Succulent red and blue fruits dance against a backdrop of pressed herbs, black pepper, wildflower petals, crushed river rocks, earth and a kiss of tobacco in this appealing, stylish ’16 Gevrey Chambertin Combe Aux Moines. This wine’s minerality is front and center, balanced by chewy tannins, a sweet inner perfume and brooding fruits that linger on the sustained finish. “Combe aux Moines” translates to “the monk’s comb,” but its name refers to the spot for assignations between local monks and local village women, and the wine is as beguiling as its name suggests. This wine derives from vines that average 60 years of age grown in soils rich in limestone and clay, and it ages in French oak, about one-quarter new. Just 350 cases produced.
René Leclerc inherited the winery when his father split his winery between his two sons, the levelheaded René and the wild Philippe; René has since passed the reins to his son François, though he unquestionably holds a strong hand in the production. Leclerc's 30-acre property covers some of Gevrey's best 1er Crus: Champeaux, Lavaux-St-Jacques, and Combe Aux Moines, as well as the prized Grand Cru, Griotte-Chambertin. The estate likes to rely on traditional practices like using indigenous yeasts, barrels made from once or twice used oak, and gravity-flow racking; additionally, they refuse to fine or filter their wine. It's all in the pursuit of crafting wine that's pure, elegant, ripe, and speaking eloquently of the fruit it's made from and the earth that nourished it. Leclerc's wines illustrate classic Burgundy, just as the estate itself embodies it.