Domaine Robert Groffier 2018s Plus Cellar Releases from 2016, 2015 & 2014s

I have been feting the winemaking of Nicolas Groffier for three or four years now. Where once the domaine had a penchant for rather over-extracted wines, Nicolas has navigated a different course with completely different wines: elegant, full of tension and completely respectful of their terroirs. NEIL MARTIN, www.vinousmedia.com

The Groffier family are among the best wine makers in the Côte de Nuits. PEARL OF BURGUNDY

We’re proud and excited to add the wines of Burgundy super-star Robert Groffier to our portfolio of producers.

In March this year I had the first opportunity to visit the Domaine and meet with the baby-faced Nicolas Groffier. This Domaine has long been one of the most highly rated producers on the Cote. At the same time it has been seldom visited over the years owing to the family’s reluctance to see visitors – reviewers, trade and even their own importers have found it a challenge. Nicolas is more open than his predecessors thank goodness and while he may be a little garrulous he is a formidable talent and a fascinating man to exchange views with about his wines. Moreover, this was one of the more thrilling visits I have done in several years.

The wines – once a little oaky and extracted – have been reborn under the inspired talent of Nicolas. Today they are full of terroir-driven thrill and ethereal light and shade. Excited? Oh yes I was very excited by these wines! In that same week I had the context of visiting some of Burgundy’s greatest producers so it would have been easy for these wines to disappoint, however this talented and intuitive young winemaker with access to these remarkable holdings proved to be a deadly combination. The estate is every bit an A-lister Burgundian domaine.. They are every bit A-lister Burgundy.

I love meeting winemakers who have a reason for what they do: an articulated, clear vision of what they want their wines to be but also understand what they need to do to get there. In more cases than not, that dogma is centered around the respect of the grapes and the ability to pull back and leave well alone or judiciously add the hand of man for the vineyard to express itself best. Nicolas Groffier has this innate talent. Each wine is treated differently, be it the addition of stems in the ferments or the use of oak. Every step is carefully calibrated and based on the characteristic of the vineyard – soils, vine age, perennial expression.

I tasted all the 2018 wines with the exception of the Clos de Beze where I tasted the 2016. – one of the greatest wines I have seen from this site I might add.

The holdings range across three communes – Gevrey, Morey St Denis and Chambolle Musigny – but it is most probably the latter commune where they do the bulk of their premium work. Holdings here include the 1er Cru holdings of Les Haut-Doix (limestone soils making for driven and fragrant wines), Sentiers (a richer more muscular offering) and of course the utterly gorgeous, Les Amoureuses. The Grand Cru is Bonnes Mares – one third off the white soils and two thirds off the red. One of the best I have seen.

Outside Chambolle the most significant commune is Gevrey where the villages Seuvrees speaks loudly of its Gevrey origins with more muscular tannin profile and red fruits spliced in with earthy nuances. The Grand Cru here is the aforementioned, Clos des Beze and it is full of GC gravitas. One of the best wines I have seen off the vineyard.

The other fascinating thing Nicolas has put in place is a cellar release program. Each year he will release back vintages that have been aged in his cellars. He got the idea from Barolo great Luciano Sandrone, agreeing that if people were to drink aged examples of his wines he would rather see them aged in his cellars and then ship them when they are ready. More certainty of quality and more certainty for the customer.

As this is our first shipment from the Domaine he kindly offered a small selection from 2014, 2015, 2016 and of course the 2018s. I have listed a small vintage praisee in front of each selection. I have not tasted the back vintages bar the 2016 CdB (a mind-blowing wine) but I have included the reviews from third parties.

One final thing. I think a great deal about what elements elevate an estate’s wines from very good or even great to wines that have a transportative power, and ethereal x-factor. Clearly, the underlying terroir is the main factor but the second factor must be the influence of man and beyond that there must be art and madness in equal parts. Nicolas Groffier strikes me this way. The terroirs are undeniably top shelf but his impact on coaxing and revealing their beauty is clearly ultra-impactful. The wines are top echelon Burgundy and worthy of standing alongside the top 5 properties on the Cote. I suspect in coming years they will get even better. Do not miss these wines!

Cheers

Michael