The joys of “terroir” are no more evident than when tasting in the cellars of this small, but important, estate. Ghislaine, Gaston’s daughter, began an intense apprenticeship with her father in the 1980s. She has brought new vigor and a distinct touch to every area of concern from vineyard management to vinification but always with the profound regard for the purity of pinot noir and the character of the wines of Chambolle. Under her leadership, the reputation of this estate has deservedly grown internationally. The Domaine Ghislaine Barthod is now a standard bearer for the great wines of Chambolle Musigny.
Ghislaine Barthod’s holdings cover 5.86 hectares in the commune of Chambolle and in neighboring Gilly-les-Citeaux. The soil of Chambolle is more spare than that of neighboring Morey and Gevrey. Limestone gravel covers the surface and the layer of topsoil is very thin. As a result, the wines of Chambolle are noted for their finesse and delicacy. The average age of the vines on the Barthod estate is over 30 years old. Yields are always modest; a vigorous pruning and occasional “green harvest” are practiced.
The vineyard holdings encompass the very top sites in this esteemed village. Fuées, Cras, Baudes, and Veroilles virtually surround the great Bonnes Mares, each giving a partial taste of that Grand Cru; the centrally-located Charmes seems to fuse all the elements of Chambolle; and, the friendly Beaux Bruns and rigorous Châtelots serve as counterpoints one to the other. Ghislaine has recently added a small parcel in “Aux Combottes” to round out the holdings of the estate.
Ghislaine follows traditional methods of vinification and carefully ages her wines. The grapes are partially destemmed before going into the fermentation vats. Only natural yeasts are used. The more sluggish start encountered when working with wild yeast gives the must a natural period of maceration before fermentation begins. The length varies from 2 to 5 days and is dependent upon temperatures. After fermentation, the wines are racked into small barrels (about 20% to 25% of which are new) and aged for about 20 months. These wines are particularly ageworthy and offer the rare privilege of deeply exploring the terroir of this singular village.
|Bourgogne Rouge: Sourced from the lovely parcel of “Bons Batons” situated at the crossroads of Chambolle Musigny and Gilly les Citeaux, this cuvee is as refined as any you will find at the Bourgogne level.|
|Chambolle Musigny: Barthod’s village Chambolle is harvested from a group of vineyard sites spread across the breadth of Chambolle which comprise a total surface of 1.24 hectares. This mix of soil types and exposures produces a classic Chambolle, truly representative of the terroir of this village.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes: The “Charmes” cuvée has always held a position of particular honor at the domaine. Although in certain vintages one or another of the 1er Crus may shine more brightly than the “Charmes”, this wine is always nothing short of brilliant and it deserves its status. The Barthod family owns a tiny 0.25 hectare slice of this noble vineyard.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras: This is one of the quartet of vineyards within the Barthod holdings that encircle the great Bonnes Mares cru. Ghislaine Barthod has an important holding of 0.86 hectare that produces perhaps the most structured wine in the cellar … a candidate every year for putting up in magnum.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Beaux Bruns: Another of Barthod’s more substantial 1er Cru holdings that totals 0.73 hectare. The vines here are of an average age in excess of fifty years. We comment at every tasting about the reliability, friendliness and generosity of this cuvée.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Veroilles: Gaston Barthod fought for years to have his slice of « Veroilles » classified as a 1er Cru and he finally won the day. In fact, “Veroilles” lies just above Bonnes Mares but the vines in the topmost sector of this vineyard are denied the benefits of the late day sun as the dense forest that sits at the top of the hill places those vines in the shadows. So, only that portion of Veroilles which rests immediately next to Bonnes Mares has been granted 1er Cru status. Barthod owns 0.37 hectare which produces a stern and vigorous wine with much backbone.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Baudes: Another of the Barthod holdings that sits next to Bonnes Mares and is one of the ultimate 1er Crus in this appellation, known for its scintillating complexity. The parcel covers 0.23 hectare and the vines are now at a significant age (about 45 years old) producing a small but intense crop.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Châtelots: The “Chatelots”, a holding of about one-quarter hectare is just now (written as of 2012) revealing its identity as its vines reach a pleasant point of maturity (about 25 years old). Located in the central part of Chambolle, this cru presents itself as an excellent cross between the elegant and fine aromatics that this appellation is noted for married to a backbone of graceful but solid tannins.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées: One of the most brilliant of the 1er Crus of Chambolle, again neighboring the Grand Cru of Bonnes Mares. The Barthod parcel is about one-quarter hectare planted to vines of at least seventy years of age (as of 2012). A cuvée that truly captures the majesty of this alluring appellation.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Aux Combottes: A small holding in this lovely cru in the center of the appellation that sometimes, due to the younger age of the vines, is blended into the village Chambolle. Of course, in fine vintages of high concentration it stands nobly on its own. As the vines age, it surely will take its place annually in the pantheon of exquisite renderings of the terroir of Chambolle at this fine domaine.|
|Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Gruenchers: This is the newest addition to the vineyard holdings of Ghislaine Barthod. The 2010 was the first vintage to be vinified in the Barthod cellars. The parcel is all of 0.19 hectares, promising another wine of great quality and limited availability!|
The wine shop can be intimidating, with so many different styles of labeling. Here’s help in decoding a dozen basic types.
Buying wine can be a paralyzing challenge. Facing a wall of unfamiliar bottles can frustrate even the most worldly consumer.
Those bottles have labels, of course, often with loads of information about the character and nature of the wine within. But the more detail they offer to knowledgeable wine consumers, the more baffling they seem to the uninitiated.
To cut through the confusion, some wineries simply furnish fewer facts. These wines — often hugely popular ones like Yellow Tail, Barefoot and 19 Crimes — rely on brand names and marketing to build an audience. For dedicated wine lovers, though, the facts are crucial, even if it takes some education to decode a label.
The release of a new vintage from Ghislaine Barthod is always an eagerly anticipated and joyous occasion. There is perhaps no grower with a wider range of great vineyard holdings in Chambolle-Musigny, and Barthod’s lofty status in the pantheon of top Burgundy estates is firmly established and beyond well-deserved. Read More
This past Saturday night we entertained some friends for dinner and drew some precious wines from the cellar … as you can witness from the photo. Each of the five wines served was in splendid condition.
2015 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru The 2015 Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru shows a little stem addition on the fresh, detailed nose, which is earthier than those of its appellation peers and acquires graphite and tobacco scents with aeration. The palate is well-balanced, displaying good backbone and fine acidity, but tight […]