omaine Chavy-Chouet in Meursault has a firm grip on both Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet, with about 40 per cent of their land holdings in each village. Since the arrival of Romaric, the son of Hubert, this domaine has gone from producing 30 000-40 000 bottles a year to an annual production of 80 000 bottles in 2009.
This is also the home of the Clos des Corvées de Citeau, a village appellation monopole right in the heart of Meursault.
– The Clos was originally planted by the monks, explains Romaric Chavy. It was the property of the Cîteaux Abbey and it was tended by the monks at the Château de Cîteaux in Meursault.
At the moment there is a bit of confusion regarding the name of the domaine. It says Domaine Chavy-Chouet on the sign outside the domaine. The same goes for their website, but on bottles it is Domaine Hubert Chavy. And to confuse things even more the 2009 vintage will have some Domaine Romaric Chavy wines. But the plan is to move everything in under the Domaine Hubert & Romaric Chavy banner.
Hubert and Romaric Chavy are the sixth and seventh generations of winemakers in their family. The Clos des Corvées de Citeau has been in the family since 1893.
– It came from a friend of the family, an old lady from Meursault, says Romaric Chavy. When she died my great grandmother inherited it, because she had been taking care of her when she was old.
You will find the Clos des Corvées de Citeau just east of Place de l'Europe, near the Château de Meursault. It is surrounded by walls on all sides and covers a total of 0.90 hectares. Thanks to the walls the temperature is slightly higher here.
– I don't know exactly how much it affects the temperature, says Romaric Chavy. I just know that when you're inside you can feel it. What we can see is that it is always in this vineyard the buds break first. It grows fast and it also one of the first vineyards to flower. Most of the time it also the one that we harvest first. Not this year though. The clos is clay and we had to harvest the limestone vineyards first – like the Folatières (Puligny-Montrachet) and the Genevrières (Meursault) – which ripen very fast when it is hot. The clos is a flat vineyard and there is a small stream just beside it, so it never suffers from heat.
The domaine has vineyards that cover 13 hectares. The only recent acquisition was half a hectare of village Puligny-Montrachet earlier this year. Apart from that it has had the same size since 1992. Today the production is 260 barrels (one barrel is 304 bottles), including 50 barrels of wine that will be labelled Domaine Romaric Chavy. These grapes come from Romaric's mother's vineyards and include Bourgogne blanc, Meursault Les Casse-Têtes and Pommard premier cru Les Chanlins.
There is also a small négociant business that they started in 2008. Ten barrels the first year and about 15 this year; all red – Corton, Clos de Vougeot, Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey-Saint-Denis.
Domaine Chavy-Chouet has an extensive wine portfolio and Romaric Chavy has a hard time picking any personal favourites, but if pressed he will settle for Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères and Meursault premier cru Les Genevrières. The former is unusual in that sense that it is a village appellation bordering directly to grand land – no premier cru in between as is usually the case. Les Enseignères is a strip of land right below Bâtard-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet.
– The soil of Les Enseignères has more clay than Bâtard-Montrachet and it is certainly more profound, says Romaric Chavy. The soil is less complex than in the Bâtard-Montrachet. Both the Bâtard-Montrachet and the Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet are on a little slope, but Les Enseignères is totally flat and the soil is rich. Les Enseignères produces something very round, very fresh and very easy to drink young. It ages very well, but it doesn't have the same structure and complexity as a good Bâtard.
– I'm very fond of the Genevrières because it has the freshness, the class and the elegance of Les Charmes. And it has the roundness and the breed of the Clos des Corvées de Citeau. Les Charmes is a bit like Les Enseignères – very round, fresh and easy to drink. The Clos is very fat and round. The Genevrières has something more, in terms of elegance and class.
Romaric Chavy has been working together with his father Hubert since 2005. The choice of career came early; at the age of eleven he was asked by his father if he wanted to go to wine school.
– Perhaps it wasn't an obvious choice back then. At that age you want to do something fun. I started at the wine school when I was twelve. It was very nice; it was a boarding school in Ruffey-lès-Beaune (just east of Beaune). It was two weeks at the school, then two weeks working somewhere, and so on.
I worked for my godfather, François Mikulski. The first year the job was not much fun because it was mostly in the vineyards, but when I began with vinification I really liked it and I was there for six years. After that I worked in Santenay, South Africa, Spain and Greece.
Today Romaric Chavy runs the family domaine. He is thankful for the efforts his father has made in order to establish their name, making things easier for Romaric.
– I do most of the things now, he says. That's fine with me because I don't like to delegate. I like to have control over what's going on. My father is 50, so maybe he hasn't done enough, but I think it's my turn now.
© 2009 Ola Bergman