Classified Wines visits Paul Autard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
That’s Austin wine professional Chris McFall, wine buyer at Paggi House, examining some old vines.
From left, André Clouet, Chris McFall, Billy Caruso, and Scott Ota.
Above: Jean-Noël’s daughter, Caroline Lestimé. Image via Chassagne-Montrachet.com.
The village of Chassagne-Montrachet is, amongst others, Gagnard country.
A daughter of the owner of Domaine Delagrange-Bachelet married Jacques Gagnard to form Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange. The brother of Jacques Gagnard, Jean-Noël, also had his own domaine of Jean-Noël Gagnard. The two daughters from the Gagnard-Delagrange operation married a Blain and a Fontaine, hence, Domaines Blain-Gagnard and Fontaine-Gagnard. It is the burgundian way.
Jean-Noël is now well into his retirement, but still finds plenty enough to do, to warrant slipping into his boiler-suit and heading into the cellar. He inherited his domaine from his parents in 1960, when the vines were split between him and his brother Jacques. Jean-Noël made several vineyard acquisitions and also began domaine bottling – the fruits of the domaine’s labour were previously sold to the négoce.
Since 1989, Jean-Noël’s daughter, Caroline Lestimé took over day-to-day running of the domaine. Caroline had studied business in Paris, and for the first year she divided her attentions between managing the commercial aspects of the estate while attending the Beaune Lycée Viticole to learn about viticulture, and Dijon University to learn about oenology. One of her early changes was to increase the number of white wine cuvées since her father’s time by introducing a terroir-based policy of separating-out the different vineyards where wines were previously amalgamated under, for instance, a bigger Morgeots cuvée. The domaine now commercialises 9 hectares of vines; one grand cru, 9 white and 2 red Chassagne-Montrachet 1ers and a Santenay 1er Clos Tavannes red. Villages and Hautes-Côtes de Beaune are also included.
Text via Burgundy-Report.com.
Image via Intrepid Wino Tastings.
In the words of Burgundy authority John Winthrop of Veritas Imports in California, “Ben Leroux, it is whispered in reverent tones, may well succeed to the mantle of Henri Jayer as Burgundy’s emblematic winemaker.”
Allen Meadows has called him “extremely thoughtful… positively brilliant… one of, if not the, most gifted young winemaker in all of Burgundy.”
Much has been written about this rising star of Burgundy.
Here are some of the most informative posts:
Above: Pascal Lachaux, Robert Arnoux’s son-in-law and winemaker at Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux.
Image via Vinum et Vita.
Text via Burgundy Report.
Since 1858, five generations of Arnoux have been making wine in the Côte de Nuits. There is already a 6th generation waiting in the wings with the three sons of Pascal and Florence Lachaux. Pascal was working as a pharmacist specialising in homeopathy when he met Florence Arnoux, daughter of Robert; marriage and winemaking were soon to follow. Today Florence and Pascal are working hard to accommodate this sixth generation; it’s hard to miss their large new cuverie sited behind the bright red restaurant La Toute Petite Auberge at the side of the RN74. Externally it’s complete but it will require a few more weeks of internal work to be ready for vintage 2005.
The first vintage where Pascal was fully responsible for the winemaking was 1990. The domaine has since that time built a reputation for itself as a fine source of wines from Nuits, Vosne, Chambolle and a small parcel of Côte de Beaune – apart from a small plot of Aligoté all the wines are red. In-all, the domain exploits 14 hectares in 16 appellations, augmented most recently (2000) with parcels of Chambolle-Musigny villages and since the 2002 vintage a small negociant operation that’s literally one or two barrels of each wine. The négociant wines offered for the 2003 vintage are a Chambolle 1er Fuées, a Gevrey 1er Lavaux-St-Jacques, Latricières and Griotte-Chambertin, Chambertin and Richebourg. Pascal says that it is for him a pleasure to have the opportunity to vinify other ‘terroirs’. These vins de négoce are bought in as grapes or part finished wine and the elevage done in the cellars of the domaine just as the domaine wines. I actually found the 2003 Chambolle Fuées a little sweet, but it’s impossible to make generalisations from one wine – particularly when we’re discussing 2003.
David Duband (above) has been gradually been making a name for himself as part of the new generation of high quality red wine producers in the Côte de Nuits. Considering his family was based in Hautes Côtes de Nuits (in the town of Chévannes, where his domaine is still located) and he now owns multiple Grand Cru sites including Echezeaux and Charmes-Chambertin, it is fair to say he has been doing a very good job…
Since his first vintage in 1991 (when he was still a student!), David’s wines have improved every year, and he has been working to increase the domaine’s holdings. Now practicing 100% organic farming, he has also begun to use more whole cluster fermentation, averaging 30% in 2009. Whereas his first few vintages were oak-driven, he strives today to make more elegant wines that express their place of origin and his 2009 vintage is a perfect example of his success: ripe fruit but still balanced and clear.
Text via Michael Skurnik Wines.
Image via Milles Plateaux.
The wines of Denis Bachelet have a cult following.
Out of the countless people to whom his wine have given such pleasure, very few know the young man who makes the wines, as until this year and despite more than two decades of exporting to the United States, Denis had never set foot on this side of the Atlantic. When people visit the cellar for the first time, the reaction is always the same. It is hidden behind an unassuming door in an old building, which used to be the post house for Gevrey under LOUIS XIV. One first steps inside a small dark room used by Denis to prepare and stock his orders prior to pick-up and delivery. There will be usually one or two small shrinked wrapped stacks of wine waiting for Belgium, England, or the United States.
Denis will introduce himself, insisting that he speaks very little English, before carrying on cheerily in excellent English. He is always curious about his visitors, wanting to know where they come from and if they are members of the trade or if they are customers. After introductions, he will lead you to a door, directly opposite the one you came in. Behind the door there is a barrel cellar the size of a very modest living room.
“There it is,” Denis will say, “my entire current vintage.” Invariably, jaws will drop. Eyes don’t even need to circle the room to take it all in. There are four rows not even ten barrels long. Sometimes they are double stacked, often only partially and sometimes not at all. It is disparately small compared to the fame of the estate and looks barely enough to carve out a living.
Above: Sylvain Cathiard, center, and family. Image via Wine Anorak.
“Sylvain Cathiard is the archetypal Burgundy producer,” writes top British wine writer Jamie Goode. “He works the family domaine, established by his grandfather in the 1930s, together with his wife Marinette and son Sébastien. He has 4.2 hectares of vines spread around 11 plots, including a 0.17 hectare plot of Romanée St Vivant, with the majority of the holdings in Vosne-Romanée. And the wines from this modest producer are rightly highly sought after. ‘When we started we had to look for customers,’ says Sylvain. ‘Now it’s customers who are calling me. I was really surprised to become this famous.’ Indeed, his success has been relatively recent.”
Image via Burgundy Report, where you’ll also find a great write-up of the domaine.
It was at a tasting in 2001 at the Domaine that Virgile pulls me off to the side.
Excitedly, he tells me, as if it is a secret, “I finally get it.”
My logical question, “What??”
Virgil, “It’s all in the vineyard. It’s not what I do in here, it’s out there. The raw material.”
Now, Virgile is a man with intensity and infectious energy. I was very excited. And I haven’t been let down since as his wines have continued to climb since that day. And I now understand that Virgile has changed his philosophy from one of technical winemaker to passionate vitculturist where all energy is spent on ensuring the growth of the very best vines and letting the wine make itself.
A beautiful series of Morey St. Denis appellations.