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The November 2023 Auction: Part 4

Auction # 790 | View Auction Schedule and Details
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Auction Ends: 11/26/2023 6:00:00 PM PST

Lot #288. Domaine Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2015

Description: Consists of 1 Bottle, 0.75L
Score: 96 WA.
"Denis Bachelet's 2015 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes is brilliant, soaring from the glass with a dramatic bouquet of plum, wild berries, rose petal and orange rind, elegantly framed by creamy new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and multidimensional, with excellent depth and mid-palate dimension, incredibly velvety tannins, succulent acids and a long, saline finish. Despite this fabulously expansive Charmes's textural grace and refinement, considerable structure is lurking beneath the surface, and it will reward patience. Denis Bachelet is candid in expressing his preference for his 2016 vintage over his 2015s: he finds sunny, concentrated vintages such as 2015 less exuberant and graceful than cool vintages such as 2016. For all that, his 2015s are superb: their fruit ripe but succulent, their tannins refined, their aging potential considerable. While his 2016s will certainly be more rewarding in the near-term, when the patient test Bachelet's preference in two decades' time, the outcome will be far from certain. Note that the domaine has made a number of changes since the 2014 vintage, switching coopers (after some unsatisfactory barrels prevented the 2009 and 2010 vintages realizing their full potential) and diminishing the number of punch downs during maceration. A new cellar now makes work easier, too. Bachelet is very pleased with the results, finding the wines more accessible and transparent. Denis Bachelet has presided over a small portfolio of fabulous wines over many years now. Apart from a blip in the early 1990s, since he debuted his domaine in 1981, his wines have been unstintingly exquisite from the Bourgogne Rouge to his Charmes-Chambertin. What distinguishes this domaine in my eyes is the quality of his village crus. He just has the knack, takes them to another level and that is unequivocally the case this year. ‘Between March and July it was raining and afterwards there was just around 20mm to keep the vines maturing. But it was very dry. I commenced picking on 5 September and finished before the rain. There was no rot but the berries were very small, 3-5mm berry size. As usual, everything is de-stemmed. I did a cold maceration for 6-7 days and then during alcoholic fermentation I did two pigeages per day for the first half, and then during the second half one pigeage in the morning and remontage in the evening...’ I asked why Denis had changed his extraction, taken the foot off the pedal if you like, since up until 2014 he would do three pigeages per day. ‘I would like the wines to be more accessible,’ he replied. ‘The personality of the wines should reflect the terroirs.’ Denis will bottle his 2015s at the end of March just after the full moon. When I asked Denis the cliched question of how he would describe the 2015s, he replied: ‘Like 2009 with more matière [substance].’ The highlight for me was actually the Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles, which bowled me over with its energy and crystalline fruit, the altitude of the vineyard giving it an advantage over vineyards with higher status but perhaps warmer microclimates. In a sense, what I felt in 2015 was that a couple of his wines upped their game, specifically this and the superb Côte de Nuits-Villages. I mean, who says quality is hidebound to hierarchy? It is in the glass that counts. You could argue that unlike in other seasons, the 2015 Charmes-Chambertin did not assert its grand cru status over the rest, though it is more a case of ‘the rest’ just bringing their A-game. It's still a wonderful wine. Overall, 2015 is a great vintage for Denis Bachelet with some genuine surprises." William Kelley, Wine Advocate, Apr 2018
Provenance: The Artefact Cellar
Lot Location: Orange County
Estimate: $1,000

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