Saint-Aubin is a real hidden gem tucked up the valley behind the Montrachets, Puligny and Chassagne.
The day-to-day running of this fine 12 hectare domaine is now in the highly capable hands of Gérard’s two daughters, Anne & Isabelle. Their technical training has resulted in fresher, purer wines with precise flavours. All the wines are barrel-fermented.
Champ Tirant is a splendid vineyard on the edge of the village adjacent to 1er Cru “Les Castets” and is vinified with the same care and attention in 25% new barrels. It has ripe, honeyed fruit, a fine, generous texture and excellent balancing acidity.
Alain Gras has long been acknowledged as the pre-eminent vigneron in Saint-Romain – a village of wonderfully sited vineyards and a greater proportion of limestone than any other commune in Burgundy. It has also benefited greatly from recent climate change – meaning that previously overly cool sites, due to their high altitude, are now routinely achieving full ripeness and physiological maturity.
His stunningly situated domaine comprises 12 hectares of Saint-Romain (8ha planted to Chardonnay and 4ha to Pinot Noir). He has 42 separate parcels in all, but prefers blending the grapes from the individual sites to ensure complexity and consistency. The Saint-Romain Blanc, from vines which average 40 years old, displays an impressive ripe core of white stone fruits, expressive minerally, elegance, finesse and tingling acidity. After a gentle pressing, it is vinified in a combination of 80% stainless steel and 20% new oak and bottled after 11 months.
There are presently 26 restaurants in France with 3 Michelin stars and Alain’s wines are listed in 21 of them.
Jean-Pierre Latour has 10 hectares under vine in Meursault. Wonderfully sited vineyards, low yields, brilliant winemaking and no fining or filtration, make this one of the most exciting domaines in the village at present.
The Meursault Cuvée Charles Maxime (a blend of Les Vireuils, Les Corbins and Les Pelles) is plump, rich and generous, fermented and matured in barrel (around 1/3 new) for 15-16 months.
Jean-Marc is the fourth generation of this branch of the Pillot family to be in charge of this excellent, 10 hectare domaine. He took over the reins from his father Jean in 1991 and is assisted by his wife Nadine and sister Beatrice.
Jean-Marc’s number one priority is to respect the terroir he has inherited. The soil is ploughed all year long. Organic fertilisers are adapted to the needs of each vine and the specific nature of each plot. Sustainable methods are used to fight against fungal diseases with maximum respect for the vines and their environment. A true believer in the saying that “great wine is made in the vineyard”, Jean-Marc lavishes great care and attention on his vines: March pruning, green harvesting, and manual picking account for quality grapes that are absolutely essential for making great wine.
The harvest is done by hand. As soon as they are cut, the bunches are brought to the vat room and put whole into the pneumatic press. The juice goes from there to the underground cellar via gravity flow and is put into oak barrels, 30% of which are new. The wines age there under ideal conditions for 12 months after alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Starting in 2005, Jean-Marc decided that the wines would benefit from longer ageing. They now spend 6 months in stainless steel vats before bottling for improved stabilisation and efficient natural clarification.
Rich ripe concentrated fruit (pear, apple, apricot and peach). Elegant and mineral. Good acidity and oak balance, peachy and toasty aromas, soft and creamy. Wonderfully long.
This long established Meursault domaine is run today by Vincent Boyer-Martenot, whose father, Yves, was renowned for his elegant, mineral driven wines. Vincent has followed in his illustrious footsteps and makes equally alluring wines.
Cuvée Fernand Boyer is named in honour of Vincent’s grandfather and is a wine that leads with finesse rather than power.
In the glass the wine is pale gold in colour with faint green hints. The nose is very expressive with fresh lifted notes of apricot, floral aromas and exotic fruits. The palate is rounded and layered with great length. Wood is held in the background.
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