Domaine Chevillon Passetoutgrain
Wine: Domaine Chevillon Bourgogne Passetoutgrain
Grapes: Pinot Noir, Gamay
Way back in the day, when I worked as a server in a hip West Village eatery a mere three days a week, I spent the other four days waist-high in the thick world of wine facts. I read, mostly, and tasted, a lot. Everything was novel and fascinating, and I found new favorite regions and styles each week. One of those early favorites was the Bourgogne Passetoutgrain. It's a blend from Burgundy that we don't see very often. This one might be the first I've encountered in Alabama. I still find the process fascinating and the wine, especially from a stellar producer like Domaine Chevillon, impressive.
Passetoutgrain translates roughly to "throw it all in," referring, I suppose, to the idea of chucking in what you've got left from the vintage. At least that's the hazy memory floating around my head. Actually, the rules are that it can only be made from pinot noir and gamay grapes, with pinot noir making up at least 30% of the blend. They are intended to be drunk young, as bistro or field guzzlers. I have read that some of these are wildly gamey when young but mellow into refined drinkers. This one is certainly the later.
Brothers Bertrand and Denis Chevillon are fifth generation winemakers and grape growers on their family's estate in Nuit-Saint-Georges (NSG), a region in the northern part of Burgundy known for incredible reds. The brothers' father, Robert, helped establish the domaine as one of the best in NSG for his powerful 1er crus. They make eight cru wines and another handful of Bourgogne whites and reds. The Passetoutgrain grapes come from 45 year old vines on a little over half a hectare (about one acre) in clay/limestone soils.
The Domaine Chevillon Bourgogne Passetoutgrain 2011 is showing the best of both worlds: juicy, ripe cherry fruit and rustic pinot flavors only this part of the world can produce. On the nose, ripe and dried cherries, a bit of game and fresh earth, float from a ruby red hue. On the palate, more delicious cherry fruit and mineral tones accompanied by bright acidity and firm, smooth tannins. A lingering finish keeps the attraction strong. I love it with Camembert cheese and charcuterie and alone on a summer evening.