Capitain-Gagnerot Echezeaux Grand Cru 2015
Grand Cru Echezeaux is mythical and rare, and in the right hands can reach near perfection. Intense and alive with black cherry and cocao, it is fine and velvety and finishes on dark bitter chocolate. The vineyard is relatively new to the Maison Capitain, but their long experience with a classy holding in the Clos Vougeot puts them in the neighborhood. It's a jewel in the Capitain crown. Never a hesitation!
ECHEZEAUX and GRANDS ECHEZEAUX
COTE DE NUITS
The village of Flagey-Échezeaux lies in the plain between Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée in the Côte de Nuits. Facing east, the Grands-Échezeaux vines are a prolongation of Musigny following the axis of the Côte. At the bottom end, the Combe d'Orveau separates them from Musigny. The Échezeaux vineyards divide the Clos de Vougeot from the premiers crus vines of Vosne-Romanée. Like the Clos de Vougeot (from which they are separated only by a wall), these vineyards were founded by the monks of the abbey of Cîteaux and date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Producing commune: Flagey-Echezeaux.
Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux are red wines only. Generally ruby in color, with darker purpley tones in youth. Classic Cote de Nuits spice and undergrowth aromas, with concentrated plum notes, almost prune, that evolve as musky, leathery and mushroomy. When young it is floral with fresh fruit cherry. These wines can be dense and tight to start out, giving way as the tannins soften (usually 4-5 years) to full round flavors.
Geologically jurassic, the Grands Echezeaux vineyards are fairly homogeneous and lie close to the upper part of the Clos de Vougeot at 250 meters and on a slight gradient. The soil is clay-limestone overlying bajocien limestone. The Échezeaux climats have more diverse soils (largely bajocien marls with pebbly overlay). Altitudes vary from 230 to a little over 300 meters with a 13% gradient at mid-slope. The upper slope soil is deep (70-80 cm). Gravel, red alluvium and yellow marl make up a complex sub-soil.
Red wines only - Pinot Noir
Production surface area :
Area under production* :
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Echezeaux : 34.79 ha
Grands Echezeaux : 7.53 ha
Wines so full and powerful should be served with full and powerful dishes. Autumnal and winter dishes of game and roast meats will match the meatiness of these wines. Soft-centered cows' milk cheeses will work well.
On the label, the words Grand Cru must appear directly below the name of either appellation in letters of exactly the same size.
The following specific vineyards, known as climats, are classified as Echezeaux Grand Cru:
Echézeaux du Dessus
Les Beaux Monts Bas (partly premier cru)
Les Champs Traversins
Les Cruots ou Vignes Blanches
Les Quartiers de Nuits
Les Rouges du Bas
BURGUNDY 2015 VINTAGE
We have resisted writing the Elden Selections Burgundy 2015 harvest report until now (April 2017), mainly to let the hub-bub and hyperbole settle down, but more importantly to be sure that the claims we are about to make are justified. We’ve seen too many vintages vaunted as ‘the year of the century’, when really the wines simply showed well young. Burgundy 2015 is a truly extraordinary vintage. The reds are rich, ripe, balanced and powerful. And from all over the region they express chiseled, focused terroir. Despite their youthful seductive charm, these are wines to keep, with serious ripe tannins already melted into explosive fruit.
Comparisons have been drawn with the 2005 vintage, though there is more concentration in the 2015s than in the 2005s. Like a caterpillar changing to a butterfly, great vintages often go to sleep in the bottle. And 2005 is just reawakening from several ‘dumb’ years. It’s been worth the wait. The wines have metamorphosed. 2015 might be similar. And if the comparison is apt, investors in 2015 should appreciate the youthful beauty of this great vintage now, but be prepared to be patient.
That said, 2005 was no ‘year of the century’. But 2015 is also being compared to 1990, which arguably was. And I hear that Michel Lafarge, one of Burgundy’s respected elders, says he remembers drinking 1929s, and he draws parallels. The whites are a bit more uneven, and early reports claimed that the vintage lacks acidity. Certainly, these are wines which are riper and more luxuriant than the exquisite purity of 2014 white Burgundy. But there is no risk that well-made wines will be overly ample or flabby. The best wines will have benefited from the barrel. Comparisons are drawn to 1985, one of the great vintages in white.
The heterogeneity in 2015 white Burgundy is due to the tricky growing season, which was mostly hot and dry, but which cooled significantly in September. Was it better to pick early or late? And did the wine deserve more or less barrel aging? These are questions which will be answered producer-by-producer, bottle-by-bottle over the coming years. But what is clear is that they 2015s are concentrated, fresh and structured.
We believe that to understand a vintage, it is important to look at the weather. Because Burgundy is a single-grape wine, the only thing that changes from year to year in a producer’s vineyard is the weather. So we look for patterns and try to analyze what makes a good year, a bad year…and in this case, an excellent year.
The winter of 2014-2015 was uneventful. It was never really cold, but when it was, it was dry. Mostly it was mild, so we had more rain than snow. We would need the replenished water reserves in the long hot summer ahead.
April was warm and dry, and bud-burst took place early. Mornings in May were sunny, afternoons cloudy, and overall cool and dry. The vines began to flower in the last week of the month, so we knew we were looking at a harvest in early to mid-September.
In early July, the mood started to mount towards hopeful. The weather had been steady, dry and cool. But slowly during the month, temperatures began to rise, and in the last week of July hit 30C. The flowering had been successful, so there was a good crop on the vines.
Day after day of warm dry conditions brought drought considerations into play. But no hail for once! August continued in this way. Hot and dry. A little welcome rain later in the month, but just enough to keep the stress levels down. But no storms or hail. And extremely healthy fruit on the vine. No rot, no mildew, no odium. The mood was optimistic, even euphoric.
Harvest ostensibly started the first Monday of September. And days later the weather broke, and a cool period set in for ideal harvest conditions, stabilizing acidity levels. It stayed this way until September 12th when the first serious rain in two months fell in the southern part of the region. Harvest was disrupted for a few days, but the 19th, it was pretty much all over.