Owning or leasing a grand cru vineyard brings attention and demands focus. Many producers with only village vineyards and a 1er cru or two know that it can be hard to break through the wall of snobbish inertia to make an impact on a complex market teeming with many fine wines and producers.
As a producer, if you get your hands on a grand cru the world of fame is not necessarily thrown open, but you at least have a foot in the door.
One of the newest grand cru growers is Domaine A. Chopin in Comblanchien, which has taken over a beautiful family holding on the northern side of Clos de Vougeot.
And while this might be a new producer, the 2019 Clos Vougeot from Chopin is definitely making its mark in the clos. This is a truly delightful wine that I would love to have in my cellar.
Chopin of Comblanchien …
The name Chopin is relatively widespread among Burgundy’s winemakers – with current and previous estates including domaines Chauvenet-Chopin, Chopin-Groffier, and earlier a Grivot-Chopin estate.
Looking further back, there are references to the Chopin name in Comblanchien at least as early as Danguy & Aubertin (1892) .
Clive Coates, always a trusted source, writes in his 1997 book “Côte D’Or” that brothers André and Daniel Chopin divided the Chopin estate – in the 1960s according to Arnaud Chopin – with André retiring and his son Yves and grandson Arnaud taking over.
Daniel’s part of the old Chopin estate – Chopin-Groffier – owned vineyards that were transferred to the Chauvenet-Chopin estate when he retired in 1997, and they are now being managed by his son-in-law Hubert Chauvenet.
Arnaud Chopin is currently running the other part of the Chopin estate in Comblanchien with his brother Alban, and it still carries his grandfather’s name: Domaine André Chopin.
In 2019 the top vineyard in the Chopin patrimony is the plot in Clos de Vougeot – a parcel that was previously farmed by Chauvenet-Chopin, but moved into the hands of Arnaud Chopin in time for the 2019 vintage.
The beautiful Chopin inheritance
I tasted the 2019 Clos Vougeot both in November 2019 and March 2020, and it is definitely worth waiting for. A likely vin d’émotion, it is a vivid and fresh wine – something quite rare from the Clos de Vougeot vineyard. But to be fair, the 2019s are – it seems – generally brilliant on the hedonistic side.
The Chopin plot is located on the northen edge of the Clos de Vougeot towards the bottom and just above the now-prominent Denis Mortet holding (see map below).
The plot is below Francois Labet’s chateau, and lies just where the slope of the vineyard starts to rise.
The plot, no. A372, is 0.3485 ha and was planted more than 60 years ago – a fine plot indeed which promises a bright future for the Chopin estate. The plot was according to Arnaud Chopin acquired in the 1980s from the Prieur de Meursault.
The 2019 is the first effort from Arnaud Chopin .. and in my view quite a homerun with the whole cluster fruit and the vivid freshness of the vintage giving the wine a hedonistic edge – it needs – but somehow rarely has.