A Trip to Burgundy - Domaine Tortochot, February 2017

Winery based in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, renowned for its Premier Crus

Chantal Michel Tortochot, the 4th generation and winemaker of Domaine Tortochot in Gevrey-Chambertin, is probably the most important figure in the rising world of women winemakers in Burgundy. In the 1990s, retired from her financial career of 15 years in a petrol company, Chantal returned to wine school and joined her father Gabriel Tortochot, a fervent defender of Burgundy's wines, which she took as an obligation and, in a larger part, an honor. Similar to her father, Chantal has great passion to embody the blessed terroir of Gevrey-Chambertin through the hard work and deep respect for the mother land. But more enterprising than her father, she pushed Domaine Tortochot towards the organic practice and produced her first vintage of organic-certified wine in 2013.

Chantal Tortochot’s winemaking philosophy is honest yet extraordinary – ensuring the best quality of the grapes, the least manipulation in fermentation and aging of the wines and allowing the wine to grow in the bottle with time as the only accompaniment. The results are extraordinary too – delicate, graceful, complex but full of strength. They are however not for those with little patience (otherwise they should go for Tortochot’s fruity village wines to quench the thirst).

The most recognized works of Domaine Tortochot, which come from the celebrated Premier Cru vineyards in both Gevrey-Chambertin (Lavaux-Saint-Jacques and Les Champeaux) and Morey-Saint-Denis (Aux Charmes), require five to seven years of bottling before consuming. And the best examples from the four Grands Crus (Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin and Clos de Vougeot), which undergo 15-18 months of maturation in new French oak, require a minimum of 12 to 15 years to reach the maturity and can age well for up to 40 years or more.

In the past 20 years, Domaine Tortochot produced many outstanding vintages with five of them standing out, which are 1999, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2015. The vintage 2015 is an extremely good one – early bud breaking, successful flowering without disease, perfect rain in early August and a cooler and drier weather with a north wind afterward. All these conditions brought optimum maturity to the grapes and beautiful balance to the wine.

Left: The entrance plate of Domaine Tortochot (Photo courtesy: Alexander Choy) Right: The 4th generation and wine maker Chantal Michel Tortochot (Photo courtesy: Domaine Tortochot)

INSIDE THE WINEMAKING FACILITIES - Left: The vineyards map of Domaine Tortochot on the wall; Middle: New vintage of Gevrey-Chambertin Champerrier Vieilles Vignes, with good acidity and structure and firm tannins; Right: New vintage of Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux-Saint-Jacques, with herbaceous and spicy characters, a rich structure and elegant tannins (Photo courtesy: Alexander Choy)

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