Laurent Rochelandet at Domaine Trapet Rochelandet in Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.

aurent Rochelandet in Gevrey-Chambertin groups his wines into two categories. If you like the village appellation Gevrey-Chambertin from Les Carougeots you will most likely go for the Petite Chapelle on premier cru level. On the other hand, if you prefer Les Champs Chenys then the more obscure premier cru Bel-Air is your thing.

Domaine Trapet Rochelandet is a relatively new domaine. New in name and new in the sense that bottling on a large scale is a recent thing. Part of the six and a half hectares of today’s domaine is the old Domaine François Trapet, part is the vineyards of Laurent Rochelandet’s mother.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Carougeots.– What makes Bel-Air special is the fact that it is located above the grand crus of Gevrey-Chambertin, above Clos de Bèze and Chambertin, says Laurent Rochelandet. There is very little soil. Big blocks of limestone. Bel-Air is just below the forest, where it is steep. It’s like a mille-feuille of limestone slabs up there.

Domaine Trapet Rochelandet was created in 2006. Before that Laurent Rochelandet had been helping out at the domaine. In 2007 he attended La Viti, the wine school in Beaune, and in 2008 he made his first vintage.

– My father fell ill during this time, so my mother had to be there for him. As a result, much of what my mother had initiated at the domaine came to a standstill. We didn’t have the capacity to continue projects like the development of bottling at the domaine that she had started.

In 2013, after some difficult years, Laurent Rochelandet began to change the work at the domaine thoroughly.

Bel-Air, Gevrey-Chambertin.– That was when I really began bottling on a larger scale, he says. Also, up until then we hadn’t had the necessary consistency at the domaine. For instance, the Gevrey-Chambertin vieilles vignes had always been there, but sometimes it had been vinified in tank, sometimes in barrel. I wanted to make sure our customers had the same thing every year.

– In 2013 we had the Les Carougeots, the Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes and the Petite Chapelle, which my mother had decided to vinify in barrel again, bottled. We also kept a barrel of Ruchottes-Chambertin. During the difficult years – 2010, 2011 and 2012 – all the big wines were sold as grapes.

Since then more wines have been added and Laurent Rochelandet is even considering a couple of new cuvées for the future. In order to mark his arrival at the domaine he decided to make a separate cuvée from Les Champs Chenys, a village appellation plot south of Gevrey-Chambertin, between Charmes-Chambertin and the Dijon-Beaune road.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– I wanted to have a wine which would show what this guy can do, he explains. Les Champs Chenys it’s one of the rare places where you go straight from village appellation to grand cru. We have one long parcel, where the top part is very close to Charmes and where the bottom part touches the route nationale. It is flat, almost a hollow. In a good year I make five barrels.

While the character of Les Champs Chenys is mainly black fruits, Les Carougeots is more about red fruits. Les Carougeots is closer to the village, not far from Mazis-Chambertin. Domaine Trapet Rochelandet has close to one hectare here.

– If you want a wine for laying down, then Les Carougeots is a good choice, says Laurent Rochelandet. Before the AOC system Dr Lavalle had Les Carougeots classed as Troisième cuvée, together with many of the premier crus.

The Gevrey-Chambertin old vines cuvée is a blend from four parcels – Platières, Murots, Croix des Champs and Creux Brouillard – all located across the route nationale from Les Carougeots. The average age of the vines is 40 years.

Ruchottes-Chambertin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– Since they are all below the route nationale it is not necessarily the most complex Gevrey-Chambertin. It is because of that I only use tank. You get a crisp pinot noir and let the terroir express itself. You have the Gevrey character there. Red fruits, with fine tannins. Long on the palate. I don’t know how to make big and bulky wines. But then again, it doesn’t interest me.

There is no new oak at Domaine Trapet Rochelandet. Most barrels come from Domaine Philippe Leclerc a few blocks away. Depending on the cuvée barrels used for one or two wines are brought in.

Both the premier crus of the domaine are located south of the village. Bel-Air is, as mentioned, one of the few premier crus to be at the top of the slope. Petite Chapelle is just below Chapelle-Chambertin.

Laurent Rochelandet at Domaine Trapet Rochelandet in Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– There is much more focus on fruit on this side of the village. That’s the general character of the premier crus here. All of this section around Petite Chapelle, the premier crus as well as Clos Prieur, are easy, flattering and charming. You have both roundness and elegance.

In this section there is clay and limestone. Less deep than in Les Carougeots, which is closer to the village, with more large stones.

– Bel-Air is a cooler type of wine since the vines are just below the forest, explains Laurent Rochelandet. The grapes don’t ripen at the same time as the others. You don’t have as much sun up here as in the other vineyards, but you get a wine which has a very nice minerality.

Right next to Bel-Air is Ruchottes-Chambertin, the only grand cru of Domaine Trapet Rochelandet.

– I have one of the last parcels to the south, says Laurent Rochelandet. It’s in Ruchottes-Dessus and it’s sort of a clos, but one shouldn’t use that in the name since Domaine Rousseau has the monopole of Clos des Ruchottes. It’s a parcel where I’m able to produce four barrels in a good year. I keep two barrels. The rest I sell to négociants. My Ruchottes-Chambertin is mainly for the export market.

– As a whole Ruchottes-Chambertin is relatively homogeneous in terms of soil etc. Often people point out differences between the upper and the lower part, but in reality I don't think there is much of a difference.

© 2018 Ola Bergman