2020 Domaine Camus-Bruchon et Fils, Beaune Premier Cru “Clos du Roi” Red Burgundy, France.
Over the years, one of my favorite Burgundy producers has without question been Camus-Bruchon and in recent vintages I am loving these wines more and more with Guillaume Camus crafting some outstanding Pinots, like this exceptional incredibly dark Beaune 1er Cru Clos du Roi from the 2020 vintage, which is proving a must have year. In the past I have focused on Camus-Bruchon’s value packed Savigny-lès-Beaune offerings, in particular the fabulous Aux Grands Liards Vieilles Vignes single lieu-dit bottling, so it was good to get my palate on this Clos du Roi, one of the signature Premier Crus of the estate and one of the greats in the region not far from Pommard and Volnay, set on clay and limestone soils, “Clos du Roi” is a small 13 hectare vineyard situated to the north of the appellation, which Louis Latour calls one of the best parcels in all of Beaune. This historic site was owned by the dukes of Burgundy and was, as Latour adds, highly favored by the kings of France, and was regularly served at Versailles. The 2020 Camus-Bruchon is deeply garnet hued and wonderfully aromatic, especially after this young wine is allowed to open up, with dark florals, mineral and stony berry fruit that leads to a rich and silken full palate of black cherry, currant, plum and tangy blueberry fruits that are almost as expressive and overt as a top cru Beaujolais, maybe because of the percentage of whole cluster, though was the baby fat settles down, pure Pinot pleasure rises up and subtle spice, earth, orange peel and tea note emerge. This is a vintage to pair with richer foods and to enjoy over a full meal and evening so see its full range of pleasure.
As mentioned, Guillaume Camus is a super talent and these Domaine Camus-Bruchon are gorgeous and authentic wines that are made to charm and age, as a bonus they are stunning values for what you get in the bottle, especially with what kind of prices you are now seeing for very mediocre Burgundy wines these days. For his exceptional Clos du Roi Beaune 1er Cru, Camus as he does for all of the reds here, ferments in concrete vats using native yeasts and then ages the wines for between 12 and 18 months in a selection of French barrels with under 20% new wood being employed. As mentioned, to add complexity and pop to his wines, Guillaume uses upwards of 30% whole cluster, which shows up with an almost carbonic like feel on this ripe vintage and with the stems hardly noticeable at this point, though quietly giving a sultry earthiness and bramble note. Camus likes a extended maceration period and his primary fermentation on the skins usually goes close to 18 days, which gives the wines extraction of color, phenolics and structural tannin, though supple in years like this. Great care was given to the vines and the pruning allowed for slightly longer canes to set a bit more fruit with pick dates chosen to retain some freshness and keep natural alcohols down under 14%, which I hear wasn’t easy with the heat and tiny clusters found in the region. Everything looks set for a winning collection of wines from Camus-Bruchon, these 2020s will reward those that what to open them in their youth and will still provide excellent drinking for another decade or more. When first opening these Camus-Bruchon Burgs, it is advised to let the reductive elements blow off, which in this one took a few hours. I hear the 2021s are much more restrained and learner, so it is best to stock up on these exuberant and fruit filled 2020s, and I highly recommend, as per normal, chasing down Camus-Bruchon.
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive