Claude Dugat Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques 1er Cru

2008 – $12,000.

2015 – $13,200.





The 2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux Saint-Jacques was maybe not quite as expressive on the nose as the Gevrey premier cru at the moment, although it began to open, offering black cherry and blackcurrant leaf scents, entwined with a touch of cold stone. The palate is medium-bodied with exquisite delineation, lovely poise and elegance here, gently building to a very nuanced and yet composed, harmonious finish. This just comes across as being so natural. This is the best Lavaux Saint-Jacques produced from Domaine Dugat.

My tasting at Domaine Claude Dugat may have been brief, since there are just half-a-dozen labels and all the barrels are literally next to each other. However, this was one of my most exciting visits, one of those where you could really see the domaine changing tack, resulting in wines that surpass practically everything that I have tasted before (wishing no disrespect to Claude). I met with Claude’s son Bernard Dugat, who works alongside his sister Laetitia, who must be given much credit since she is out there in the vines, which is where quality begins. (There is one other younger sister who works at the florist in Gevrey.) “We harvested from 2 September and then over the next six days. I would rather pick too early than too late and accept higher acidity. I am an energetic person…I guess I like energetic wines. The alcohol levels were 12% to 12.5%. It is important to keep things simple. We have just changed a couple of things with regard to leaf cover and stopping all chaptalization.” It’s not that Claude’s offspring have radically altered everything at the domaine that bears his name. As Bernard told me, he was never forced into winemaking, but together with his sister, naturally took up the pruning sheers or the pipette. The crucial sentence is Bernard’s comment that he would rather pick too early than too late, a sentiment that I doubt Claude would have ever espoused, since he sought wines with body and density. The wines are now much more precise and tensile, much more terroir specific and I am certain they will age as well, if not more so, than those under Claude’s direction. When it came to wines such as the Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin, they were quite simply the best that I have ever tasted at the address, but even the Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru would show a few growers’ auspicious grand crus, how it’s down. This will be one of the most fascinating domaines to visit in the future. For now, try to lay your hands on whatever Dugat 2015s you can.