It was a pleasure to talk with Aurore Monot-Devillard, co-owner of Château de Chamirey, about the history of the domain and her family. She transported us to the terroirs of Mercurey, where Chamirey produces cuvées of the crispest character.
Château de Chamirey came into being in the 18th century, but it was only in 1934 that the Marquis de Jouennes d’Herville, grandfather of the current owners, took up the château and decided to make wine on site. This was a shake-up in an era where Burgundy wines tended to be made by négoces. As the years went on, this domain gained both in size and in popularity, cultivating vines across 37 hectares of fine Mercurey terroirs. Today, Aurore and Amaury Devillard steer the ship with their father Bertrand.
The domain stands out for the quality of its produce, and also for how big it is! The appellation’s largest domain, it grows 27 hectares of Pinot Noir and 10 of Chardonnay, 15 of which are premier cru parcels like “La Mission”. In the vineyard itself, many a regional tradition is respected, and we find 10,000 vines per hectare. This is high-density cultivation compared to other wine regions, and it ensures the highest possible quality in produce. Sustainable methods are used at the domain and 90% of the harvest is carried out by hand; the latter takes place as late in the season as possible, when the grapes are at optimal ripeness. They must carry the estate’s signature style all the way through.
In the winery, the reds go through three key stages: pre-fermentary maceration, fermentation, then another maceration. These macerations – during which time the grape juice is kept in contact with the skins of the fruit – allow the most colour, flavour, and tannin to be extracted, making for a wine that is complex and nicely balanced.
As for the whites, these undergo malolactic fermentation in vats or casks depending on the aromatic palette sought by the producers. Matured for 11 months in casks, Chamirey’s Chardonnay is flavourful, fresh, and has gorgeous length on the palate.
Mercurey suffers from a bit of underestimation compared to its illustrious Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits neighbours, and the appellation owes much to the Devillard family for their efforts in shifting it out of a ‘lowly’ renown. In a constant search for new ways to do things, and to do them with the talent at hand, the domain has opened its doors to wine tourism by organising visits, tastings, and even cooking classes that pair their cuvées with delicious dishes. Since 2011, Aurore and Amaury have been owners of a holiday rental property just on the edge of the vineyard.
The family has their fingers in many wine-soaked pies, owning several other estates in the region. Domaine de la Ferté and Domaine des Perdrix can be found at iDealwine, and there’s also the Domaine de la Garenne to add to the list! Wanting to branch out beyond their beloved Burgundy, the siblings have since also started working on Domaine Rolet in the Jura…One to keep an eye on, we reckon!