Being a wine journalist is a treat. One gets to meet a lot of nice vigneron(ne)s, and furthermore get to taste some of their best wines.
This is good, but some tastings are programmed with more enthusiasm and higher expectations than others; after all, even journalists are human.
The combination of 2019 and Cécile Tremblay sets expectations high, as the vivid energy and generous style of this estate should be destined for greatness in this impressive vintage.
I was therefore delighted that Cecile Tremblay was one of the first to reply positively to my request for a visit last month.
Journalist or critic: setting the record straight
I see my role as a journalist who explores the Burgundy region seeking out good and exciting wines.
I am not a critic per se, as I prefer to find good producers and explore their vineyards. That said, I do not taste at the same 300 estates each year. I try to discover new producers and explore new wines.
A big difference? Perhaps not, but I prefer not to taste wines that I suspect beforehand will be boring, poor, or worse.
And just to be clear: Even amongst well-known producers and prominent negociant houses, disappointing wines are still made! I don’t need to taste these, however…
What I do need to taste are Cecile Tremblay’s 2019s, and I have truly been looking forward to this.
Some background on Cécile Tremblay
Cécile Tremblay began her endeavor in 2002-03, taking over some of the family vineyards and starting to produce wine.
The vineyards originally come from the Edouard Jayer estate – Henri Jayer’s uncle. Edouard Jayer was a cooper in Nuits-Saint-Georges before the First World War, and Cécile Tremblay’s great-grandfather. In 1921, he married Esther Fournier, who came from a vigneron family. They established their estate based on vineyards from the Fournier inheritance, and expanded their holdings over the years.
In 1950, the vineyards were shared amongst their five children. Renée – the youngest daughter – kept her share, renting them out in metayage (share-cropping). Renée’s only daughter, Marie Annick, and her husband expanded the estate while still keeping it leased to metayage until 2002.
After her studies, their daughter Cécile decided to take over the family vineyards as their leases expired – and thus was born the delightful Domaine Cécile Tremblay in early 2003.
As mentioned, the vineyards prior to 2003 were leased to other growers in metayage, but Cécile was able to take back 3 hectares in the beginning, and will eventually take back more as the metayage agreements expire.
The approach at Domaine Cécile Tremblay is organic and biodynamic. It was certified organic in 2005, and in 2016 the biodynamic certification was attained.
The sensually energetic 2019s
Cécile Tremblay makes intense, vivacious wines. They are quite extravagant, with rich mid-palate fruit and lovely, generous intensity.
This was perhaps not the perfect stylistic match for the 2018 vintage, but the Tremblay wines really suit the vivid, energetic character of many 2019s. They are almost a perfect match in my opinion.
The Nordic cool of the 2019s, with their notes of lingonberries and cloudberries, helps take the Tremblay hedonism to new, seductive levels. These are indeed sensual wines.
Tasting notes for the 2019s from Cécile Tremblay
And so, to work.
Domaine Cécile Tremblay Bourgogne Rouge “La Croix Blanche” 2019
The Bourgogne La Croix Blanche is from the area below Chambolle and Vosne. It is a vivid wine – lively and energetic – and while the 2018 was a fine glass, this is in a different league. The nose offers a wide range of red and Nordic berries, with beautiful tension and energy underscoring all the strong points of the vintage.
(Drink From 2020) – Very Good – (87-88p) – Tasted 06/07/2020 –
Domaine Cécile Tremblay Chambolle-Musigny Les Combottes 2019
Chambolle Combottes is a vineyard that contains both village and 1er cru; here we are in the bottom, village section. On the nose, there’s a lovely limestone-mineral note, with pomegranate and a hint of rhubarb. This is vivid, with a lovely, classic Chambolle character and intense fruit and minerality.
(Drink From 2029) – Very Good – (89-91p) – Tasted 06/07/2020 –
Domaine Cécile Tremblay Vosne-Romanée “Vieilles Vignes” 2019
The Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes is quite a step up – coming from Les Jacquines and Les Communes. Here we have beautiful, silky, Vosne tension; intense yet elegantly light-footed with zen-like balance. A whole bouquet of Vosne spices, including slight hints of curry, cloves and allspice, with peonies and roses smiling through.
(Drink From 2031) – Fine – (90-92p) – Tasted 06/07/2020 –
Domaine Cécile Tremblay Chambolle-Musigny “aux échanges” 2019
The Chambolle-Musigny “aux échanges” is usually the best village wine from Tremblay. This is also the case in 2019, coming from its parcel relatively high up on the slope. It’s vinified without sulphur and uses a large proportion of whole-cluster fruit. This gives more detail and precision to the fruit, with a greater organic character which shows tremendous refinement and Chambolle minerality. It has effortless balance, and it a sensual delight with its silky texture.
(Drink From 2031) – Fine+ – (91-92p) – Tasted 06/07/2020 –
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