Mâconnais

On the back of 2019 this is another vintage of lowish yields in the Mâconnais, thankfully the story is not as gloomy as in some zones. Julien Barraud explained that the very best juice comes from a healthily-sized harvest. He thinks Chardonnay excels here when they can pick at about 50Hl/Ha - In 2020 this was hard to achieve. It was the long dry summer season that caused concentration of juice and volumes smaller than ideal. However, with very marked differences between the northern and southerly sectors they were able to draw out the harvest here and picked in perfect conditions as each vineyard hit the ideal moment of maturity. Judicious growers have made some brilliant wines in 2020. In some places there is breadth and intensity of course, but always balance - these are wines you really relish tasting. Frantz Chagnoleau has holdings in some of the coolest zones of the Mâconnais and even with a warm, dry year he has made a wonderful set of bright, focused and pure wines. Full of texture and gentle concentration but dazzling for their cut and grace.

The balance of the 2020s both chez Chagnoleau and at the Barrauds is lovely, with intensity, feel and drive.


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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 moment 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 vinification 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 in a style which is bright and incisive, expressive and pure - and well worth seeking out.

Tasting with Frantz is not for the faint hearted. He is a total charmer but has the air of a healthy obsessive. The details here are everything. And trying to keep up and and take note of all the intricacies of his blends and careful élevage takes total attention. He's crafted brilliant wines in 2020 as we have become to expect. Nothing is left to chance - with incredibly focused work in the vineyards he pulls together perfectly complementary plots to make exciting, lithe and pure wines that express his terroir without question. In a warm vintage like 2020 he may be less close to some of the Chablis-like expressions we have found here in the past - but in the context of the vintage - these remain driven, tensile and pure wines that are exciting to drink.

2020 MÂCON VILLAGES Clos Saint Pancras Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 MÂCON VILLAGES Clos Saint Pancras Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

This is raised 100% in old foudre, no barrels. Lovely bright feel and clean lines. So restrained. So pure and yet there is a pleasingly dense and ripe middle. The Clos Saint Pancras is in 3 sectorsThis is raised 100% in old foudre, no barrels. Lovely bright feel and clean lines. So restrained. So pure and yet there is a pleasingly dense and ripe middle. The Clos Saint Pancras is in 3 sectors and Frantz has some of each - this gives the wine a great complexity. With clay soils at the bottom for weight and power - top half lots of stones and limestone giving juice with far more drive and lift. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 SAINT VÉRAN Prélude Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 SAINT VÉRAN Prélude Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

The Prélude comes from 4 complimentary parcels, all quite early ripening, Frantz waits for the instant the fruit is just ripe , but balanced above all. No new wood, but in barrels and demi-muids.The Prélude comes from 4 complimentary parcels, all quite early ripening, Frantz waits for the instant the fruit is just ripe , but balanced above all. No new wood, but in barrels and demi-muids. This is deliciously gourmande. a broad expression- for this cellar - so still well measured - but very easy to love, with just enough weight and richness in the middle. Smart wine that will disappoint no one. Drinking range: 2023 - 2029L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 SAINT VÉRAN à la Côte Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 SAINT VÉRAN à la Côte Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

The vineyard here is heavy with iron oxide, and high up the slope at over 400m. Facing south, it is arguably best in cooler vintages where Frantz can allow for long hang time on the vine. Again heThe vineyard here is heavy with iron oxide, and high up the slope at over 400m. Facing south, it is arguably best in cooler vintages where Frantz can allow for long hang time on the vine. Again he uses no new wood, but big 600 litre barrels. Really feel the iron. Mineral, but richer fruit adds softness and depth too. Delicious. Very easy to love. He include a little press wine here, the results are very pleasing. Drink this while you wait for the La Fournaise to come round. Drinking range: 2023 - 2031L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 VIRÉ-CLESSÉ Les Raspillères Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 VIRÉ-CLESSÉ Les Raspillères Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

The 'Les Raspillères' vineyard faces east - with very limestone soil - just the terroir Frantz adores and works so well. In cool vintages this can be almost Chablis-like in its frame and pure feel.The 'Les Raspillères' vineyard faces east - with very limestone soil - just the terroir Frantz adores and works so well. In cool vintages this can be almost Chablis-like in its frame and pure feel. In 2020 the warm season means there is relatively full middle - with great, pert citrus fruit holding its own in tandem with that lovely cool underside. A startlingly long wine - runs on with great energy and soft joy too. The vines here are now 20 year old, so some of the youngest he has, but this has real class. Frantz admitted as we tasted that this is his favourite terroir. and you can understand why. The wine is perfectly poised. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 SAINT VÉRAN La Fournaise Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 SAINT VÉRAN La Fournaise Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

49 year old vines, this is raised in used 600 Litre barrels - no new wood at all. The vines face east, with white soils and is really quite high up the slope. Its another Chablis-like vineyard that49 year old vines, this is raised in used 600 Litre barrels - no new wood at all. The vines face east, with white soils and is really quite high up the slope. Its another Chablis-like vineyard that Frantz has unearthed in his quest for fresh expressions here. Tasted after his Montchanin, this is immediately more saline and more restrained with real mineral purity. and yet there is delicious well defined fruit at the core here. Delicious and finely balanced - in time this will no doubt fill out further - but no doubt it will never lose touch with that inherent purity. Seriously elegant and very moreish too. Drinking range: 2023 - 2029L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 SAINT VÉRAN La Roche Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 SAINT VÉRAN La Roche Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

75 year old vines on Clay heavy soils with, blue and grey marl soil. In fact it is the same soil as Barraud's En Buland. Frantz uses barrels here for the élévage - 15% of which are new. Lovely75 year old vines on Clay heavy soils with, blue and grey marl soil. In fact it is the same soil as Barraud's En Buland. Frantz uses barrels here for the élévage - 15% of which are new. Lovely nose, broad and appealing. Hooks you instantly. The palate is loaded too - middle is packed with crisp fruit, apple skin and pert peach - and the mineral line races through - to a long, complete finish with a brilliant salty tang at the finale. Impressive. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Pastoral Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Pastoral Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

The Pastoral comes from four parcels in Vergisson, aged from 50 up to 70 years old. Three parcels are on the southern outskirts of the village and one at the base of the 'rock' of Solutré - a bitThe Pastoral comes from four parcels in Vergisson, aged from 50 up to 70 years old. Three parcels are on the southern outskirts of the village and one at the base of the 'rock' of Solutré - a bit further out. The wine is exquisite, broad and pure - with real weight to the fruit. Not such a fine feel, this has more breadth and power - but the salinity is marked again, despite lots of the fruit coming from clay-heavy soils. Frantz has captured his trademark thread of fine acidity here once again. Vergisson always brings a more delicate feel to the blend, more fine, more saline - where the fruit from Solutré is always broader and richer. Its a successful combination! 1/3 fermented in barrels - 2/3 in 600 litres foudre. 15% of the oak is new. Drinking range: 2025 - 2033L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Madrigal Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Madrigal Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

Frantz always picks his top two plots for the Madrigal. This is tight now - not easy to taste to precisely. Tightly furled and a tad reductive. Deliberately so - as this is a wine destined forFrantz always picks his top two plots for the Madrigal. This is tight now - not easy to taste to precisely. Tightly furled and a tad reductive. Deliberately so - as this is a wine destined for keeping. Frantz says it will not be ready to broach for at least 5 years, It certainly has everything you'd hope for for the long haul. I look forward to revisiting this impressive study in 5-10 years time! One for the cellar - it has the perfect foundations for a brilliant future. Drinking range: 2026 - 2035L&S (Nov 2021)

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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. This year sees some changes, as the villages new Premiers Crus come into action with the 2020 vintage. The Barrauds have four vineyards that will see this recognition and upgrade in status: 'En France', 'Les Crays', 'Sur la Roche', and la Verchère, although this last one will change its name to 'La Maréchaude' but retaining the parcel name of Verchère too. 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, failing on a couple of technicalities...

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru En France Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru En France Domaine Daniel Barraud

Nose is rich and inviting. Ripe white flesh. Good weight - but less flashy and up front fruit on the palate than some here. This still feels quite tightly wound, plenty of potential. Nice freshnessNose is rich and inviting. Ripe white flesh. Good weight - but less flashy and up front fruit on the palate than some here. This still feels quite tightly wound, plenty of potential. Nice freshness and good steady drive. Finishes long and that early sweeter line lingers here. Good. Nice powdery tannins. Good elegance and lift. L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 MÂCON CHAINTRÉ Pierres Polies Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 MÂCON CHAINTRÉ Pierres Polies Domaine Daniel Barraud

Lovely minerality here. Great fresh scrape and a good pillow of neatly restrained fruit. Not fat or showy - really lithe and powerful. Julien compares this to the 2018 - with lovely balance andLovely minerality here. Great fresh scrape and a good pillow of neatly restrained fruit. Not fat or showy - really lithe and powerful. Julien compares this to the 2018 - with lovely balance and acidity, Anais agrees but adds - 'with more concentration' - she’s right. A great opener to this brilliant range.L&S (Dec 2021)

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2020 MÂCON VERGISSON La Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 MÂCON VERGISSON La Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

Bright and beautifully polished fruit. Good concentration. Bright but ripe middle. Flows really well. Just great White Burgundy! Lemon, apple and some firm white and green melon flesh. Wonderful.Bright and beautifully polished fruit. Good concentration. Bright but ripe middle. Flows really well. Just great White Burgundy! Lemon, apple and some firm white and green melon flesh. Wonderful.L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 SAINT VÉRAN En Crèches Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 SAINT VÉRAN En Crèches Domaine Daniel Barraud

Delicious. There is a richness and a weight up front. Fruit is nicely ripe, yellow flesh of pear and apples but there is good texture too. A faint line of grip. Aged in a mix of Barrels andDelicious. There is a richness and a weight up front. Fruit is nicely ripe, yellow flesh of pear and apples but there is good texture too. A faint line of grip. Aged in a mix of Barrels and Demi-Muids for 12 months - normally this would see just 10 months, but the vintage demands a little more time to soften and open. Just 10% new wood. L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Alliance-Vergisson Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Alliance-Vergisson Domaine Daniel Barraud

Good Pouilly Girth. Powerfully built. Good energy too. Broad sweep of firm yellow fruit. Nice clean scrub - some pep and bounce to - agile for a big boy. Really good.Good Pouilly Girth. Powerfully built. Good energy too. Broad sweep of firm yellow fruit. Nice clean scrub - some pep and bounce to - agile for a big boy. Really good.L&S (Dec 2021)

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2020 SAINT VÉRAN Les Pommards Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 SAINT VÉRAN Les Pommards Domaine Daniel Barraud

12 months in a mix of barrels and demi-muids 20% new wood. Immediately this has real breadth and power in comparison to the more 'agile' en Creches. Broader, fuller and richer - but still a great12 months in a mix of barrels and demi-muids 20% new wood. Immediately this has real breadth and power in comparison to the more 'agile' en Creches. Broader, fuller and richer - but still a great freshness zips right through the middle. Really delicious blend of joyous weight and sap and yet mineral freshness too. Powerful Saint Veran. L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Les Châtaigniers Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Les Châtaigniers Domaine Daniel Barraud

Soil in this vineyard is ‘Calcaire a Chaille’ a strange sight - quite large hard rocks of Limestone sit on the surface here and there is lots of deep clay beneath. There is less Limestone impactSoil in this vineyard is ‘Calcaire a Chaille’ a strange sight - quite large hard rocks of Limestone sit on the surface here and there is lots of deep clay beneath. There is less Limestone impact than you might think when looking at it. What you get is very good nonetheless. Big and bold. Not fat - but fairly chunky frame and lots of deep firm fruit wrapped up and kept together by a good fresh line of citrus zip. Bold style and impressive.L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru La Maréchaude Clos La Verchère Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru La Maréchaude Clos La Verchère Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 is the first vintage that Maréchaude has been promoted to 1er Cru. This was always known here as La Verchère. They wanted to keep the original Verchère identity - so they've added the2020 is the first vintage that Maréchaude has been promoted to 1er Cru. This was always known here as La Verchère. They wanted to keep the original Verchère identity - so they've added the sobriquet. This is the parcel in front of the house, a lovely gentle slope, always looking impeccable. Lovely. Broad and bright. Really charming and expansive texture. This is always a winner here and so it is great this now has the recognition it deserves with 1er Cru status. L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru Les Crays Vieilles Vignes Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru Les Crays Vieilles Vignes Domaine Daniel Barraud

On the nose there is a good feel of some sweet, creamy oak, a good whiff of warm buttered toast - then the fruit builds. Pear, apple and lime zip adding energy. Good build, impressive wine. FreshnessOn the nose there is a good feel of some sweet, creamy oak, a good whiff of warm buttered toast - then the fruit builds. Pear, apple and lime zip adding energy. Good build, impressive wine. Freshness grows in the mouth, but there is great structure and power here too - the finish is long and satisfying.L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru Sur la Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ 1er Cru Sur la Roche Domaine Daniel Barraud

Love the clean cut brightness here. Delicious. Real ping and crisp drive. Bright, citrus and chalky too. Great feel - this motors on and on. Nice weight but it is that freshness that steals the show.Love the clean cut brightness here. Delicious. Real ping and crisp drive. Bright, citrus and chalky too. Great feel - this motors on and on. Nice weight but it is that freshness that steals the show. This is wine with a bright future.L&S (Nov 2021)

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2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes En Buland Domaine Daniel Barraud

2020 POUILLY FUISSÉ Vieilles Vignes En Buland Domaine Daniel Barraud

En Buland is not a 1er Cru but remains the most amazing wine. It falls foul of the rules for 1er cru by being at over 300m and by facing north east - neither is allowed, however, the quality of thisEn Buland is not a 1er Cru but remains the most amazing wine. It falls foul of the rules for 1er cru by being at over 300m and by facing north east - neither is allowed, however, the quality of this parcel is irrefutable. Broad and rich. Delicious texture. Meursault-like intensity and nutty notes. Lots of firm white fruit - real power and push. Big shoulders but so much to get your teeth into. Charming, spicy and intense. Very good. Blue Marne soil. 87 year old vines. Same soil as Les Crays - but les Crays faces south - this is north east. Lots of iron oxide too, making for almost red soils. Power and restraint in perfect measures.L&S (Nov 2021)

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