I was parking the car in the center of Pommard almost in front of the shop Appellation Chocolat .. on my way to taste the 2015s at Domaine Y. Clerget further down the street – and then I recalled the name Clerget from a great bottle moment …
Clerget and Pommard has a special meaning to me … my thoughts took me about 20 years back to a memorable event in Copenhagen where I tasted a 1971 Pommard Rugiens from Felix Clerget – a tremendously balanced and complex mature Burgundy – a wine that showed the true greatness of the mighty Pommard Rugiens terroir – when it get sufficient time in the cellar to unfold fully – a wine that offered the generosity of the ethereal 1971 vintage … a wine that sort of restored my faith in Pommard after many austere experiences …
Burgundy has so much to offer, estates emerges from one year to another, Domaines can go from dismal to stardom within a few vintages – and lastly sleeping estates can re-emerge after years of oblivience .. in a blink of an eye.
Domaine Y. Clerget has re-emerged after a period of 5 years where they have supplied grapes to one of known Burgundies negociants.
Domaine Clerget is otherwise a very old Burgundian estate and the Clerget family has been in the area since 1268. The latest generation is represented by Thibaud Clerget – who just took over the family estate in 2015 from his father Yvon Clerget – hence the estate name is still Y. Clerget. The estate has moved from Volnay to Pommard and is now in the old …. Felix Clerget estate …. Felix Clerget was the grand uncle of the current generation of the Clerget family.
Yvon Clerget ran the estate for some decades taking back the family vineyards. Some vineyards came from the uncle Felix Clerget, but in 2010 Yvon stopped producing wine and the grapes were in the following vintages sold of to negociant. Moving back in time: Yvon began to work at the estate when his father Jean Clerget passed away in 1975 and he took over from his mother Edith Clerget in 1983 and produced wines until 2009 before he decided to sell the 2010 harvest to negociant.
In 2015 Thibaud Clerget however returns to the family estate to take over after finishing his education and working for shorter periods at Domaine Drouhin in Oregon and Giesen Wines in New Zealand.
Thibaud Clerget starts out with the 2015 vintage … and while it is a great vintage – in some sense it is also a difficult first vintage – as Thibaud like other wine makers have to find and calibrate his own style. I think he has done a tremendous job and I cant wait to see how the estate will unfold in other more classic vintages.
The 2015s from Domaine Y. Clerget
The 2015s from Thibaud are quite classic style wise with a fine focus, transparency and purity … very well made indeed with a refined and elegant expression.
The 2015s are generous wines with a quite exuberant fruit – yet Thibaud have managed to keep the balance and coolness to produce wines that are Burgundian at heart and capturing the spirit of the vintage – rich yet balanced with a fine energy and tension.
This is quite impressive in the first vintage – 2015 may be a great vintage for the reds – but the risk of over-ripeness was very much imminent especially in Côte de Beaune – and its great to see that Thibaud has managed to steer clear of the pitfalls of the vintage and have produced such balanced wines .. impressive.
This is a great start for a new talent – and he does show great prospects – but to call Thibaud a rising star after just one vintage like 2015 would be unfair to him as he need to explore the terroirs and refine his style before expectations are set too high. The potential is certainly here … and I can’t wait to taste the 2016s as I think it’s a vintage that will suit the style well.
To the notes ..
Starting out with the Domaine Y. Clerget, Bourgogne Durot 2015 a fine and quite rich Bourgogne rouge. The bouquet offer rich quite abundant red and dark berry fruit – pure and quite cool. On the palate generous for this level offering a fine balance between freshness and ripeness. A lovely Bourgogne Rouge – Good+ (86 – 87p)
Next up Domaine y. Clerget, Volnay 2015 – a rich and quite spicy village offering plenty of wine for this level. The nose offer red and dark berry fruit with a lovely spicy earthy minerality. On the palate lovely generous fruit – very pure indeed – classic textbook Volnay – with a nice vibrant freshness .. Very Good (88 – 89p)
The Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay Carelle Sous la Chapelle 2015 is a step up in concentration … and complexity. The nose is brimming with delicate and perfumed fruit – nice complexity and depth. On the palate quite powerful with a rich and juicy midpalate fruit – it’s long and vibrant with a very nice length. Very Good+ (89 – 91p).
A step up in concentration is the Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay Santenots 2015 – a bigger and more dense wine. The nose offer layers of rich and ripe fruit relatively dark fruit – yet transparent and forward. On the palate generous and lavish fruit – quite weighty – without flirting with over-ripeness. It’s pretty cool and offer quite substantial weight for a Volnay. Fine+ (91 – 93p)
One of the highlights is Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay Clos de Verseuil monopole 2015 – a monopole located just below the village of Volnay and Domaine Pousse d’Or – and north of Volnay Taille Peids. This is a truly magnificent Volnay … the nose is complex and perfumed with a nice cool balance. On the palate rich and silky offering a very juicy fruit – a hedonistic treat – very balanced with a lovely tension and energy. Very Fine (93 – 94p)
Moving on to one of the rich wines – the Domaine Y. Clerget, Volnay Champans 2015 – a more weigthy and concentrated wine – only one barrel made – will be bottled as magnums. The nose offer plenty of rich and ripe fruit – more intensely layered and serious than the charming Clos de Verseuil. On the palate plenty of stuffing – fruit more ripe and weighty – a Volnay for cellaring and a quite serious wine. This is a balanced wine with a big potential- this is a bigger wine than the Clos de Verseuil .. but better? Very Fine (92 – 94p)
The last of the Volnays is the Valnay Caillerets 2015 a mighty wine in the making. This is a very elegant wine despite it’s considerable intensity. The bouquet offer plenty of red and dark fruit – lovely energy and a quite intense and transparent expression of the fine terroir. On the palate gorgeous tension between fresh red and more weighty dark fruit – very delicate and fresh pomegranate notes from a healthy share of millerandage grapes. Powerful yet refined – Very Fine+ (93 – 95p).
Moving to Pommard we find Domaine Y. Clerget, Pommard Rugiens 2015 – a big, balanced and quite powerfull Pommard. The nose offer layers of ripe fruit – quite vinous with notes of red and dark cherries. On the palate rich and intense with plenty of structure and mineral power to focus the quite abundant fruit – its very long and intense – with a lovely energy. This comes from the Rugiens Bas as the top plot was destroyed by hail in 2015. The powerful Pommard Rugiens terroir is build for rich vintages like 2015 – and given time this will be a magnificent wine – just thinking about the Felix Clerget Pommard Rugiens I tasted many years ago – also from a quite rich and generous vintage – 1971. The 2015 is Very Fine indeed (93 – 94p)
The last wine is the Domaine Y. Clerget, Clos de Vougeot 2015 – made from a plot in Grand Maupertui just below the wall towards Grands Echezeaux. Only one cask in 2015 – more to come in the future vintages. This has spend 6 month in a new cask and 6 month in a older barrel – and need time to integrate the oak. The bouquet is very intense offering a deep and layered fruit – oak still somewhat forward – but this is pretty normal with Clos de Vougeot at this stage. On the palate rich and weighty with a nice balance and and freshness – the acidity is very fine for the vintage – and offer a nice energy and verve to this intensely structured wine. A impressive Clos de Vougeot in the making – it’s certainly a great year for this vineyard. Exiting to see how this develops … potentially Outstanding (94 – 95p)