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Domaine Trapet, Chambertin Grand CruCôte de Nuits, Burgundy, France 1999 (750mL)

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Domaine Trapet, Chambertin Grand Cru Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France 1999 (750mL)

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For those who can find a bottle, a well-stored 1999 Burgundy is a remarkably special and rare wine. It is, after all, one of the finest years the region has ever seen with many declaring it the “GOAT” and others saying it will outlast us all—but that’s just scratching the surface of today’s momentous offering. This is from Trapet, an all-time legend who's considered (1) a steadfast pioneer of natural farming, (2) a renegado who helped save Burgundy’s vineyards, and (3) a steward to some of Gevrey-Chambertin’s most sought-after vines. And yet, we still haven’t entirely unraveled this wine: it's from the hallowed site of Grand Cru “Chambertin” and Domaine Trapet is among the most prominent and revered owners here. 


From three distinct parcels, one of which was planted in 1919, a Grand Cru Pinot Noir of profound complexity, texture, and pedigree emerges, with the supernatural ability to age for dozens of years if stored properly. And today’s microscopic parcel of ‘99 couldn’t have been stored any better: It was released from Trapet’s cellar just months ago for the first time in its 22-year-old life. There is no debate here: this legendary combination of vintage, producer, and vineyard makes today's offering one of the rarest collectibles in the world of fine wine. Up to two bottles per person, and we only have 24 to share.



Domaine Trapet is among the most respected estates in Gevrey-Chambertin and Burgundy as a whole, a feat achieved through five generations of sweat, tears, law-breaking, and land acquisition. Founded by Louis Trapet in 1870, it only took a few years before his new empire started crumbling before him: Phylloxerra invaded with a wide-reaching vengeance and quickly decimated vineyards throughout Burgundy. Louis soon discovered American rootstocks were resistant to this root louse but grafting vines was illegal by trade. It was an easy decision for Louis: save his estate. And so, he circumvented the law and grafted his remaining vines onto American rootstock, a practice that he and a small band of growers employed for many years. In 1888, grafting was finally permitted by Burgundian law, so many growers looked to Trapet and friends to teach them. Therefore, it is no stretch of the imagination to say that Louis Trapet did indeed help save Burgundy!


As decades flew by, subsequent generations of the Trapet clan began adding some luxury Premier and Grand Cru real estate to their holdings with “Le Chambertin” being the crème de la crème. Tasting a bottle is like savoring spring water right from the source: It’s Grand Cru Chambertin in its purest form. Few, if any, people do it better than Trapet, and that’s partly because of their profound presence here: They’ve owned vines in Chambertin since 1919 and were the largest landowners of this kingly Grand Cru for the majority of the 20th century. 


In 1990, current proprietor Jean-Louis completely took over from his father and crafted his first vintage of “Chambertin.” At the time, the trend was big, lush, powerful wines, and theirs were among the flashiest of the bunch. But as he began listening to his Grand Cru terroir, farming naturally (pioneering organics in the mid-90s, biodynamics in the ‘00s), and honing his craft in the cellar, his Chambertins took on more elegant and lifted notes. Today’s 1999 was the last of his flashy vintages, but in a legendary vintage such as this, I prefer it. The grapes were 100% de-stemmed and both fermentation and maturation took place in roughly 60-70% new French oak for a total of 18 total months. After bottling in the late spring of 2001, this tiny parcel went untouched in his cellar until the end of 2020. 


Unfortunately, there are only 24 bottles to share and as much as we wanted to pull the cork on one—I’m still thinking about driving to the warehouse and doing so as I write this—we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. It’s ‘99 Trapet Chambertin with flawless provenance. It’s about as “sure-thing” as tomorrow’s sunrise. It’s certainly in a brilliant drinking window right now, but based on a staggering 1949-2012 Chambertin vertical Stephen Tanzer did at the domaine last year, there’s no rush in pulling the cork either. When you do, I recommend double decanting (gently pour into a decanter, rinse bottle, return wine to bottle) and serving as needed in large Burgundy stems. Enjoy and cherish this towering Grand Cru rarity. Few ever will.




Domaine Trapet, Chambertin Grand Cru Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France 1999 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionCôte de Nuits, Burgundy
  • Sub-RegionChambertin Grand Cru
  • SoilLimestone
  • FarmingBiodynamics
  • BlendPinot Noir
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakNew French Barrels, 60-70%
  • Service Temp.60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkNow-2029+
  • DecantingDouble Decant
  • PairingSlow-Roasted Duck

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionCôte de Nuits, Burgundy
  • Sub-RegionChambertin Grand Cru
  • SoilLimestone
  • FarmingBiodynamics
  • BlendPinot Noir
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakNew French Barrels, 60-70%
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2029+
  • DecantingDouble Decant
  • PairingSlow-Roasted Duck