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Starting from the Northern part of Cote d’Or, Gevrey-Chambertin is considered the first portion of the finest vineyards in the area. The largest commune in Burgundy by size, Gevrey-Chambertin often “competes” with Vosne Romanee as the most influential appelation. One aspect that Gevery-Chambertin always wins though is its higher number of grand crus (nine in total) vs. Vosne Romanee’s eight.

These nine grand crus take up ~90 hectare of land (out of total 530 hectare) in Gevrey-Chambertin. Yet, wine produced from these prestigious vineyards only account for ~2% of annual production volume (2600 hectolitres out of total ~140,000 hectolitres) from the commune.

While these nine grand crus generally display characters of Gevrey-Chambertin, their tastes are subtly different. Clive Coates, MW summed up their differences nicely below.
- Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Beze generally full, firm, rich and masculine
- Ruchottes-Chambertin and Mazis-Chambertin are less structured, but pure and intense
- Chapelle-Chambertin and Griotte-Chambertin show hint of red fruits and appear more silky
- Charmes-Chambertin and Mazoyeres-Chambertin are softer and feminine
- Latricieres-Chambertin is coarser and more spicy

The crown jewel of all is certainly Chambertin. Often referred as the “wine of king”, Chambertin is renowned to be THE choice of wine for Napoleon. Napoleon even brought his Chambertin wines with him on his military campaigns, including on his quest to Russia. On the retreat from Russia, his cellar was reported stolen and many Napoleon’s Chambertin “returned from Russia” and leaked into public market. These so-called Chambertin wines (turned out to be mostly fake) flooded the market, with volume being the production volume of several vintages! Guess fake Lafite in China is just repeating the story here…

Here’s another funny story on Napoleon and Chambertin. Napoleon was not a foodie – he was not too picky on his food. His favorites were plain roasted meat, sautéed chicken, fried food, pastries and pasta with parmesan cheese. Nothing fancy. Guess how he usually consumes his wine?

Napoleon drank his Chambertin almost daily, but heavily diluted with water! Anybody wanna try the king’s way of drinking Chambertin?

Written by Wine Monopole — January 07, 2013

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