Pinot Noir is a variety prized for many attributes—perfume, freshness, silky tannins, and age-ability, to name a few—but surely the most captivating aspect is the variety’s uncanny ability to express in the glass exactly where it was grown. Within Burgundy, the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin is at the pinnacle of the most coveted and revered growing areas, producing some of the most collectable and expensive wines in the world. Wines from the region are known for dark and brooding fruit, aromas of licorice, game, incense, a fleshy texture and dense tannins. The 2012 Domaine Pierre Damoy Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Tamisot expresses the terroir in textbook fashion, an iron fist in a velvet glove, with substance and depth enveloped in an ethereal body. It shows the elegance and refinement of the region along with what the French call sauvage, meaning “wild.” The wine is drinking beautifully, but has the backbone to continue to improve over the next six to eight years. In the hands of a masterful winemaker, this wine expresses Gevrey-Chambertin at its finest and most untamed.
Pierre Damoy is a Côte de Nuits superstar whose domain holdings include large swaths of Gevrey-Chambertin’s most sacred Grand Cru plots. But the land closest to his heart is the monopole village vineyard just behind his house, planted in the 1920s by his great-great-grandfather, Julien: Clos Tamisot. Often referred to as Pierre’s jardin, it is a Premier Cru vineyard in all but name.
Pierre is a fifth-generation winemaker, inheriting the family business from his uncle in 1992. The family legacy included some of the most priceless holdings in Gevrey-Chambertin, including the largest portion (35 percent) of the legendary Grand Cru Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, 40 percent of the Grand Cru Chapelle-Chambertin, and 2.5 acres of Grand Cru Chambertin.
Pierre immediately set about reforming farming and vinification practices, putting into place a careful hands-on approach. Instead of using herbicides, he plows the soil and employs rich, organic humus rather than artificial fertilizers. Grapes are harvested by hand and as late as possible to achieve exceptional ripeness. Small blocks are fermented separately to maintain their unique expression.
Though tiny in volume, the 2012s were magnificent, earning a 95 rating from Wine Spectator. In his vintage report, Vinous’s Antonio Galloni directed readers to Gevrey-Chambertin, “where I encountered the greatest number of truly phenomenal wines.” Among those were the 2012 efforts of Pierre Damoy, which Galloni called “terrific” and “big, structured Burgundies…clearly built for the cellar.”
Adding to the critical consensus, Burgundy expert Allen Meadows of Burghound called the 2012 Clos Tamisot “exceptionally ripe for the vintage” with “excellent richness, volume and mid-palate concentration” adding: “This is very Gevrey in personality.” As it is, these bottles of Côte de Nuits brilliance will vanish quickly.