Denis Bachelet’s domaine is tiny, making up just over four hectares; his vines are very old, and his yields correspondingly low. But that only goes some way to explaining why his wines are so scarce: the main reason is that they are quite brilliant. He is a prodigiously talented farmer, and it is his vineyard work that is the secret to quality; the winemaking is simple and a small part of the whole.
There have been some changes since 2014. A new cooper is providing barrels which Denis and his son Nicolas, who joined him in 2007, find bring out the sweetness of fruit more effectively, and they have made efforts to affect a gentler extraction of tannins by reducing the number of punch-downs during fermentation. They have recently converted to biodynamic practice. They are still traditional in their thinking – Denis noted with amusement during our last visit that they are one of the few domaines left to use a crusher-destemmer, instead of just destemming. Rather than using clones which all ripen at once, they favour a selection massale in their vineyards, which mature at different times, giving them a little more flexibility during the harvest.
The Bachelets had it harder than most in 2021: not only did they suffer the travails of frost and disease pressure, but a hailstorm centred in the Evocelles vineyard at the beginning of flowering set their vines back even further. They found that after three years of drought the vines were more focussed on vegetative growth than grape production, and yields were correspondingly low. They were amongst the first to harvest, on 14th September, and went back to old vinification methods, including daily punching down. The wines are quite brilliant – amongst the best we tried, but yields are small indeed.
Quantities of Bachelet wines in 2021 are extremely limited. Please contact us for further de-tails.