Griotte-Chambertin is a small Grand Cru to the south of Chapelle-Chambertin, considered to be one of the most obscure Gevrey-Chambertin Grands Crus. Its very low production numbers (only about 1,000 cases a year) stem from its small size, which is in the neighborhood of about 6.5 acres. This size and the low production could mean two things in Burgundy: obscurity or exclusivity. Most Griottes are overshadowed by their more famous neighbors, and so it usually means obscurity here. But the wines have their own distinctive style and not too rarely an outstanding example will pop up. When it does, it will often be well-valued.
The AOC rules were originally drawn up in 1937; they parallel those of the other Gevrey-Chambertin Grands Crus.
Climate and Viticulture
Fairly low in altitude, the Griotte-Chambertin vineyard is situated on flat soil. Like any Grand Cru parcel, the soil is rich and makes wines of concentration and complexity.
- Pinot Noir: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay are probably not produced at all here, due to the small size of the Grand Cru. Pinot Noir is king, and this grape makes wine of consistently Grand Cru quality in Griotte. The sweet, suave style is usually coated in an almost velvety creamy texture, with abundant flavors of very dark fruit, spice, coffee, and dark chocolate. Made in a complex style that clearly distinguishes itself as Burgundy, these wines may not be as powerful as Chambertins but are often easier to drink and equally sophisticated. Despite the softer nature, 10-20 years will improve these wines.
It is hard to know for sure, but there are probably less than 10 active producers in the whole of Griotte-Chambertin. There are three clear leaders of the appellation.
- Drouhin: This sweet, alluring style of wine sums up Griotte-Chambertin fairly well. Flavors of red fruits and roses are almost Chambolle-like, but there's an additional depth of smoked game, coffee, and earth that complicate the wine and instead mark it as clear Gevrey. Minerally intensity makes aging a good idea, although within three years this cuvée should be accessible. Bottles cost between $150 and $250.
- Domaine Fourrier: Grown from fairly old vines (although not labeled as vieilles vignes), this is a majorly powerful cuvée that can sometimes struggle to display harmony, but always has great depth. Black fruit, bitter chocolate, and an earthy undercurrent make for intense flavors, which are backed up by a reserve of tannins that make the wine seem almost Chambertin-like in initial backwardness and power. Opening this early would be a big mistake. Prices are around $300.
- Domaine Ponsot: Derived from young vines, this one is simpler than the others, but is no less flavorful. An earthy style, with flavors of coffee, earth spice, herbs and minerals overpowering the elegant flavors of dark fruit and meat. After five or so years this wine should be pristine, but could handle more aging.
The Griotte-Chambertin area is too small to have any lieux-dits; as such, these wines will be labeled Griotte-Chambertin only.