Friday, November 24, 2017

Robert GROFFIER Père & Fils (Morey-Saint-Denis) -- 2016 Tasted from Tank Samples

This estate has important holdings in Chambolle-Musigny (as well as Gevrey-Chambertin), and yet amazingly, there was a good size crop here in 2016. Nicolas Groffier attributes this fact to the estate’s old vines and use of the Cordon Royat pruning system which, he says, means that the vines are late budding, and so they were not in such a vulnerable state when the frost hit. It’s an interesting explanation, but other vignerons I visited can point to old vines and use of the Cordon Royat system in some of their vineyards that were completely destroyed. In short, there is no consistent rhyme or reason to which vines escaped the frost and which ones didn’t.

Nicolas thinks that 2016 is a great vintage (hard to disagree with that, at least for the better estates such as here). In style, he compares it to 2006, where the weather was roughly the same and the wines in a classic style. One can also add that each came after a vintage of different style that had received much attention. 

Harvesting began on 28 or 29 September (in the cellar, without the records, Nicolas did not remember exactly) and lasted for five days. Nicolas prefers to harvest at about 12º natural alcohol and then chaptalize up to about 12.8-13.2º. Whole cluster fermentations were used in many of the wines, as I indicate below. 

The wines had been racked and transferred to tank two weeks prior to my visit.
In recent years, the estate has been holding back 1/3 of the crop for later release when the wines are mature or closer to maturity. A few other estates have done this in the past (I’m not sure in such large quantities) and some others are starting to do so now or are intending to do so once they achieve more normal-size crops again. (Continue reading here.)