Sundays appear to be the day for catching up here at the old blog and this particular first day of the week is one of the more beautiful ones we’ve had here in the Bay area. Naturally, with temperatures in the low fifties and the air outside as crisp as the bacon on my breakfast plate, there can be but one type of wine on my mind. Truth be told, there’s only ever one type of wine on my mind, right?
Today’s tasting glass is again graced with the sublime efforts of Christophe Perrot Minot. But before I get to the discussions of this specific example, I thought I’d share the tale of the estate. It’s a story I first researched when I purchased these Burgundies many years ago for my own wine company, and the tale of vinous perfection that spans multiple generations explains Parker’s sentiments. After first tasting the efforts of Christophe, way back in the 1990s, Robert Parker would write,
“Speaking of superstars, Christophe Perrot-Minot is a name that may become as famous as Lignier, Dugat, Lafon, Roumier, and the like. I was as excited when I left this Domaine as I was when I walked out of Arnauld Ente’s in Meursault. There is nothing more gratifying and invigorating than tasting a young person’s wines for the first time and finding them to be superb.”
From the birth of what is today known as Domaine Perrot-Minot, this has been one of the most impeccably run, well-organized, cutting-edge and uniquely fashionable properties in the whole of the region. Initially known as Merme-Morizot – after the marriage of M. Merme to Esther Morizot, heiress of the Sigaut and Morizot vines in Chambolle and Morey – this estate dates to the mid-19th century, establishing it as one of the very oldest in all of Burgundy. Monsieur Amedee Merme was known as a gentleman farmer. He was as comfortable tending the domaine’s vines as he was frequenting France’s fashionable salons. It would be Amedee who would establish the domaine’s wines as centerpieces in France’s most exclusive restaurants; his dedication to quality was the foundation Perrot Minot was built upon.
The next generation of Mermes would take over responsibility of the Domaine after the end of WWII, when the affable and energetic Armand Merme assumed duties of the estate. Dedicated to further advancing the family’s reputation, Armand instituted the most advanced viticultural techniques known, implementing improvements in vine growing and fermentation. In addition to modernizing the techniques at the Domaine, Armand would greatly expand the family’s holdings, acquiring additional vine plots in some of the most prestigious AOCs in the Cote D’Or.
Armand’s marriage to Yvonne Aubelle led to the birth of four daughters. Their eldest, Marie-France, acquired her father’s love of the vine and vineyard and chose to follow in her father’s footsteps. Her marriage to Henri Perrot Minot in the 1960s established the modern day Perrot Minot Domaine. During the first years, Henri, Marie-France and M. Merme worked collaboratively to further modernize and expand the estate, adding additional holdings and beautifying the property. Upon the death of Armand, Henri and Marie-France took full control of the estate, fully dedicated to maintaining the quality as had been established over the generations.
Henri and Marie-France’s son, Christophe Perrot-Minot returned to his parent’s estate in 1993 at the age of 28, having spent 7 years as a fine wine broker, to assume the position of manager of the Domaine. Christophe’s experience in the trade, working with, tasting, selling and buying the very finest wines of Burgundy and the world brought an entirely new facet to Domaine Perrot Minot. Christophe, trained to recognize vinous greatness, and with three generations of dedicated wine-growers preceding him, set about to further perfect the profound wines emanating from his family’s holdings.
As the vintages bearing Christophe’s signature have made their way into bottle, the subtle changes in the cellars at Domaine Perrot Minot have become evident. The most obvious change has been in the labeling process. Gone are the perplexing and often times confusing labeling practices as were once customary chez Perrot-Minot. No longer do consumers have to ponder their choices; there is one label: Domaine Perrot Minot (just a few years ago, one would find labels that included Henri’s name, Perrot-Minot’s name, Vieilles Vignes, or simple vineyard designations – quite confusing indeed).
But perhaps the most impressive, albeit subtle change chez Perrot-Minot is Christophe’s near decade long experiment in the cellar that has resulted in a more expressive terroir note in his wines. Where once a pronounced new oak signature dominated these profoundly structured wines, Christophe’s taming of this quality – through the reduction of the use of new oak during the aging process – has resulted in wines of an exquisite nature. The wines of Perrot-Minot have always been among the most structured and age-worthy in Burgundy. But now they also include a classic sense of place that make them truly worthy of their moniker, “genuinely sensational” – as Burghound has recently so dubbed them.
2008 Perrot-Minot Gevrey Chambertin “Champerrier” Vieilles Vignes
This lieu-dit is one of the oldest planted vineyard sites in Gevrey, yet only carries a Village designation. This bottling by Perrot-Minot is brilliantly ruby red. Aromas of crushed black cherry combine with tell-tale Gevrey minerality as well as an elegant perfumed sense not generally found in most Gevreys. The perfumed nuance is more floral with air; perhaps a rose-petal sense best describes it. On the palate, the wine is classic dark Pinot; with plum and currant flavor. The tannins are pronounced but integrated, with the structure also quite impressive. The finish, very long and quite grippy, suggests an easy 5-8 years of further development. A serious and age worthy wine. A Village wine very much worth a look. 90 points.