Produced by a Master of Chambertin
If you asked me to recall the greatest wines I’ve had in my life, the wines of Chambertin and its adjacent vineyards would feature quite prominently on that list. The finest wines coming from this tiny parcel of land possess an array of enchanting aromas and complex textures that I find haunting — and simply cannot find anywhere else in the world. Today, I’m thrilled to present you with an opportunity to own a stunning example of what best-in-class Red Burgundy can be, produced by a master of the Chambertin vineyard, Jean-Louis Trapet. This a truly profound wine, with perfumed aromas of black fruits, rose, sandalwood, and five-spice, while the texture is dense and firm. The elegant finish carries on and on. I’m not the only one who thinks this wine is exceptional; wine critic Neal Martin wrote in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate that the 2014 Domaine Trapet Chambertin “may well be the finest Chambertin that I have ever tasted from Trapet.” Compared to the Advocate’s top-rated Chambertin Grand Cru reds, this Domaine Trapet is hundreds and thousands of dollars less — but no less stunning.
I first encountered this wine just over a year ago, at the annual Master of Wine seminar in San Francisco. The U.S. importer, a fellow Master of Wine, was delivering a masterclass on Burgundy. He spared no expense in assembling the lineup of wines and the group of attendees were all gleefully benefitting from his generosity. The steady progression of great wines made me feel a bit like I was at La Paulée — the annual Burgundian bacchanalia that alternates between San Francisco and New York. In spite of this embarrassment of riches, the 2014 Domaine Trapet Chambertin was an absolute standout — its subtle power and finesse were totally enchanting. To me, the quality of the wine reflected the impeccable pedigree that could only result from a combination of one of the world’s greatest vineyards and experienced, masterful hands to guide the winemaking process. With the memory of this wine etched on my palate, I called my importer friend shortly after joining Wine Access, with a faint hope that he might still have a few cases. Luckily, he did, and I quickly scooped up all the bottles he had left without hesitation.
The legendary Chambertin vineyard was first written about in the 7th century. Today, the list of names that own a piece of this 32-acre plot of vines could be considered the rock stars of Red Burgundy: Rousseau, Mortet, Leroy, and Trapet, among others. Yet in spite of this heady company and the skyrocketing prices of Grand Cru Burgundy, Jean-Louis Trapet’s wines are actually a terrific value when compared with its neighbors. In fact, when you consider each of the 2014 Chambertin wines with the potential to score above 95 points according to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the 2014 Domaine Trapet is the most reasonably priced by a long shot. This fact is even more compelling when you consider Neal Martin’s comment that, as far as Chambertin goes, Domaine Trapet’s is “one of the best you will find in 2014 — a regal Chambertin that can stop you in your tracks.”
In addition to having the most enviable vineyard holdings imaginable, with some of his oldest vines dating all the way back to 1919, Jean-Louis has also demonstrated a real commitment to continuously improving his approach in both the vineyard and winery. To that end, he began to move his viticultural practices towards the biodynamic method in the 1990s, receiving certification from Biodivin in 1998 and Demeter in 2005. Committing to this approach is not for the faint of heart, especially in a disease-prone area like Burgundy. In spite of the risks, these practices can have a very positive impact on fruit quality, but to be successful requires both great passion and an incredible amount of precision. Jean-Louis’ efforts in this regard have paid off handsomely, the results of which are clearly evidenced in this truly special wine.
Adam Lapierre MW