Mâconnais

A classical growing season in the Mâconnais. Not too much frost in general, and no hail. The vines did not suffer from drought much - there was more water than in 2015, and the ripeness levels and acidities were both good. Harvest started early, in the last ten days of August, and there was rain from around the second and third of September, after which acidities fell a little.

Frantz Chagnoleau described the wines as having more concentration and aroma than 2011, and being more accessible young than the 2016s - 'a little riper, fresh with nice tension, yet flavours are ripe, exotic but with natural restraint, almost passion fruit, pears and peaches, all held together with nice acidity'. At Domaine Barraud, higher up in Vergisson, the picking started later, and they had to work quite quickly toward the end. Daniel described the vintage as 'sunnier than 2016, less so than 2015, early, and quite mixed, with some very concentrated cuvées, and others that are a little less so. A mixture of 2016 and 2015, maybe even like 2009 where the yields were higher'. As ever this is a top-quality set of wines from Julien and Daniel.


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Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon, who is also the winemaker at the Comte Lafon Mâcon operation, are rising stars of the Mâconnais. Together they have a small domaine consisting of 3.5 hectares of Mâcon in a single block in Saint Albain, and several small plots in Viré Clessé, Saint Véran and Pouilly Fuissé, making up 6.8 hectares in total. All the vineyards are organically farmed (Ecocert certified).

Great care is taken at harvest to pick at the optimum monent for sugars, acidity and aromatic precursors, and they will stop the picking between parcels if they think that the ripening is not even across the whole domaine. Grapes are manually picked into 25kg cases, so as to get whole, undamaged grapes to the winery. After careful pressing, a very non-interventionist vinifcation takes place with natural yeasts in oak foudres.

The wines are kept on the lees to preserve freshness until the beginning of summer, when they are racked and lightly filtered, before bottling before the next harvest, except for some of the top wines which are aged for another six months in tank in order to develop fully. The wines are expressive and pure and well worth seeking out.

In 2017 they started picking on the 25th August, which was just as well, because acidities dropped after the 70-80mm of rain which fell on the 2nd and 3rd of September. Good ripeness (13.5% max) and good acidities. The vines did not suffer as they had in 2015 - there was more water. Frantz feels that there is more concentration and aroma than in 2011, and wines which are more accessible young than the 2016s.

2017 MÂCON VILLAGES Clos Saint Pancras Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2017 MÂCON VILLAGES Clos Saint Pancras Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

Fresh, with nice tension. The flavours are ripe, verging on exotic but with a natural restraint. Almost passion fruit, then pears and peaches - all held together in a juicy expressive brightness byFresh, with nice tension. The flavours are ripe, verging on exotic but with a natural restraint. Almost passion fruit, then pears and peaches - all held together in a juicy expressive brightness by the fresh acidity.L&S(Oct 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 VIRÉ-CLESSÉ Les Raspillières Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2017 VIRÉ-CLESSÉ Les Raspillières Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

Planted in 2005. A 30% slope and poor soil, thin at the top. Originally planted with Gamay, it was abandoned after phylloxera, then brought back from being scrubland by a forester who was passionatePlanted in 2005. A 30% slope and poor soil, thin at the top. Originally planted with Gamay, it was abandoned after phylloxera, then brought back from being scrubland by a forester who was passionate about wine and who realised it had once been a vineyard. Lovely greenish colour, taut and fresh yet gorgeously generous too - good acidity, and a touch of salinity. It's a late-ripening place, the fruit is green and sappy, with a bright citrussy length. L&S(Oct 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 SAINT VÉRAN Prélude Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2017 SAINT VÉRAN Prélude Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

Aged in a 50-50 mix of foudres and demi-muids. Prelude is an assemblage of four plots in the communes of Prissé and Chasselas, with vines up to fifty years old. All these are the first to be pickedAged in a 50-50 mix of foudres and demi-muids. Prelude is an assemblage of four plots in the communes of Prissé and Chasselas, with vines up to fifty years old. All these are the first to be picked in the domaine. Similar greenish colour, more reserved on the nose than the Mâcon, a finer, less exuberant style - good acidity and delicacy - not that it lacks power - a lovely classy, mineral-shaded wine.L&S(Oct 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 SAINT VÉRAN La Fournaise Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2017 SAINT VÉRAN La Fournaise Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

The most mineral land the domaine possesses - 'as close to Chablis as we get', says Frantz. 40 year old vines on an east-facing slope at 300m altitude. Pale silvery green. Sherbet lemons on the nose,The most mineral land the domaine possesses - 'as close to Chablis as we get', says Frantz. 40 year old vines on an east-facing slope at 300m altitude. Pale silvery green. Sherbet lemons on the nose, ripe, there's no lack of concentration and energy. Crackling as with electricity - and so bright and long.L&S(Oct 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 SAINT VÉRAN La Roche Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2017 SAINT VÉRAN La Roche Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

The oldest vines of the domaine, in Chasselas. A good pale gold. Usually the most concentrated wine of the domaine, says Frantz 'magnifcent soils, calcareous rubble on the surface, but 30cm down it'sThe oldest vines of the domaine, in Chasselas. A good pale gold. Usually the most concentrated wine of the domaine, says Frantz 'magnifcent soils, calcareous rubble on the surface, but 30cm down it's blue marl and the vines never suffer from drought - it's a nicely balanced vineyard'. This is properly rich - there's power and density, not the most expressive nose (but still eight months élevage to go), but the palate is concentrated, pinging with energy and mineral.L&S(Oct 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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Domaine Daniel Barraud

Daniel and Martine Barraud, now joined by their son Julien, have vineyards in Vergisson that are mostly high up under the famous rock (Vergisson lies between the two dramatic cliffs of the rocks of Solutré and Vergisson). The vineyards here are significantly higher than those of Fuissé, and are consequently later-ripening, and the wines often have a more solid structure - but all of Daniel's wines have their own character, from the Puligny-like directness of the La Roche to the fat richness of the 'en Buland', via the mineral force of the Crays.

All the wines are made keeping close to the tenets of bio-dynamics - not as Daniel says for the sake of it - but because over the generations experience has taught them these principles really are the best way forward - as such they only ever bottle on a waning moon, All the wines see some barrel ageing apart from the Chaintré, which is aged in foudre (2/3) and tank.

As Allen Meadows wrote in 2014 in Burghound "I have said this before, but I will say it again: no one makes better wine in the Mâconnais than Barraud. There are a few domaines that produce wines that are sometimes just as good, ... but none of them surpasses the quality he consistently produces. If you aren’t familiar with the wines, you owe it to yourself and your pocketbook to check them out." (www.Burghound.com).

2017 MÂCON CHAINTRÉ Pierres Polies Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 MÂCON CHAINTRÉ Pierres Polies Domaine Daniel Barraud

Pale gold, Immediate ripe nose. Quite a soft attack and a general feel of supple ripeness. A subtle bitterness of phenolics adds freshness under the pretty fruit. Very attractive and should drinkPale gold, Immediate ripe nose. Quite a soft attack and a general feel of supple ripeness. A subtle bitterness of phenolics adds freshness under the pretty fruit. Very attractive and should drink young. Drinking range: 2019 - 2021L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 MÂCON VERGISSON La Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 MÂCON VERGISSON La Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

As usual the class if this vineyard on the slopes of the rock of Vergisson itself shows through in a concentrated and mineral wine. There's a core of creamy almond, lovely richness and freshness andAs usual the class if this vineyard on the slopes of the rock of Vergisson itself shows through in a concentrated and mineral wine. There's a core of creamy almond, lovely richness and freshness and power and a touch of saline which adds even more to the fresh savoury finish. Drinking range: 2019 - 2025L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 SAINT VÉRAN En Crèches Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 SAINT VÉRAN En Crèches Domaine Daniel Barraud

A jump in class to this old vineyard in Davayé, nobler aromas, richer too. There's a supple touch on the palate, a lovely feel of harmony, and it stays fresh and pure. Partly aged in demi-muids.A jump in class to this old vineyard in Davayé, nobler aromas, richer too. There's a supple touch on the palate, a lovely feel of harmony, and it stays fresh and pure. Partly aged in demi-muids. Drinking range: 2020 - 2025L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Alliance-Vergisson Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Alliance-Vergisson Domaine Daniel Barraud

Pale, green-tinted gold. Suave and really 'together' this year, a nice harmony of pear and citrus flesh fruit. It comes from three vineyards around the village of Vergisson, with lots of old vines.Pale, green-tinted gold. Suave and really 'together' this year, a nice harmony of pear and citrus flesh fruit. It comes from three vineyards around the village of Vergisson, with lots of old vines. Drinking range: 2020 - 2026L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 SAINT VÉRAN Les Pommards Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 SAINT VÉRAN Les Pommards Domaine Daniel Barraud

Lovely bright gold. 50-year-old vines. 'There may be some Chardonnay musqué (a clone with a hint of Muscat about it) in this', says Daniel. There's certainly extra richness as usual, hazelnut,Lovely bright gold. 50-year-old vines. 'There may be some Chardonnay musqué (a clone with a hint of Muscat about it) in this', says Daniel. There's certainly extra richness as usual, hazelnut, savoury - lovely. Drinking range: 2021 - 2026L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Les Châtaigniers Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Les Châtaigniers Domaine Daniel Barraud

Very pale and tight, but not harsh. Powerful, and with excellent acidity alongside the supple richness. The vineyard here is now close to a hectare after Julien inherited some vines from and uncle toVery pale and tight, but not harsh. Powerful, and with excellent acidity alongside the supple richness. The vineyard here is now close to a hectare after Julien inherited some vines from and uncle to add to the existing parcel. Limestone in sharp stones in red clay - hard to work and the limestone is very hard - it cuts up the tyres of vehicles. Nicely straight with a long taut mineral finish. Drinking range: 2021 - 2027L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes La Verchère Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes La Verchère Domaine Daniel Barraud

Very old (70+) vines have produced a very rich and almost honeyed density. The richness verges on being too much but then resolves into a gourmand juicy, generous and immensely attractive and moreishVery old (70+) vines have produced a very rich and almost honeyed density. The richness verges on being too much but then resolves into a gourmand juicy, generous and immensely attractive and moreish wine with concentrated flavour on the long finish. Drinking range: 2020 - 2028L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ sur la Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ sur la Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

After the Crays this also has a shy nose and the same supple, glassy, transparent purity of feel. Again, the mineral power and an extra saline drive - this is yet more savoury. A superb example ofAfter the Crays this also has a shy nose and the same supple, glassy, transparent purity of feel. Again, the mineral power and an extra saline drive - this is yet more savoury. A superb example of this site. Drinking range: 2021 - 2029L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes Les Crays Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes Les Crays Domaine Daniel Barraud

Pale after the 'La Verchère', quite a shy nose, then great purity. Volume and a supple delicate fresh liquid touch - lemon and ripe yellow citrus lifts it - energy and mineral purity are thePale after the 'La Verchère', quite a shy nose, then great purity. Volume and a supple delicate fresh liquid touch - lemon and ripe yellow citrus lifts it - energy and mineral purity are the keynotes. Immensely long. Drinking range: 2021 - 2028L&S(Nov 2018)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes En Buland Domaine Daniel Barraud

2017 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes En Buland Domaine Daniel Barraud

En Buland is like La Roche with a touch of la Verchère, and then more than either of them. Big and bold on the palate after a shy and retiring nose. Savoury, saline and voluminously ripe too. IntenseEn Buland is like La Roche with a touch of la Verchère, and then more than either of them. Big and bold on the palate after a shy and retiring nose. Savoury, saline and voluminously ripe too. Intense all the way through, the most complete of all, and very long. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030L&S(Nov 2018)

Magnums, case of 6

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75cl bottles, case of 12

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