Introducing Olivier Bernstein
Author: Jasper Morris MW
Olivier has come a long way since he first showed me his awesome array of wines in his debut vintage of 2007. He attracted top scores from the international wine press from the outset but that doesn’t mean that there was no room for progress. In subsequent vintages he has fine tuned his methods, searching for more elegance alongside the undoubted power and concentration of his wines.
He has also managed to get closer to his vineyard sources. He now manages the vineyard work for all but one of his sources and – a wonderful opportunity – has managed to buy two of the vineyards he has worked with since the start: Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champeaux and Mazis Chambertin. It is pretty rare for grand cru vineyards to change hands so this is a major coup.
These vineyards follow the common thread of old vines – more than 80 years old in the case of the Mazis – which enables Olivier to work with excellent raw material. During vinification the wines are very lightly handled, with a good proportion of stems included to maintain a lively thread throughout, while the barrels are made to order by master cooper Stéphane Chassin, who comes to taste the new vintage before deciding what type of toasting will suit each individual wine.
The range now consists of six Grands Crus, of which the Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Mazis-Chambertin and increasingly the Bonnes Mares sell through very rapidly, three premiers crus (outstanding Cazetiers and Champeaux from Gevrey-Chambertin and a lovely, lacy, Chambolle Lavrottes, a village Gevrey) and small amounts of white wine – one each from Meursault, Puligny and Corton-Charlemagne.
Mr Bernstein is going places – not least to visit our teams in Hong Kong and Japan, as well as beautiful Basingstoke – and we are excited to be sharing the journey with him. He’s already come a long way from making his wines in a garage in Gevrey-Chambertin to delightful cellars in a classic Beaune town house, which he moved into last year. Congratulations Olivier!