshness, linearity, length and tension across the palate. Possibly the best example of this much maligned plot I’ve ever had.

2015 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Deep colour. Deep as well in aromas of dark cherries, earth and ripe wild berries with tones of red plums and orangey tangerines, medium-bodied, showing good lift, tone and tension. Very well balanced and integrated but this wine is all about its wonderful bouquet, deeply alluring and seductive.

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2010 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Evolved in colour with a beautiful bouquet that is most expressive, yielding red plums with some tobacco leaves, open and fleshy with just the right degree of supportive acidity. Highly elegant and sophisticated.

2014 Domaine Prieure-Roch Nuits-Saint-Georges Le Clos des Corvees 1er monopole. Slightly darker tint than the 2015, showing delicious plums and currants with excellent lift, rather minerally in concentration with good tension from the higher acidity though the fruit itself is rather backward, finishing on a stern note. Again, it’s the nose that is quite special.

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2014 Domaine Prieure Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru. Great colour. Stunning deep bouquet of dark currants, red fruits, dark plums and cedar, structured with lovely tension and full acidity, more minerally than outright fruity opulence, seemingly a hallmark of the estate’s 2014.

2001 Domaine Prieure Roch Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru PURE. Poured from magnum. Fully evolved. Delicious sweet gentle bouquet of earth and aged plums. Very open with wonderful freshness and great purity from the melted tannins, showing great linearity without any distraction, becoming more expressive with time. Truly a revelation. As explained before, PURE indicates that the wine has been bottled straight from the barrel without any oxygen contact, preserving its integrity and freshness. Yannick demonstrated the simple two-way tap used for this laborious process that requires three persons to operate, taking three hours to manually bottle a barrel whereas conventional bottling methods can do the job in five minutes. A real labour of love, for Yannick truly heeds his passion.

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