Friday Feature 05/02/14: 2012 Releases from Domaines Clavelier & Humbert Frères

Hello & Happy Friday!


What an exciting Friday Feature we have today.  Both of us have traveled to Burgundy in the last two months . It reminded us (we didn’t need that much reminding) that Burgundy really is one of, if not THE, most special growing regions on earth.


Our travels there allowed us to taste from a multitude of vintages, looking back at some 2010’s, tasting 2011’s and most currently 2012’s, as well as tasting some 2013’s out of barrel.  There are differences between the vintages, but one thing we both feel strongly about is that not a single person on earth, not a critic, not a winemaker, not the good Lord in heaven himself, can accurately assess vintages so early.


On top of that, while there are differences with the vintages, Burgundy, both red and white, have had some really nice showings in all of these years.  There is something for everyone, and most importantly the wines are delicious.


I bring up that last word because so many people think that Burgundy is something that should be put up on a pedestal, something that you have to tweet about or say you are down with like some gang affiliation.  The fact is, Burgundy is like any other wine, a wine to drink, whether that is young, in its mid-life or fully mature.  To us, it tastes great at any stage of the game.


A little State of the Union Address:  For the most part Burgundy is sold out.  We’ve visited the caves, the cages are empty and there are speculations from every corner of the world willing to buy the “best” producers’ wine.  What keeps Burgundy available to us are the good relationships of those that we have been working with in the region for many years.


Despite the good news that many of the top wines are still available to us, they won’t be for much longer.  Importers and distributors are over taking out bank loans to hold inventory for buyers that may or may not come to the table.  With that statement, it brings us to our offering today.


Perman Wine Selections is the exclusive retailer in Ilinois for two of Burgundy’s most prestigious estates, Bruno Clavelier and Humbert Frères.  Bruno Clavelier makes pure wines from old vines in some of the most prestigious vineyards in the Côtes de Nuits, including: Les Beaux-Monts in Vosne-Romanée and La Combe d’Orveau in Chambolle-Musigny.  His vines are ancient, his vineyards are meticulous, and we’d rather drink these than many labels with the words “Grand Cru” printed on them.


Humbert Frères, a producer that Craig just visit in Gevrey-Chambertin, is also THE BEST producer in the village. I know many will geek out on Armand Rousseau who holds some great Grand Crus, but there is no one that makes more consistent, delicious and complex Burgundies than Humbert.  Maybe that will read a tad controversial, but its something we truly believe.


This is a one time offer.  We need your orders by Friday, May 9th.  We’ve offered these wines at special pricing for this offer.  If we buy extra wines, and they go on the shelves, they will do so at higher prices.


If you have made it all the way to the end of this introduction, we applaud your concentration and dedication.  Honestly, these are ridiculously good wines that we can’t recommend enough!


Have a great weekend,


Craig & Sheb


About 2012:


2012 is described by Clive Coates as, “…quality-wise – 2012 has turned out, not merely ‘all right’, but really very good indeed, if not perhaps even very fine.” For the winemakers in the Côte d’Or, 2012 presented many challenges, the most trying of which was a cool, wet, and downright miserable spring. Fortunately, the Côtes de Nuits was spared the unrelenting hailstorms that devastated their neighbors further south, especially in the village of Volnay. The vintage was saved by a relatively calm August and September, but the ravages of the spring left very little fruit to harvest. As a result, there is very little wine to offer.



Domaine Bruno Clavelier:


Domaine Bruno Clavelier is located in Vosne-Romanée, and often gets overlooked due to his famous neighbors (DRC, Leroy & Méo-Camuzet, to name a few). His wines are a compelling combination of aromatic elegance and profound depth. Bruno has been an unflappable advocate of organic farming and preserving bio-diversity in a region that is, frankly, dominated by one pursuit. He was a major contributor to a development in the use of pheromones as an alternative to chemical pesticides and this technique has been adopted all throughout Burgundy. Bruno’s wine are made for the long haul, although they are generous and pleasurable, even in their infancies.




2012 Domaine Bruno Clavelier Aligoté


Working with yet another ( see below) grape rare for the Côte de Nuits, Bruno makes a superb Aligoté Doré from 85+ year old vines which he describes as having “notes of citrus and exotic fruits (pineapple) but it can also age for a few years to evolve into more complex flavors”. A great example of white wine from this region.


$28.99/ BTL.



2012 Domaine Bruno Clavelier Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains


Passe-tout-grains falls under the same umbrella as Bourgogne Rouge, but it is a type of Burgundy we see less and less these days. It requires a minimum of 30% Pinot Noir and 15% Gamay, and also allows for white varieties.


There is very little Gamay left on the Côte de Nuits, and what is left is often made into simple wine for harvesters to drink, but Bruno has a plot of old vines Gamay & Pinot Noir (75+ years) which he directs into this cuvée. The blend is 90% Pinot Noir & 10% Gamay.


$27.99/ BTL.



2012 Domaine Bruno Clavelier Vosne-Romanée “La Combe Brûlée”


Stony, well-drained soils contribute to finesse coupled with power in this special single vineyard. These are 85+ years old vines, to the west and above Grand Échezeaux.






2012 Domaine Bruno Clavelier Vosne-Romanée “Les Beaux-Monts 1er Cru” 


Situated on the border of Chambolle & Vosne, this is one of Bruno’s most powerful and structured wines, yet always tender, with a supple, velvety texture.






2012 Bruno Clavelier Chambolle-Musigny “La Combe d’Orveau 1er Cru”


The original planting for the vines here in this well-situated plot right above Le Musigny, was 1930, with additional pantings in 1992. Fine, perfumed and deep.






2012 Domaine Bruno Clavelier Corton Grand Cru “Rognet”


The vines here were re-planted in 1999 and Bruno’s plot has good altitude. A plush style that he describes as offering a “… velvety character (peach, candied fruits, figs) with ample charm, punctuated by smoky (ham) nuances and punctuated by a fine minerality in the finish.”





Domaine Humbert Frères 


The brothers Humbert, in Gevrey-Chambertin, are creating wines that reflect an old-school, uncompromising style of Burgundian winemaking that has fallen by the wayside. Their holdings in the north, close to Brochon contains some of the oldest vines planted on roche mère (mother rock) and this is the place where Gevrey becomes dense and tannic. The brothers work in a reductive style, insuring long-lived wines that will reward patient buyers. Cousin Bernard Dugat-Py is right next door.




2012 Humbert Frères Gevrey-Chambertin “Poissenot 1er Cru”


A fantastic, south-facing hillside vineyard on light, stony soil. An extension of the Estournelles vineyard. Only around 4,000 bottles produced per year.






2012 Humbert Frères Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru


One of the most beautiful examples from this Grand Cru vineyard that borders Mazoyères. The Humbert vines are over 50 years-old on average. Only about 1,000 bottles are produced per year.




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