Fixin was highly regarded by Lavalle and other classifications made more than 100 years ago, but today this northern appellation gets little attention from the collectors of great Burgundies.
The Fixin wines have often been accused of being austere, hard and edgy … sometimes justifiable so … but given time they can indeed unfold a fine complexity.
The trend these days is however that the wines are consumed relatively young and most collectors don’t seem to have the time and dedication to wait 10 years for the lesser wines, and restaurants rarely have older wines on the list. So Fixin need to rethink and regroup to get the attention from the Burgundy consumers.
This is where Amélie Berthaut enters the scene with the ideas and the energy to change and unfold the potential of Fixin in a modern and more accomodating way.
Amélie Berthaut – from Vosne to Fixin
Amélie Berthaut is the daughter of two vignerons … Denis Berthaut who makes wines in Fixin, and Marie-Andrée Gerbet in Vosne-Romanee, who is part owner of Domaine Francois Gerbet with her sister Chantal Gerbet. The Gerbet sisters are related to the Sirugue family in Vosne-Romanee, as their mother, Suzanne Gerbet – born Sirugue, is the sister of Robert Sirugue
So this is a quite diverse background, and Amélie is indeed a lucky girl, as she is taking over the winemaking at her fathers domaine in Fixin, and some fine vineyards in Vosne-Romanee and Flagey-Echezeaux from her mothers side.
The Domaine Berthaut is regarded as one of the best domaines Fixin, and the wines made by her father are pure, transparent with a good expression of terroir. I have tasted a few older wines … 2008 and 2001 and they do need time to unfold, but they are indeed sound and pure wines, so the foundation for Amélie is worth building on.
Domaine Berthaut have several village plots of Fixin, a plot in Fixin Les Arvelets, some Gevrey-Chambertin village, some Gevrey Clos Chezeaux (village), some Gevrey Les Cazetieres and some Gevrey Chambertin Laveaux Saint Jacques. Aside from this the domaine also makes some Bourgogne Rouge and some Hautes Cotes de Nuits.
From her mothers side she now have three vineyards … some Vosne-Romanee village, some Vosne Romanee Les Petits Monts and some Echezeaux in the climate Les Treux.
The first vintage made by Amélie is 2013, and this is therefore also the first vintage of Vosne-Romanee, Vosne-Romanee Les Petits-Monts and Echezeaux under the label Berthaut-Gerbet.
Tasting of the 2013s from Domaine Berthaut and Berthaut-Gerbet
Amélie took over the winemaking in 2013 and what a start … firstly 2013 is not the easiest of vintages, and secondly it’s not a vintage that should suit the Fixin terroirs well .. with it’s powerful acidity and potential austere side.
Despite the difficult vintage Amélie has produced some lovely 2013s both from Fixin, Gevrey and Vosne-Romanee.
She has the ambition to make more delicate and approachable wines, and while she just started to transform the style in 2013 one feel a more feminine and delicate touch on the wines. The Fixin wines tasted were fine and pure, the Gevreys gorgeous and pure with a sparkling sweet core of fruit (Gevrey did well in 2013) and lastly the Vosne wines are showing lovely purity in a quite forward and expressive way.
The new style is building on the purity and transparency of her fathers wines, but adding a softer and more fruity feel to the wines. It’s a impressive start … will be very interesting to follow the further development over the next vintages.
I have already tasted a few 2014s and they show fine promise, but they are still at a quite early stage in the cool cellars in Fixin.
Based on the tastings I must say I’m very impressed by the quality Amélie has achieved with her first vintage. Yes there is room for improvement here and there, and she also need some vintages to find her style, as one can not transform both vineyards and vinification in just one year. I do however feel that she is moving in the right direction, and I’m sure the quality will rise even further over the next years. I’m looking forward to follow Domaine Berthaut and Berthaut-Gerbet.
And now to the notes for the 2013s:
Tasting notes from the tasting on March 17th and March 18th 2015
Here we have two rounds of tasting … first the Vosne Romanee, the Vosne Petits-Monts and the Echezeaux at the Trilogie tasting on March 16th 2015 at Chateau Clos de Vougeot, secondly a tasting at domaine Berthaut in Fixin on March 18th 2015 where I retasted the Vosne and tasted most of the wines from Fixin and Gevrey-Chambertin.
Domaine Berthaut, Fixin 2013
The Fixin 2013 from Berthaut is a good effort for the vintage. In the nose good and pure rather dark fruit, presented with a nice earthy minerality. On the palate pure and transparent, with a nice clear darkish fruit, balanced and focused. A nice entry level Fixin, with a good vibrant acidity. Will need a bit of time to unfold.
Domaine Berthaut, Fixin Les Crais 2013
The Fixin Crais 2013 is quite a step up from the regular Fixin, offering a more charming side of Fixin. The nose is showing nice pure and slightly more expressive fruit brought forward by a auite delicate slightly chalky minerality. On the palate more fruity and delicate with a quite elegant expression of terroir. A lovely wine .. well done for the vintage.
Domaine Berthaut, Fixin Les Clos 2013
The Fixin Les Clos 2013 is another step up in quality offering a more racy terroir. This wine is produced from a climate located high on the slope just north of the Fixin 1er crus. In the nose fine pure and transparent darkish fruit offered with a lovely chalky minerality. On the palate lovely airy fruit focused and displayed with a lovely expression of terroir. Really like the airy and lightfooted expression in this wine.
Domaine Berthaut, Fixin En Combe Roy 2013
The En Combe Roy is a step up in concentration from the other villages, offering more weight and power. It’s from a small village climate just below the 1er crus Les Hervelets and Les Arvelets. In the nose more intense and weighty fruit offered with a deep rather powerful earthy minerality. On the palate quite dark fruit .. good concentration and power .. lovely deep fruit. Need more time than the other villages to unfold it’s complexity.
Domaine Berthaut, Fixin Les Arvelets 2013
Moving up to Les Arvelets one of the top climates in Fixin. The 2013 Les Arvelets from Berthaut is a both juicy and slightly sturdy wine. The nose is offering crystal clear darkish fruit brought forward by a lovely intense earthy minerality. On the palate pure and juicy fruit with a fine midpalate weight … airy and transparent with a lovely view to the terroir. A lovely and very balanced wine .. a good place to start exploring Fixin. Tremendous effort for the vintage.
Domaine Berthaut, Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Chezeaux
The Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Chezeaux 2013 is a lovely village effort …this appellation did well in 2013. The nose is offering fine red and dark fruits .. lovely sweet note red note .. spiced with a classic slightly earthy minerality. On the palate fine juicy fruit .. lovely core of sweet red fruit .. balanced and quite forward. A lovely effort.
Domaine Berthaut, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2013
The Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers 2013 is a gorgeous effort for the vintage . The bouquet is packed with pure and delicate red and dark fruits .. also here a lovely sweet note red note .. spiced with a classic slightly earthy minerality. On the palate fine and very juicy fruit .. delightful core of sweet red fruit .. balanced and quite forward. A refined and very balanced Cazetiers … what a lovely glass of pinot.
Domaine Berthaut, Vosne-Romanee 2013
The Vosne-Romanee 2013 is a lovely effort. In the nose lovely red and dark fruits, Vosne spices and discrete minerality – quite forward. On the palate medium concentration, lovely fruit – quite refined style wise, with a lovely fruityness. A lovely Vosne village .. quite a impressive effort with this new terroir.
Domaine Berthaut, Vosne-Romanee Les Petits Monts 2013
The Vosne-Romanee Petits-Monts is quite a step up from the regular Vosne. This cuvee is coming from a 0.1 ha plot in Petits-Monts, where Domaine Francois Gerbet is the largest owner with 0.59 ha. The bouquet is fine and delicate offering a lovely Vosne spicyness and minerality. On the palate fine medium weight fruit, pure with a lovely presentation of the fruit – good balance and overall ripeness. A fine Petits-Monts for the vintage … especially considering it’s the first vintage of this wine. It will indeed be exiting to follow this in future vintages as Amélie unfolds the full potential of the vineyard.
Domaine Berthaut, Echezeaux 2013
The Echezeaux 2013 is also showing well, offering a lovely expression of fruit and terroir – quite impressive considering the difficult conditions in 2013. The nose is crammed with red and dark fruits and a lovely minerality. On the palate a stepup in weight and concentration from the Petits-Monts. It’s pure, quite refined and balanced – offer a fine expression of terroir and a nice drinkablitity. A lovely little Echezeaux in the making.