White Bigger Bottles


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Domaine des Hâtes

Pierrick Laroche's father farms cereals, and was not very concerned with his family's vineyard, the production of which was sold to the co-operative. Pierrick took them out of the co-operative, and 2010 was his first vintage making wine under his own label.

Pierrick is clearly a very talented winemaker. He currently manages 25 hectares of vines in Petit Chablis, Chablis and Premier Cru, with additional fruit being bought to make his Beauroy and Grand Cru Bougros.

In preparation for bottling under his own name from 2010 onwards Pierrick stopped using pesticides and herbicides in 2009 and has since then manually worked the soil - this great change in practices has seen superb results in the quality of fruit he is now picking.

It is all about freshness and precision here. Classical, deeply mineral wines. Picking perhaps earlier than some of his neighbours Pierrick captures beautiful acidity and brightness of fruit - he then loves giving the wine a long élevage in tank to build texture and weight and complexity. He is not averse to using oak - but it is done at a very minimal level with just the 1er Cru wine having less than 25% oak ageing. The results are bright, elegant wines but with a real shape and feel - classical, but interesting Chablis.

2019 CHABLIS 1er Cru Butteaux Domaine des Hâtes

2019 CHABLIS 1er Cru Butteaux Domaine des Hâtes

A new wine from Pierrick this year, as he has inherited this parcel in Butteaux from his father-in-law who has retired, and who used to sell the grapes to the Chablisienne co-operative.A new wine from Pierrick this year, as he has inherited this parcel in Butteaux from his father-in-law who has retired, and who used to sell the grapes to the Chablisienne co-operative.L&S(Dec 2020)

Magnums, case of 6

In Bond

Domaine Denis Pommier

Founded when the Pommiers inherited 2 hectares of vines in 1990. Isabelle and Denis bottled their first wine in 1994 and now have 18 hectares of vineyards, which are run according to biodynamic principles (which have sadly cost them dearly in terms of lost crop in 2016 and 2017).

The Petit Chablis is a model of brisk freshness - made entirely in stainless steel - while the Premier Crus benefit from a small amount of barrel-fermentation and élevage. The Troësmes (a small parcel within the larger premier cru 'Beauroy' which the Pommiers think deserves to be identified by its correct name) is relatively rounder, while the Côte de Léchet is the one for fans of the slatier, crystalline side of minerality. Keep either of the premiers crus four to six years.

2019, Isabelle told us, was, like 2018, very hot. The heat spike was shorter but more intense. They harvested early in the day - only between 6 am and 2 pm. We came away from the tasting with a signed copy of Denis' new book about his experience of switching to organic viticulture, 'Les Larmes de ma Vigne'.

Domaine Daniel Barraud

Daniel and Martine Barraud, now joined by their son Julien and daughter Anaïs, 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).

The Domaine is working toward organic certification. Next year will see more changes, as the new Premiers Crus come in to action with the 2020 vintage. The Barrauds have four vineyards to be classified: 'En France', 'Les Crays', 'Sur la Roche', and la Verchère, although this last one will change its name to which will become 'La Maréchaude'. It's one of those oddities of such classifications that the vineyard which has consistently produced the Barraud's best wine all the years that we have known them, 'En Buland', is not going to be elevated to Premier Cru status.

Domaine Hubert Lamy

A domaine with 18.5 hectares of vines - 80% are Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. The vines are spread over Saint-Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay. Olivier Lamy's wine-making style and preference is to emphasise the fresh and the mineral side of his wines, with limited new wood and that is with the wines in 600 litre demi-muids rather that the classic Burgundy (225 litre) fût. Certainly Olivier's whites do have an arrow-like purity and intensity, and seem to age completely straight and true.

2019 is a very small harvest, and these will be hard to come by this year. We cannot tell you much about them either, as Olivier had Covid (asymptomatically) and had his test result the day before we were mean to taste there.

Domaine-Hubert-Lamy

Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot

The origins of the Pillot family in Chassagne can be traced back to the eighteenth century, when they seem to have been coopers more than vignerons. In the nineteenth century they abandoned barrel-making in favour of enlarging the property in Chassagne. Fernand and Laurent, who is the fourth generation, added to it again in 1992, and then in 2001 Laurent's wife Marie-Anne inherited half of her family's property, the Pommard domaine of Pothier-Rieusset, and Laurent and his father bought the other half. The domaine now stands at 14.5 hectares of vines across almost the whole length of the Côte de Beaune from Santenay to Beaune.

The Domaine is worked according to organic principles and are ploughed – no chemical weedkillers are used. They have also been members of the Dephy-ECO-phyto group, which works to reduce the number of treatments using copper sulphate, since 2012.

Laurent has always managed to pack in a lot alongside his running of the vineyard. He has his own plane which he flies to all corners of France, used keep and hunts hawks, and conducts the Chassagne brass band as well as dabbling in Mayoral duties - on top of being a father of three, Anaïs, Adrien and Eugène. They are all mad about the alps and disappear up the mountains at regular intervals.

Laurent's eldest son Adrien has been travelling the world making wine all over the place for the last few years having completed his training in Beaune. Bringing back lessons learnt in Australia, South Africa and California (and from a stint at Lea & Sandeman), During harvest Adrien is now the one in the winery while Laurent takes charge of the picking team. The wines have long been L&S favourites in both red and white - they represent excellent value, and they age very well too, despite being attractive young. The whites are precise and pure, and not lacking for body and generosity, while the reds are velvety and juicy, beautifully balanced even if drunk young on their expressive Pinot fruit. The domaine was rightfully heralded in Decanter Magazine as 'an address that deserves to be better-known'. Great value and real pleasure across their range.

The Pillots 2019 harvest was not that bad in white, they said, down 15%, but the reds are down 30%. In general they are happy with the balance in the wines because it was very hot, but the acidities are still good. We discussed Adrien's wish to do a longer élevage for the whites, but the problem that if you take the wines out of barrel that means keeping them in vats with floating tops, and they are not mad about the practicality of that. For now most are bottled after a year, but the Vide Bourse and Grandes Ruchottes will stay in barrel until the spring. They use little SO2 to begin with, gradually stabilising the levels once the wines are back in tank, and still finishing with low levels. They like ripe grapes: 'there's a kind of fashion to be the first to pick in Burgundy - they want to keep the freshness but all they get is acidity and tannin'. For the reds, they don't do massive extraction - 3 pigeages only in the middle of the fermentation, but they do a lot of pump-overs.

Domaine-Fernand-Laurent-Pillot

Domaine Henri Germain

Jean-François Germain was joined in 2018 by his daughter Lucie - who is now helping to run this small (7ha) domaine.

The Chassagne vineyards came through his mother, a Pillot, and Jean-François is married to François Jobard's daughter, so they are quite intertwined with some of our other producers. The Poruzots comes from the rows next to Remi Jobard's. In terms of winemaking the Germains are always happy to let nature take its course, and in the vineyards they follow as natural a system of viticulture as possible (organic, not certified).

These are concentrated, tightly wound wines from one of Burgundy's coldest cellars. Alcoholic fermentations can take months and the malolactics are often late, so they have always gone for long élevage in old barrels, always for two winters, and the Premiers Crus usually for 22 months. Slow to develop, they show wonderful crystalline purity. New wood is used very sparingly, just to replace barrels sold when they get to ten years old.

Jean-François told us that the yields in 2019 were well down - 2/3 of the size of the generous 2018 harvest in white at 40-45hl/ha on average, but the reds were badly affected by the drought after other complications wiand produced only 25hl/ha - 'une demi-recolte'. The reds are 13 to 13.5% natural, the whites all at close to 14%. Another lovely set of wines here, in both colours.

Domaine-Henri-Germain

Domaine Rémi Jobard

Rémi has been been making small qualitative changes ever since he took over here. The entire vineyard is cordon-pruned, so yields are naturally limited. There has been no use of fertiliser since 1994, and the vineyard is grassed-over to encourage the vine roots to go deep. The domaine has been certified organic from 2008. He says that the two most important things are the absence of weedkiller (and thus the necessity to plough, which cuts any surface roots and makes the vine go deeper) and not adding any fertiliser which again makes the roots go deeper to find nutrients.

Rémi has two vast presses, to enable him to press very slowly over six hours, and this has resulted in a big jump in finesse. The élevage now lasts nearly fifteen months, so as to allow the wines to develop slowly and to avoid fining. As a result these are wines which take a moment to show, but which reward the patient with complexity and great depth of flavour.

Rémi made a move from traditional barrels to foudres made of a mix of French, Austrian and Slavonian oak, constructed by Austrian cooper Stockinger, and having added a new one (or two) each year, there's barely a normal barrel left. He likes the way the wines develop in these large volumes, in which the 'oaking' effect is minimised.

In 2019, says Rémi, the grapes were concentrated as much by evaporation as by the direct effect of the sun. If is was not for this concentration, they might have picked at 12.5% by maturity alone, but the hot wind from the south had a drying effect. This means that unlike some hot years, there are no exotic or tropical fruit flavours, but the wines remain citrussy and bright - and very concentrated in every aspect. There's always some little plan to make improvements here, and this year it's a big one, as Rémi has taken on a new cellar which he says has space for 240 barrels, as the building of the Stockinger foudres had left little room to work on the old one. There is no room to build more, and he'd like to be able to keep the wines in bulk for even longer, believing that it can further improve the finesse and elegance.

We are very excited about Rémi's two red wines this year, both of which are excellent, the Volnay Santenots being one of the vintage's coup de cœurs.

Joseph Drouhin

Despite the size of their vineyard holding, not all Drouhin's wines come from their own domaine, but most of the other wines do come from long-term contracts, such as exists with the Marquis de Laguiche wines. In all but name these wines are 'Domaine' wines, and the vineyards are cared for and the wines vinified with exactly the same care.

Thibault Liger-Belair Successeurs

The lack of the word 'domaine' in the name signals that this is a négociant wine from Thibault Liger-Belair. Thibault buys the grapes he picks having tended the vines with his own team, so that the wines are domaine wines in all but name.
Thibault-Liger-Belair