Florence Heresztyn-Mazzini has stamped an immediate signature onto the domaine which she now runs, with her Champenois husband Simon Mazzini, beginning with the 2012 vintage. There are some changes to the vineyards so the domaine she has taken over has 5.5 hectares of vines, a reduction from the 9ha of previous years. The other 3.5 ha, which includes all of the Gevrey Corbeaux, are owned by her uncle and aunt and are being farmed separately, for now at least. So, perhaps temporarily, Corbeaux has disappeared from the portfolio. New modern labels have appeared, and, most importantly, there are some new ideas being implemented in both vineyard and cellar which all focus on improving quality. Grape selection has been intensified, smaller boxes are used for transporting the grapes, and the proportion of whole bunches has also increased towards 50%. Florence is now also following lutte raisonnée viticultural practices which are taking them towards organic farming, and a reduction of 30% in the number of spraying treatments previously employed. The wines spend the same long period on the lees as before, with malolactics continuing to take their time.
We tasted this year with Florence’s father as she and Simon were in Asia when we visited. Stani was in charge of the cellar until 2012, and this year is the 20th vintage we have bought from him. He’s 77 now, and still lives above the cellar and keeps a close eye on what goes on.
The wines looked really good this year. The Clos St Denis seems better every year, and the Perrières and Goulots looked lovely. But perhaps the village wines were the best they have ever been. I actually had two tastings here this year, three days apart, and it was very interesting to note how the wines look different from one day to another. It’s important to remember that we only receive a snapshot of evolving wines at one moment, whether it’s in Burgundy in November or London in January.
Harvest began for Gevrey and Morey on 4th September. They took their time and didn’t finish until 14th. They had suffered a little mildew in the humid weather of May, and this reduced their total yield more than at other domaines, by around 20%. Sugar levels were high, so the wines are all 13%+ with a couple of wines coming in at 13.7%. But Florence and Simon are keen enthusiasts for the value of whole bunches and stems, so in a vintage like 2018 they made increasing use of the technique, up to the maximum (i.e. no destemming at all) on Morey Millandes, Gevrey Champonnets and Clos St Denis. The wines are quite big, bold and powerful, but there is so much ripeness around the firm structure that the wines look balanced and very fine. There are lots of old vines here, which must be a large part of the explanation of the density of the wines this year.
Watch a short video exploring the diverse vegetal cover in Florence Heresztyn-Mazzini’s Le Clos Village vineyard (April 2020):