2017 1er Cru Grandes Ruchottes Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot
|Sub-district||Côte de Beaune|
An enticing nose of smoke and flint. The entry is supple and sweet - there is good concentration of fruit supported by refined oak. A twinkle of acidity keeps the juice bright and poised. This is very alluring. L&S (Oct 2018)
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A Chassagne domaine on the industrial estate below the village where Adrien Pillot, who gained experience in New Zealand and Oregon, is gradually taking over from his father Laurent. He likes to crush the white grapes a little and use more lees than his father, and he has a good touch with reds, too. On opening, the wine showed exotic aromatics and an angular, quite unforgiving palate. This improved considerably after 24 hours, illustrating that not all the 2017s are forthcoming. It is rich and viscous, with candied ginger and lemon, together with fragrant lychee. (The bottled asparagus notes disappeared after a couple of days.)= The lively tanginess contrasts with the exotic spiciness, while the rich concentration and balance bodes well for mid- to long-term ageing. An atypical 2017. 13.5% Drinking range: 2024 - 2032 Rating: 94 Sarah Marsh MW, Club Oenologique Magazine (Jun 2021)
A cooler and prettier nose reflects notes of freshly sliced apple, pear, lavender and a subtle touch of wood influence. The sleeker, more refined and well-detailed middle weight flavors flash evident minerality that continues onto the lemony, intense and juicy finish. This too needs to add depth but more should gradually develop with age. Drinking range: 2025 - Rating: 92 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Jun 2019)
The 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Grandes Ruchottes is excellent, unfurling in the glass with notes of pear, green apple, iodine, white flowers and pastry cream. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered, its texture balanced by good energy and cut, displaying impressive concentration and length. As usual, it's one of the range's high points. Pillot's parcel is planted with old vines on SO4 rootstocks, which today produce lots of small shot berries. Rating: 92-94 William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (Feb 2019)
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.
Read more about Adrien here in this recent Forbes article here.
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