It has been our pleasure to know Juliette Chenu for many years. She used to work at Château du Trignon in Gigondas, and we always enjoyed dropping in to meet her, getting up to date with the news of vineyards and tasting the new wines. A few years ago she left Trignon to join her sister Caroline at the generation-old family domaine of Louis Chenu et Père in Savigny-les-Beaune. This is situated in the fabled Côte d’Or, just outside Beaune. Together the two sisters have moved this respected Burgundy domaine on to another level.
Situated only a few minutes walk from the picturesque Château de Savigny-les-Beaune, the Chenu vineyard is made up from 9 hectares, which includes three Premier Cru plots. The oldest vines are 60 years old. These are not big, over-extracted wines. The sisters prefer to make an elegant style of Burgundy, highlighting the fruit and the terroir, and while they use oak to age wines, the influence is to enhance development and not to impart oaky flavours to the wines.
Caroline and Juliette
Caroline is responsible for the vineyard and wines, while Juliette manages the marketing. In the autumn of 2009 we visited to taste their new wines and we were immediately bowled over by the 2009 white and the 2007 reds. The 2007 vintage is a lovely soft, early drinking vintage. They are wines of soft, berry-like fruit yet with the finesse and freshness, that underlines their femininity.
This year we have moved up a league in quality and chosen only their best reds wines, three Premier Crus – from specially selected sites that are entitled to the higher appellation.
Domaine Chenu Savigny Blanc 2008
As with all White Burgundy, this barrel fermented wine is made from 100% Chardonnay. It has a gentle toasted brioche nose, while on the palate there are flavours of nuts, apples and honey, with a hint of vanilla and good acidity. Lovely to drink now, but it is continuing to develop and will last another few years easily.
Domaine Chenu 1er Cru Aux Clous 2007
As with most Red Burgundy the colour is medium in depth. On the nose there is a hint of oak, lovely Pinot Noir perfume, and on the palate there is nice concentration, lovely silkiness, elegance and complexity. Ready to drink now and over the next two years..
Domaine Chenu 1er Cru Les Lavières 2007
This is slightly paler in colour, but has a lovely nose of strawberries and violets, while on the palate there is greater concentration, roundness, softer fruit and a perfumed elegance, with good length. A very feminine wine.
Domaine Chenu 1er Cru Les Hauts Jarrons 2007
This is slightly deeper in colour than the other two wines, it has more vinous nose, with greater concentration, more structure, with damsony fruit, hints of cloves, some soft tannin at the finish and great length. Of the three, this will improve the most with a couple of years bottle age