"Wine is one of the most civilised things in existence"
Domaine Louis Trapet in Burgundy was actually established by Louis's son Arthur, back in 1870.
Jean-Louis would rather talk about the philosophy of wine than the detail of winemaking, but the broad brush outline is partial destemming, a cool pre-fermentation maceration before a long fermentation, then the descent by gravity of the wine to the barrel cellar, with 30 to 75% new oak used according to the cuvée. He uses no sulphur at harvest or during the vinification and maturation processes, just adding a small dose at bottling.
The Trapets now have 12 hectares of vines including 1.9 hectares of the hallowed Chambertin. The Domaine is currently run by Jean-Louis Trapet, son of Jean and cousin of the Rossignol Trapets.
These are wines that tend more towards elegance and finesse rather than power and extract - the exception being Le Chambertin which displays concentrated fruit and great intensity.
The domaine was known throughout much of its history as Domaine Louis Trapet, named after the founder, but in 1993, the estate’s vineyard holdings were split in half, as a new generation sought to make wines from their half of the family’s holdings (Domaine Rossignol-Trapet). The result was the Louis Trapet estate being renamed as Domaine Trapet Père et Fils and run under the very sure hand of Jean-Louis Trapet.
Mid-1990s, Jean-Louis first growers to implement biodynamic principles in the vines, Jean-Louis used quite a bit of new wood for his top wines at that time, but by the 2000s he drastically scaled back the new oak and extraction in search of terroir-transparency.
Today, the wines are made with an emphasis on elegance, purity and finesse. Jean-Louis tends to use pigeage (punch downs) earlier in the fermentation and then moves to mostly remontage (pump-over) once the fermentations starts and there is alcohol present that can more easily absorb the tannins in the must. Though he tailors the percentage based on vintage conditions and the quality of the stems each year. That said, it is not uncommon to see 50-100% stems in the grand crus, 30-50% in the 1er Crus, and a bit less for village-level wines (though the Cuvee "Alea" usually has more). New wood usage is judicious, certainly compared to their other neighbors in Gevrey. This means roughly 20-25% on village wines, 30-40% on 1er Crus, and around 50% on the grand cru range.
Trapet's outstanding grand crus (Latricières-Chambertin, Chapelle-Chambertin and Chambertin) are crafted to really highlight their underlying terroirs. Like the man himself, there is an elegence, grace and purity to the wines that is haunting and rare in a village where power dominates. All in all, Domaine Trapet Père et Fils is at the top of their game, with Jean-Louis crafting wines that are as stunning as any in the great history of this long-respected Gevrey superstar.
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