Engaged Purple Pager Jonathan Reeve, author of How to abstain (and author of a useful guide to wine tourism which awaits a time when such a thing is possible), points out that what he wants from JancisRobinson.com at this time of travel restrictions is escapism. We therefore offer the first in an occasional series of photo-portraits of a wine destination. Professional wine photographer and Burgundy specialist and author Jon Wyand kindly supplied the images.
The Côte d’Or is dotted with atmospheric villages but one of the most atmospheric is Chambolle, almost drilled into the hillside which overlooks it. It’s much smaller and genuinely village-like than Gevrey and less spread out than Morey, each of them much further down the Côte towards the main road.
I have a particularly soft spot for Les Amoureuses, one of Chambolle's most famous vineyards, shown above getting the fashionable horse and plough treatment. It's a premier cru that many think should be a grand cru and it was a bottle of Les Amoureuses 1959 shared when I was a student at Oxford before prices soared into the stratosphere that first showed me just how wonderfully exhilarating wine can be.
Apart from the odd simple café, where I have in my time sheltered from the November cold in between tastings (no appointments available during the blessed lunch hour), there is only one commercial activity in Chambolle-Musigny: tending the vines that produce some of the world’s most sought-after wine. Tractors are more often heard than cars.
The rarest of the wines that Christophe Roumier makes with a magic touch at Domaine Georges Roumier can sell for five-(yes, five-) figure sums per bottle nowadays. But there is nothing remotely grandiose about him. His courtyard is right next door to another famous domaine, J F Mugnier. I often wonder whether they hear tasters' cars start up next door and drive through their gateway. The vineyard that produces the most expensive Chambolles, of which both Roumier and Mugnier have a share (Roumier's is tiny), is pictured below.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé has the most enviably extensive holdings in the village, including a massive portion of this, the hugely valuable grand cru Le Musigny. At the bottom of the gentle east-south-east-facing slope is the Château du Clos de Vougeot, site of many a feast for wine lovers from all over the world.
Two of the most popular producers in Chambolle are Ghislaine Barthod and her partner Louis Boillot, seen here in Ghislaine’s typical Côte d’Or cellar. Burgundy lovers adore even her Bourgogne Rouge. At each of their domaines, the next generation is starting to take over.
Sunday in France is cycling day. Disperse the pack at your peril.
Cold winters help to maintain the Côte d’Or’s grip on supremacy with the early-ripening Pinot Noir grape, although summers are getting dangerously hot. See Burgundy producers’ views on climate change.
The châtelain of the Château de Chambolle, a beautiful building seen here in winter overlooked by the hillside that towers over the village, is one of those most concerned about the warming summers (see Burgundy producers’ views on climate change). But Freddy Mugnier still manages to make some of Burgundy’s most delicate wines.