Here are my impression of three wines from the Burgundy producer Tortochot that I tasted while the Bourgogne Wine Tour 2015 visited Stockholm in February, plus another wine from this producer tasted in the comfort of my own home.
First some words about this producer, located in the village Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits. The vineyards extend over 12 hectares/30 acres, mostly in Gevrey-Chambertin and its neighbour Morey-Saint-Denis. The holdings include four grand cru vineyards – Chambertin (0.40 ha), Charmes-Chambertin (0.57 ha), Mazis-Chambertin (0.42 ha), and Clos de Vougeot (0.21 ha) – and three premier cru: Morey-Saint-Denis Aux Charmes, Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux-Saint-Jacues, and Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champeaux. Conversion to organic viticulture was initiated in 2003, and all vineyards are operated in this was from the 2013 vintage.
The style of Tortochot is traditional, with powerful tannins, rather noticeable oak, often some animal notes and other “traditional” red Burgundy notes, and sometimes a bit of green and herbaceous notes. Mostly, these are wines that would benefit from significant cellaring, and that aren’t too flirty or easy as young. However, I do note that they always destem, so it is possible to produce tougher and even more “traditional” wines than those of Tortochot. While still traditional, the wines have progressively become more “polished” in recent years, since Chantal Tortochot took over from her father in 2001. The proportion of new oak is 25% for village-level wines, 50% for premier cru, and 100% for grand cru (in particular the last figure is on the high side), and the wines spend 15-18 months in oak.
For those that like a traditional style and don’t mind cellaring the wines, the wines of Tortochot are well worth seeking out, since they can be had for rather reasonable prices – on the Burgundian scale of things and given the vineyards and appellations from which they originate.
Three wines tasted at the Bourgogne Wine Tour
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Corvées
Nose with ripe strawberries, cherries, some herbaceous and green notes, traditional notes with some dung heap, but also light perfume notes. Palate with strawberries and morello cherries, good acidity, and a rather noticeable tannic bite. Young and tough, more rustic than the rest, 88+ p.
2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er cru Lavaux Saint Jacques
Nose with cherries, some ripe strawberries, flowery notes with violets, spices, restrained traditional notes, and elegance. The palate is rather juicy with cherries, good concentration, noticeable minerality, lingonberry or cranberry bitterness, rather prominent tannins, and a berry-tart aftertaste with tannins. Definitely more polished than the Les Corvées above, young, 90+ p.
I might mention that I first was a but unsure if it was 2013 or 2012 that I had tasted, since 2012 was still in distribution in Sweden, and my TN gave me a “2012 impression” when I typed up my notes. The tasting programme did say 2013, though, and the importer verified that the first two wines that had been served were actually 2013.
2012 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
Nose with cherries, flowery notes with violets, chalky minerality, and elegance. Palate with cherries together with some ripe strawberries, a lot of minerality together with viscosity and a smooth feeling, good acidity, well integrated tannins and a long and smooth aftertaste. Young but actually the easiest to drink today of these three, 92(+) p. A surprisingly accessible and smooth wine for a producer of Tortochot’s profile!
And a wine tasted at home
2002 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
Nose with cherries, some ripe strawberries, a hint of orange zest, rather noticeable spicy notes together with well integrated oak, some undergrowth with hints of truffle and animal notes including meat juices; rather flowery. A great nose with some development. Palate with tart cherries (morello) with quite noticeable acidity, some spice notes including some oak feeling, somewhat noticeable tannins and an aftertaste with morello cherries and tannins. Rather tough palate for a Burgundy with some age. Although the nose is wonderful now, the palate (which isn’t too smooth) indicates that this wine would benefit from more cellaring. 90-91 p.