Opening a Bottle: Olivier Bernstein
Afocused, precise fleet of Pinot Noir from some of the Côte de Nuits’ very best vineyards in Vougeot, Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-St-Denis and most notably, Gevrey-Chambertin. Of the 10 wines they make, seven are Grand Cru while the other three are Premier Cru. In older vintages (2011 and before) you might stumble upon a little Chardonnay, although their focus at the moment is solely on Pinot Noir.
…AND WHY THEY STAND OUT
Let’s be clear: these wines are not affordable. On the low end, bottles cost $75 (for a village Gevrey-Chambertin). On the high end, $525 (a Grand Cru Chambertin).
After tasting their fleet of wines, I hesitated for four weeks on whether I should list them as Essential Winemakers due to these prices. But when the day is done, I can’t escape the fact that Oliver Bernstein makes some of the greatest Pinot Noir I have ever tasted. Even in a rushed, 45-minute tasting of their 2015 vintage, I couldn’t ignore the greatness of these wines. With all five wines, I wrote down the words “lively” and “energetic.” There seems to be a racehorse quality to the wines when they cross your palate. They are going somewhere and you better hold on if you want to join them. Red tea, black pepper and coniferous forests also kept appearing in my notes, all overlaying a core of black cherries and cranberry. While each vintage is different in terms of technical approach, the 2015 saw a considerable amount of whole-cluster fermentation. This seems to have aided in the development of each wine’s detail.
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