Gilbert & Christine Felettig (Fell-uh-teeg)
When a new generation takes over a major under-performing domaine in Chambolle-Musigny, it gets my attention. When they then evolve over a number of years carefully and slowly, to the point where they’re now producing wines that rival the best of the village, we’ve hit the jackpot.
“I would call to your attention that the quality at this domaine has skyrocketed over the past few vintages and there is now an almost night and day difference relative to only a few years ago.
As the scores and comments will confirm, I was very impressed with the wines as they are materially different than they used to be. I recommend that you check them out if you're unfamiliar with them.” Allen Meadows, Burghound
Gilbert (in his cellar, above) and his sister Christine are the 2nd generation at the family estate, just a baby domaine by Burgundian standards. The domaine (formerly named for their father, Henri Felettig) began with just 3.7 acres in 1969. Henri’s primary gig was doing vineyard work for other estates in the village. He started to increase the family fruit supply by leasing 5 acres in Chambolle, then a tiny piece in Vosne-Romanée, followed by buying and leasing more small parcels throughout the Côte de Nuits.
Today the estate totals over 30 acres spread over 130 diferent parcels, with key holdings in Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St. Denis, Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St. Georges. The bulk of the holdings are in Chambolle-Musigny, with some 30 different parcels at the village level and a staggering six different Chambolle-Musigny 1er Crus.
Their parents retired in 2005, and Gilbert then took over. I’d always been disappointed with his father’s wines – the potential was there for them to be great, but they never really lived up to it. By 2010 Gilbert had hit his stride, and the wines were suddenly things of true beauty. Those of us immersed in the Burgundy world began to take notice.
Tasting the Felettig wines from 2010 forward has been a revelation. I asked Gilbert what it was that made such a huge difference –
“In my father’s time, we had only two workers in the vineyard for 25 acres. Now we have 20 in the vineyard for our 30 acres. Yes, we made big investments in a sorting table, all new stainless-steel tanks, and full temperature control in the winery, but it all comes down to attention to detail and better work in the vineyard."
The wines are ethereal and graceful, and incredibly true to their terroir. They reflect their unique origins very clearly, and it takes just one sip to know that these wines have not been manipulated or monkeyed with – they’re transparent in the most beautiful sense.
All the Felettig parcels are farmed organically, with no use of herbicides or pesticides. The fruit is sorted twice at harvest – once in the vineyard and again at the winery. Fermentation is all in stainless, extraction is kept to a minimum, and élévage is in 30% new wood on average. Some cuvées can see 30-40% whole cluster and others are 100% de-stemmed, according to the parcel and the vintage.