Bertrand Bachelet is a fourth-generation winemaker with the region of Maranges on his mind. Maranges is a relatively young appellation, officially recognised in 1988, and a region that generates considerable enthusiasm in Bachelet. Just south of Santenay, the appellation takes in the villages of Cheilly, Dezize and Sampigny and on the limestone slopes of Dezize is where Domaine Bertrand Bachelet sits, with views sweeping down over vines towards the village.
Growing up in the vineyard with his father, the rhythm of tending vines, harvesting fruit and making wines shaped the young Bachelet, perhaps making his choice of career a foregone conclusion. Formal study in Beaune preceded work in the Rhône and Rully before a return home to work alongside his father, eventually taking over the running of the estate in 2011. Originally in the name of Domaine Jean-Louis Bachelet, the estate was rebranded to Domaine Bertrand Bachelet thus signalling the passage from father to son.
Since taking over the domaine, Bachelet has increased holdings to now encompass 13 hectares of village and premier cru parcels running from Pommard to Maranges. Red wine dominates production in Maranges, and Bachelet has enjoyed success with wines from this region. In the 2014 Maranges Village, renowned critic Neal Martin finds “a well-crafted, delightful Maranges Village”, which he goes on to describe as possessing “a very attractive, pure bouquet with quite animated red cherry, red plum and briary scents that gently unfold in the glass…” At the premier cru level, Martin describes the 2016 Maranges La Fussière as having “much more vibrant and expressive black and blueberry fruit that is neatly integrated with the oak. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, well-judged acidity and a velvety smooth cassis and black cherry finish that hits the spot.”
Bachelet applies the principles of lutte raisonnée when managing the vines, with as little intervention in the winery as possible. For red wines, the fruit is partially or completely destemmed and a gentle extraction is employed, a technique particularly useful for Maranges fruit, which Bachelet says “can be quite sturdy so I try to bring out the fruit.” The amount of new oak will range from 20 – 50% according to the vineyard site.
White wine production is also an area of keen interest to Bachelet and the estate has devoted a small portion of vines in the La Fussière vineyard to Chardonnay, in addition to plantings in Santenay, Saint-Aubin, Mersault and Chassagne-Montrachet, the later consistently finding favour with Neal Martin. He describes the 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Village as “a lovely, pretty Chassagne Village!”. The wine was awarded 90 points, as was the 2014, in which Martin encounters “a fragrant, well defined bouquet with citrus fruit, pineapple, a little spice and walnut … impressive weight here, a keen line of acidity … it finishes skipping along, knowing that it has delivered a very delicious Chassagne Village.”
Clearly the wines of Domaine Bertrand Bachelet offer a delicious taste of Burgundy with each sip, making them well worth seeking out.