Domaine Rossignol-Trapet, Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Petite Chapelle 1999-2012

I tasted with the brothers Nicolas and David Rossignol.

The climat is actually Champitonois. It lies under Chapelle and also called Petite Chapelle. The latter is of course the name you will see on the label. The soil is rich, deep and sticky. “Clay soil, more like our Corbeaux,” says Nicolas. It is soil which kept its reserves in the hot 2015 vintage. (Note that the top right corner where Domaine Humbert Frères have a parcel, the soil is shallower.)

Chapelle has a thin top soil. The difference in these adjoining vineyards is a fault that lies between them.

Petite Chapelle has later maturity, so they tend to leave it for later harvesting, although not as long as Latricières, which is the last climat they harvest.

Gevrey village and En La Chapelle were the first climats under organic cultivation followed by Petite Chapelle. This has been managed organically since 1999. It was initially on cordon de royat pruning, but in the last 3 years 50% has been moved to guyot. “It was vigorous and we slowed it with the cordon,” says David. “It was replanted after winter frost of 1985 killed the vines, so it’s 30 years old now. At first the clones were too vigorous, but not now. We planted with clones 113, 114 and 115. The upper side is still cordon royat. The pips in the grapes were bigger in the cordon vines, but now we have smaller normal pips.”

In 2006 Aubert de Villaine established the Foundation of Pinot Noir 2006 with the help of Denis Fetzmann. Many great domaines help support this foundation which is a repository of pinot noir vine material. These include de Vogue, Meo-Camuzet, Lafarge, Dujac, Roumier, Rousseau etc. “It is time consuming and takes a very long time to see the results,” says David. “We need 15 years minimum. We have 600 different Pinot Noir clones and 200-250 of Chardonnay. All very old vines. Most of which have been ripped out from the vineyards and only this conserves them. It’s so important to keep the genetic material.”

Pre 2003 at Domaine Rossignol-Trapet the brothers used to extract using pigeage. Now only remontage is used and only for a gentle infusion. Once a day with good aeration. They have always used 25% stems, but have increased the percentage to 30-50%.

What is remarkable about their Petits Chapelle is the energy. When I tasted the 2015s, a hot vintage, it was striking. I was pleased that this was the climat David and Nicolas had selected to use for a vertical tasting.

After the tasting David had to leave, but Nicolas and I chatted for a while and these were his thoughts.

“For me to see the same terroir in different vintages is interesting. 2000 and 2003 and 2008 are a good surprise. I thought 2002 it would be better. 1999 a good surprise. 2007 not as good as I hoped.”

“Petite Chapelle is known as one of the best premier crus together with Clos-Saint-Jacques. Chapelle is not one the top grand crus, but always a good one. In Petite Chapelle we saw a big change with biodymanics. Before this it was delicate and feminine in my father’s and grandfather’s day. But since biodynamics we’ve seen a change in the depth, the tannins and the energy here. We notice especially the energy here. We do not need to extract much if we are to keep elegance.”

“I think Gevrey-Chambertin is famous for the quality of the clay. This is what the geologists tell us. The clay is layered and the water can go between the layers like a millefeuille. We have water and elements (nitrogen etc) instead of the cream! We have several situations with the clay. In Bourgogne the quality of the clay is low, while in Petits Chapelle the quality of the clay is amazing – like the leaves of a book. We can see the personality of each vintage very well. I think we would not see this with Combottes, as the sandy soil makes the differences in each vintage less obvious.”


Tasting Notes 

This tasting took place in March 2017 and was published in the Burgundy Briefing Vintage Report 2017.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle, 2012
About 50% whole bunch. This is beginning to pale a little. Ripe strawberry notes on the nose. Rich aroma, juicy and still very fruity. Plentiful, rich and velvet tannins. It has flesh and sumptuousness in the middle. Rounded, full and soft. It is fresh and fruity onto the finish. As this has no hard edges, you could practically drink it now, but of course it would benefit from ageing. I would wait at least another 5 years, but will age much longer 10+. Score 18

“We have the freshness and energy and the tannins from the clay,” says Nicolas
“Usually the wines have density in Petit Chapelle, we need ripe grapes to give the sweetness,” adds David.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2011
This has a brighter red hue than the 2012. Up-toned red fruit. Crunchy red cherry notes. Smells of a cooler year. Quite light and elegant on the attack. Supple, soft ripe tannins. Straight structure. Nice freshness. Pink peppercorn on the finish. It has a very appealing peppery snap on the end…It is slim and trim. A lighter, more elegant face of Chapelle. You could drink this now for its fruit, but it will become more interesting over the next 3-5 years. Score 17.85

“The tannins are quite ripe and it is easy to drink and taste now. If you can keep for 3 to 4 years and it will be softer,” says Nicolas.

David remarks, “I like this style of wine as you can finish the bottle – easily.”

*Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2010
Beautiful bright colour. Quite tight on the nose. The first impression is silky and juicy. Excellent intensity. More of everything here; there is richness, layering and tension. Very compact and layered. Such energy. Very bight acidity. Plentiful tannins which are strong, but sophisticated. It has a lively and very long finish. There is a certain vibration to this wine. I would wait another 4 or 5 years from 2021/22. Top notch. Score 18.6 From 2022

David, “Great potential. Good energy”
“Very compact,” says Nicolas.

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2009
The colour has a much browner hue than the bright red of the 2010 and of the colder vintages in general. The aromas of vintage burst from the glass. This smells of a sunny vintage. There is rich, full, ripe summer fruits with notes of ripe Victoria plum. Immediately a big, rich impact on the palate. Full-bodied. Thick texture with creamy chocolate notes. Lots of tannins and they have a more umami flavour – they are not as sweet or fine as the 2010. Rich aromatic spices on the finish. Decent acidity, fair and balanced. It is voluptuous. You should wait as it would benefit from slimming down and gaining some composure and it will continue to develop over the following decade or more. From 2020/22 Score 18.5

David comments, “The opposite style to the 2010. The 2010 is pure and has energy and straighter.”
“You should leave this too. The vintages are very different, but can age for 15-20 years,” Nicolas says. “The terroir is like a diamonds with different facets in different vintages.”

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2008
About a 1/3 whole bunch. This has a darker hue, showing a little age on the rim. Dark spice aroma…touch of marmite/umami, but also some red fruit. Very bright spring onto the palate. It is lighter, quite trim, a touch leafy maybe…but in a good way. It is energetic. Crisp acidity. There is an attractive bitter twang. The tannins are certainly present, firm, but not too many of them and they are not hard. they are surprisingly fine for 2008. Plenty of freshness on the finish. This is a good 2008. The fruit is leafier, but not at all green, more zesty, spicy and cranberry notes.
David and Nicolas would wait 10 years. I am not so sure. I would venture to try this now – decanted – or wait another maybe 3 years, but it will certainly develop for more than another 10 years. 17.65. A very good 2008. Just as it should be.

Nicola Rossignol recounts how they sold 1972 magnums of a straight village Gevrey in the 90s to the Queen’s ship. “It was a high acid vintage (like 2008) and was still very fresh.”

Nicolas says, “We used less stems in 2008 maybe 25% and it was a late harvest. We had to wait for the harvest, to catch the maturity.”

“For us,” says David “this level of tannin is good. The tannins are fine. It is not good to have high tannins and high acidity.”

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2007
Showing age on the colour, fading and a touch orange. Forrest floor aromas. On the nose much more developed than the 2008. Silky and flowing onto the palate. It is light and elegant. Ready to drink now, I would not keep it as I think the tannins might dry out a little. The tannins are a bit present on the finish. It is light and elegant and at the perfect moment. Score 17.

“To drink now. This has a nice expressive nose with good balance of each element” says David. I like the term forrest floor. We like wild notes, but not animal. It was easy to taste young and then 4 years ago it was difficult. Now we prefer the 2007 now, as it is not a young wine, but drink now as it is easy and pleasurable.”

“It is a photograph of a moment,” says Nicolas. “It’s not tastings as well as I expected.”

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2005
Stronger colour than the 2007, but a pale rim. Deep and rich and strong, fresh and fruit driven aroma. A youthful aroma. Both red and dark fruits. Powerful strike. Dense, compact and layered. Plenty of acidity; plenty of tannins. They are bold tannins, accentuated by the fresh acidity. There is depth and intensity and a very powerful finish. From 2022/25. Top notch. My favourite better than the 2010. It will develop over 20 years or more. Score 18.7

“We kept 2005 to try with our grandchildren. It will last for 40-50 years. Density, energy..the tannins are plentiful but not hard…” says David.

Nicolas “2005 was the first year we were certified organic. But we were working this way since 2000.”

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2003
Surprisingly good colour still. Forrest floor and grilled nuts. Very pinot-ish. Some floral notes too. Sweet on the front palate. Rich and soft and velvety tannins. Juicy in the middle, soft and rounded. Despite the low acidity it is not at all lethargic. It finishes on a somewhat more dry tannic note, but this would be fine with food. The energy gives the balance, because the acidity is low, is surprisingly good. It is appetising. Better than the 2007.

Nicolas says “only infusion so we have no dry tannins. With 2003 we understood with biodynamics we have no prob with acidity – if not acidity, it is energy.”

David adds, “we prefer ripe fruit, even if there is less acidity, we have the energy with the biodynamics. See it in the 2003. The acidity is low, but we have the balance. The 2003 will be good for 10 plus years more.”

“You must trust – have the confidence.. in Burgundy, many said drink it in 3 years, but no”

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2002
Browning colour, watery rim. Notes of nuts and marmite, touch of cocoa, and some violets. spicy notes…spice market..liquorish…but still holding back on the nose…more to give. Silky, fluid, very elegant. Ripples on the palate, lively thread of acidity through the wine. Very elegant. The tannins are fine, powdery and the finish is long, refined and intense. Just a delight. Fine fresh lift at the end. Score 18.7 Fantastic.

“Decant it now,” says David “and then it will become even more expressive.”
“It is on the boarder of the new and older wine..a good introduction to a more mature wine,” Nicolas

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2001
They have no bottles

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 2000 magnum
They have not tasted this for 12 years!
Showing deeper colour. Sweet and more evolved. There is a touch of hoof; sweetness of new mown hay. On the palate fully mature too. It is ripe, tastes of warm strawberry fields and fresh toast. Rounded and gently curvaceous. On the finish is a just nicely fresh enough. Now it would be delicious. Score 17.5

“we were using some pigeage in this vintage and maybe this gave it some structure,” says David.

“It is is not ridiculous, not a great vintage, but interesting…quite good now and pleasurable…” adds Nicolas.

*Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 1999
Orange hue. This has a gorgeous perfume, liquorish and violets. It glides elegantly onto the palate. There is an excellent balance of sweet fruit and acidity wrapped up in silky tannins. Plenty of tannins. There is freshness and intensity and grip on the finish. Lots of matter. lively acidity at the end. This has so much vigour. If anything there is a bit of muscle still to resolve, so you could wait for another few years. Still on an upward curve. Score 18.5 5 years.
David remarks, “this more like the Chambertin in its energy and vigour.”
Nicolas, “Yes but less than Chambertin – the nose is evolved but the palate is not…”

Gevrey-Chambertin, Petite Chapelle 1993 magnum
This has a brown hue. This is expressive and surprisingly intense. A complex aroma. Dark chocolate, marmite and mineral…coal note umami. Svelte onto the palate. It is juicy and lively in the middle. Bright and zesty onto the finish with orange zest and white pepper. Finesse to the tannins. Maybe not quite as good as the 1999, but such and interesting wine. Very well balanced. This is perfect now. Score 18.

Nicolas would prefer to age it.
These were just young vines of just 7 years old. The frost killed the 25 year old vines.