You’ve Been Warned: 2016 Jérôme Chezeaux

Posted on: 07/23/19 7:31 PM

Look, 2016 is a PROFOUND vintage in Burgundy, especially for the reds. Concentrated, yet harmoniously balanced on fine-boned structure and clarity of terroir expression, 2016 most resembles 2010. These are the kind of red Burgundies that will age for decades, yet offer opportunity for enjoyment throughout their lives.

Such opportunities cannot be overlooked … especially when Jérôme Chezeaux is in the offing. This remarkable producer, a cornerstone of Neal Rosenthal’s Burgundy book, is perennially overlooked, despite the fact that the wines most resemble Mugneret-Gibourg stylistically, and sell for a fraction of what most Burgundies command these days.

I cannot more strongly recommend these wines. As wines themselves, they are among the best Burgundy has to offer. Once we consider price, the value they offer is foolish. Then there’s the vintage, one of the finest of the past couple decades and one well suited to this Domaine’s style. All this suggests you should buy as much as possible.

From previous offers: Jérôme Chezeaux is large and powerful man. A former rugby player, his size and physique can be nearly intimidating. And yet he produces some of the most beautifully framed and delicate Burgundies in the entire region. Precision, filigree and focus are the hallmarks of the style, with a crystalline fruit quality and haunting sense of balance. As such, he has been among my favorite producers we offer every year.

It doesn’t hurt that Chezeaux, despite being imported by Neal Rosenthal and with holdings in important crus such as Nuits 1er Vaucrains, Vosne 1er Suchots and Clos de Vougeot, he remains well below the radar. As such, his pricing remains commensurably sane. As such, these present some of the best opportunities to buy all year.

Chezeaux crafts wines of quietude and grace. These are not in your face Burgundies of incredible concentration, screaming with sugared fruit and vanillin oak. No. These beauties are elegant, fine-boned and finesse-driven. Transparency is the Domaine’s hallmark, and with such fantastic vineyards in Nuits and Vosne, Chezeaux offers an exceptional counterpoint to the often overdone luxuries from Vosne and the more backward beasts from Nuits. Instead, the site, the terroir is firmly in focus and the wines seem to vibrate with energy, even as the succulent elegance of fruit balances on the head of a pin in spherical, near Zen-like harmony.

It is this “transparency,” this finesse-driven style that I think has driven the demand for Chezeaux in recent years. After all, “balance,” “transparency,” “finesse” are very much the buzzwords these days in the wine world; “Gobs of fruit” and “hedonistic fruit bombs” have very much gone the way of the Dodo. Certain Domaines in Burgundy have captured the world’s attention: Mugneret-Gibourg, Mugnier, Lafarge, et al. and as a result the wines from these producers may as well be made from “unobtanium.” The main reason, I believe, is that these producers craft wines of great finesse and transparency. Yes, the weight and heft appropriate to serious wine is there, but it is balanced with structure and elegance, freshness and focus, rather than oak and late harvest concentration of fruit. Jérôme Chezeaux fits very neatly in this category, and as such his following has grown. (In fact, the style reminds me very much of Mugneret-Gibourg.)

2016 Jérôme Chezeaux Nuits-Saint-Georges “Les Charbonnières” VV
2016 Jérôme Chezeaux Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Rue de Chaux”
2016 Jérôme Chezeaux Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Vaucrains”
2016 Jérôme Chezeaux Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru “Les Pruliers”
2016 Jérôme Chezeaux Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru

Posted in Burgundy List By Ian Halbert