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Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint-Jacques 2017

Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint-Jacques 2017

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The 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru includes 50% whole bunch fruit and matures in 60% new oak. It has an intense bouquet with notes of blackberry, blueberry, crushed stone and hints of graphite, the terroir showing through nicely here. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit and gentle grip. I feel the new oak taking a more backseat role compared to previous vintages, that allows the terroir to really show through on the precise finish. This is an excellent Clos Saint-Jacques from Sylvie Esmonin. Drinking window: 2023-2045. 92-94 points

My call at Sylvie Esmonin is always a brief one, since she only has five cuvées, although when one of them is Clos Saint-Jacques, I can’t complain too much. It ostensibly forms Esmonin’s back garden, and her dog, as usual, was tearing up and down the slope, weaving in and out of the vines. As I quipped, it’s a shame she can’t train him to pick fruit.

“We picked relatively late, on September 11,” Esmonin told me. “There was hardly any chaptalisation, just 0.3° for the Gevrey-Chambertin Village. I used just a little less whole bunches this year, but apart from that, it was a normal vinification. What I like about the vintage is that the Bourgogne Rouge is the Bourgogne Rouge, the Clos Saint-Jacques is Clos Saint-Jacques and so on. I feel it is a classic vintage.”

Esmonin’s style might be classed as more modern: deep colour, black fruit, grippy tannin and a riper style that renders her Clos Saint-Jacques easy to pick out blind. You could compare it stylistically with, say, Domaine Christian Sérafin or maybe Dugat-Py. It is not a style for those seeking lighter red fruit or transparency in their Pinot Noir and incontrovertibly the wines require time in bottle, but they can be worth waiting for.

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/19)

This wine is being offered En Primeur with delivery due in 2019.