“Olivier Bernstein is a new name but one that is unlikely to be overlooked for long”
On friday I met the winemaker Olivier Bernstein in Berlin and I could taste part of his impressive 2009 collection and some older wines.
I was deeply impressed by the freshness, purity and precision in the wines. The 09s were sexy seductive and lovely to drink right now. The fruit is thankfully not clumsy or cooked&overripe with a viscous texture and a silky-elegant frame. In addition show a remarkable vivid acidity.
In 2002 Olivier Bernstein had founded a winery in the Roussillon called the Mas la Devèze. Bernstein attended the Lycée Viticole in Beaune and did a brief stage (internship) with the worldfamous Henri Jayer, also in 2002. In 2007, he elected to create a micro-négociant in Burgundy, his intention is to work only with premiers and grands crus where the vines are very old. He found vinyard owners with old vines in exceptional Premier- and Grand Cru terroirs, that he suggested to pay for the estimated full yield. The limited production has risen since then, from 8 000 bottles in 2007 and
12 000 bottles in 2008 to nowadays 33 000 bottles in 2009.
"«The 2009 vintage is exceptional, by which I mean not normal,» said Olivier Bernstein. «There’s a huge volume of tannins in the wines, and it’s not a typical Burgundy vintage.» Bernstein told me he began harvesting a week earlier than most of his neighbors, on September 7, and finished on September 13. «We wanted to preserve acidity,» he said. He also vinified with about 50% whole clusters. «The stems were ripe, and we wanted to compensate for the lower acidity and give more structure to the wines. Ultimately, the ‘09s will age on the quantity and quality of their tannins.»
Olivier Bernstein told me that “the big trick in 2009 was to figure out to keep the freshness because it was easy to lose it, either by harvesting too late or pushing the fruit too much during the vinification. I also think that it was very important to have long malos so that the wines would be protected by all of the car- bon dioxide. I picked relatively early, which is to say between the 7th and 12th of September and brought in extremely clean fruit that ranged in potential alcohols between 13 and 13.6%. As such, I chaptalized nothing.Yields were also quite good at around 35 hl/ha, which is high for me but low in the context of the vintage.The phenolic maturity of the fruit was also excellent and I elected to use an average of 50% whole clusters during the vinification.The extraction came quickly and easily and I did very little punching down or pumping over during the 18 day cuvaison.The malos did not finish until July and I have chosen not to rack them as I don’t want to lose any of the gas that is protecting them because if I do, I’ll have to replace it with SO2. Overall, I think that this is an exciting vintage that should appeal to everyone.” Bernstein had told me last year that he had reduced the proportion of new wood somewhat in 2008 and he did so again in 2009. From 100% in 2007 to 80% in 2008 to 70% in 2009."
(Info regarding the vintage 2009 by Allen Meadows&Stephen Tanzer )
2009 Gevrey-Chambertin Villages „by“
The ‚simple‘ Gevrey-Chambertin is showing an intense spicy fruit and equipped with supple and round tannins. Offers great drinking pleasure with a certain kind of elegance. Impressive balanced and a fine start in the portfolio. 11 000 bottles/55€
2007 Chambolle-Musigy 1er Cru „Les Lavrottes“
Quite firm and with rigor. Smoky, greasy and with a dense fruit. A bit too much oak. Needs a lot of air. First vintage!
2009 Chambolle-Musigy 1er Cru „Les Lavrottes“
Much more sublime than the 07 with a dense, juicy fruit and a good minerality. It lacks a bit of length&complexity. 2 700 bottles/ 108€
2009 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru „Les Champeaux“
WOW…let the party begin. Bewitching fruit and wonderfully polished. Silky texture with freshness and vivid acidity. 108€
2008 Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
Breathtaking perfume. Simply magic!
On the palate very stubborn and abrasive. A wine with edges and in a certain way intellectual. Meaty fruit with firm structure and very difficult to taste at this stage. 199€
2009 Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze Grand Cru
This Chambertin reminds me on the fact that we start our wine life with Bordeaux and at the end we drink Burgundy.
A monument! Not so powerful like the Mazis, but much more sublime or feminine. Extrem pure fruit with bombastic minerality. Never-ending length and ultra elegant. Pure Noblesse! 1200 bottles/315 €