If I was to mention Clos du Roi, or La Mission to you, you would probably say Beaune or one of the other famous villages in burgundy. Well, not exactly. Drive 15 minutes south of Beaune and you’ll arrive at the golden triangle of the Côte Châlonnaise: Mercurey, Givry and Rully. These village names will, I’m sure, be known to you. This discrete, calme and beautiful part of Burgundy is home to one very famous Burgundian family – the Devillards.
If you wish to discover one of the best of Burgundy’s wine treasures, then look no further.
The Devillard family have been involved in making wine on the Chateau de Chamirey estate for 5 generations. Bertrand Devillard, the son-in-law of the Marquis de Jouennes, first member of this illustrious family to make wine, has been responsible for the expansion of the estate that now owns or runs 5 different estates:
The Chateau de Chamirey is in Mercurey and covers 37 hectares of which 15 hectares has 6 Premiers Crus. The Domaine de la Ferte is in Givry and has 3 hectares of Givry including the Premier Cru “servoisine”. The Devillard family also run the Domaine du Cellier aux Moines owned by Philippe and Catherine Pascal – 5 hectares in Givry and the Domaine de la Garenne in Macon-Aze owned by the Beaumont family.
If you think that this is impressive they also own the excellent 15 hectare Domaine des Perdrix in Nuits Saint George.
Today the estate is in the hands of his two children Aurore and Amaury. The family’s ambition has always been one of tradition, rigor and respect of nature. The quality of their wines is shown by their fine balance, elegance and regularity which command respect and esteem around the world.
But there are also other values in the Devillard’s philosophy such as a constant search for innovation. This is revealed in the estate’s expansion into wine tourism. Chateau de Chamirey has transformed the old 17th century winery into a modern enoteca or wine shop, where you can not only taste the wines from all five estates, but also organize meetings or lunches in a specially adapted and separate room. A visit to the cellars is also an unconditional part of this experience. To add to this, the estate will also be opening it’s new tasting restaurant by the summer of 2014. Another project will see the surrounding cottages transformed into holiday cottages!!
This complete wine tourism concept is run by the highly competent (speaks 4 languages!) and professional Caterina Brault, a passionate “sommeliere” who transmits the values and pleasures of this noble estate through tastings, visits to the estate’s vineyards and many other wine activities. Thanks to Caterina’s enthusiastic and contagious appreciation of the estate’s wines and her tireless efforts to make this an unforgettable wine experience, you are guaranteed to come away highly satisfied and with the car boot (or trunk) full of their wonderful wines.
Speaking of these wines, I will concentrate on the Chateau de Chamirey for this article.
Firstly the Chateau de Chamirey boasts some of Mercurey’s best whites and reds. Two whites that stand out are the “En Pierrelet”, with its unique “Stoney” soil, producing a soft fruity and floral white wine. Notes of exotic white fruits such as peach, apricot and pineapple blend with white flowers and just a touch of wood. The “La Mission” is the estate’s flagship monopoly white. It’s pale gold color underlines a soft texture, light woody notes and again a touch of ripe yellow fruits such as pear and peach, mixed with acacia blossom. This is a lightly mineral chardonnay that possesses fine depth and a persistent finish. La Mission has often been compared to some of the best of the Grand Cru whites a little further north in the famous Cote d’Or.
Amongst the 5 reds from the Chateau de Chamirey, I would make a special mention for the 2011 vintage “Les Cinq” made from a blend of five of the Premiers Crus. This is pure elegance with ripe red fruits and a little spice. The tannins show their youthful presence but are delicately balanced. Although still young, a good drinker with even greater potential. “Les Ruelles” is another serious contender with a powerful cherry and plum structure and although the tannins are a little forward, with a bit of patience you will enjoy this wine immensely.
I would also recommend the 1er Cru “Champs Martin”, which although still in its youth, has plenty of elegance and balance.
So here we have the flagship Devillard estate. 37 hectares, 100% Pinot Noir for the reds and 100% Chardonnay for the whites. It is the biggest of the 5 estates run by the Devillard’s and the family put this estate alongside their Domaine des Perdrix estate in the “oh so famous” Cotes de Nuits. In my opinion, this is an oustanding Burgundy estate that brands itself on the name of the “Chateau de Chamirey” rather than the appellation Mercurey…and rightly so. Don’t get me wrong – Mercurey is an excellent Burgundy appellation – it’s just that the Devillard family seem to be above simple “appellations” or “classifications”. There is a class of what we call “pure race” winemakers in Burgundy that surpass all boundaries…and this is surely one of the finest.