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Côte de Nuits in the year 640 AD as a monastic property. In 1219 it passed to the canons of Langres, who retained ownership until the Revolution of 1789. The name Chambertin has been used since the 13th century and once shared imperial approval with Clos de Bèze - Napoleon would drink nothing else. Its boundaries have not changed since the Middle Ages. In recognition of their similarity, the 7 " Climats " adjoining those of Chambertin and Clos de Bèze attach the name Chambertin to their own names (except in the case of Clos de Bèze where the name Chambertin comes first). Grand Cru status was officially granted on 31 July 1937.
This hill-slope lies on hard rocks. On the upper portion are brown soils, partly alluvial, partly scree, and some tens of centimetres deep. Lower down are clay-limestone soils in varying proportions. Up-slope, the rocks are of bathonien origin, lower down the marls and limestones belong to the Jurassic (Bajocian) and numerous marine fossils are to be found on the surface, recalling the sea which covered this area some 150 million years ago.
Charmes Chambertin vineyard is situated on the east facing slope between Mazoyères Chambertin Grand Cru, Latricières Chambertin and Chambertin Grand Cru. "Charmes" is derived from "Chaume", meaning "subtle" or "thatch" indicating the former presence of a field of grain.
The Grands Crus of Gevrey-Chambertin are iconic Pinot Noir wines ; powerful, virile, complex and intense. They demand equally complex, hightoned dishes to keep the pairing in balance. Feathered game (grilled or, better still, in wine sauce) will, of course, be a worthy companion. The power of the wine's tannins will withstand the shock of contrasting textures while its aromatic complexity and above all its opulence will bring out the differences. Roast lamb in gravy, chicken in red wine sauce, glazed poultry, and rib steak will also benefit from the match, not forgetting soft-centred cheeses which will get strong support from the wine's power and aromatic persistence.
Serving temperature : 15 to 16 °C.
1990 VINTAGE in Burgundy
This is probably the vintage of reference for many people in Burgundy. Exceptional climatic conditions allowed an abundant crop to mature perfectly and yield some most sensational wines in both red and white. The white wines have maintained their elegant aromas and freshness which has made them even more appealing, whilst the reds are concentrated and well built with tannins which remain firm but smooth. To be enjoyed for many years to come.
The drought that had plagued farming in 1989 again took its toll in many parts of France in 1990 with the notable exception of the best vineyards in France, including those of Burgundy.This year in the vineyards of the Côte d'Or the weather conditions resembled those of the French Riviera.
At this time, the natural sugar level in the Corton Charlemagne was 14 degrees and in the best vineyards of Corton Grancey the famous "degré 13" was consistently attained. Monsieur Duvaud-Blochet, a famous wine-grower of the 19th century, theorized on this rarely obtained level of sugar declaring that it was undeniably the bench-mark of quality.
A long awaited brief period of rain at the end of August really saved the vintage. The return of sunshine after this short spell of bad weather allowed an already abundant crop to perfectly mature and to yield a considerable quantity of very high quality wines in both reds and whites.
This however does not mean that all 1990 wines will be good. Over-production in some cases, picking prematurely in others, and also the consequences of drought on some slopes had an effect on quality.
The fact remains that all regions of Burgundy have benefitted from three successive fine vintages. 1990 is surely the biggest in size and of a quality which is at least equal to that of 1989.
It is not impossible that in due course we will see the best of the 1990 being of the quality of some of the excellent vintages of the past like `64 and possibly even `59.
It is of the utmost importance for Burgundy to be in a position to offer such a selection of fine wines from recent vintages. The 1988's are still a little austere but are beginning to show all the qualities of a classic vintage. The 89's are plentiful and rich for the whites, charming and easygoing for the reds and the 90's could well be a combination of both.
Nobody knows as yet what will be the effects on prices. What is sure is that any expectation of further price increases is obviously denied by the wine- growers. A healthy decline in the prices compared to those paid last year would be welcomed by the Trade and accepted by them. In due course this will be reflected in the quotations and will help Burgundy to recover its share of the world fine wine markets.