Thank God Vineyard Leases End

Today’s Story: Domaine Cecile Tremblay

Domaine Cecile Tremblay has a very interesting history, partly because she did not start making wines until 2003 though her family owned vineyards for several generations. Cecile is the great-granddaughter of Edouard Jayer, uncle of the famed Henri Jayer (go Google some of his wines, and perhaps sell your car to buy a bottle). Cecile’s family inherited vineyards from Edouard, though the two generations before her leased out the land to other producers and did not make their own wine. In 2003, however, with the expiration of a lease on three hectares of vines Cecile started making wine under her own label with a plan for further growth. For instance, the Domaine owns roughly 10 hectares of vineyard land and while more of this becomes free from leasing agreements in 2021, Cecile rented or purchased land along the way in communes such as Gevrey-Chambertin.

When Cecile took over her family’s land for her own use, the vineyards were in no standing to produce high quality wines. The producers leasing the land, for instance, used too much fertilizer for Cecile’s taste and utilized herbicides instead of ploughing. Throughout her time thus far as a winemaker, Cecile transitioned to organic farming and many of her practices include biodynamic farming measures as well. During maintenance of her vineyards, Cecile ploughs the soil mechanically and with horses while using copper sulfate to prevent mildew and other fungi.

Similar to her views on caring for her vines, Cecile is very traditional in her winemaking process. She presses her grapes with an old-fashioned vertical press and her wines see only a moderate amount of new wood during fermentation and aging. All of this effort culminates into wines that are refined and elegant, though built for the long haul.

Today’s Wine: 2011 Chambolle-Musigny Les Cabottes

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

This bottle was gifted to me by a great friend, and after opening it today I sure am happy that I recently purchased another one. Right out of the bottle I can tell this will be a bold Burgundy thanks to its medium to deep ruby (but mostly clear) color. The nose on this thing is sort of a roller coaster (of emotions) as I get aromas of black cherry, boysenberry, eucalyptus, mint, purple florals, ground coffee, tobacco leaf, and moist forest floor. This even took on notes of gravel/crushed rock as it sat in the glass. The palate continues this dark theme with notes of wild blackberry and blueberry, licorice, smoked red meat, crushed granite, mocha, and tobacco. Shockingly (for me) full-bodied, this wine shows high acidity, medium (+) tannins, and what seems like an immeasurably long finish. This is one of those wines that makes me want to smell the glass all day, and eat the glass when that last drop is gone.

Price: $110 (though I got lucky and the going rate online is about $300). I would buy this again in my sleep at $110 and I’d even buy it again at $300. This is an exceptional bottle from an “off vintage” and the complexity I get out of this wine is mind-boggling. This will also age gracefully for another 15+ years! Pair this with filet mignon, rabbit, quail, or duck…and if you can accompany these dishes with black truffle you’re in for a real treat.