2019 1er Cru Vergers Domaine Fernand & Laurent Pillot

Grapes Chardonnay
Colour White
Origin France, Burgundy
District Côte d'Or
Sub-district Côte de Beaune
Village Chassagne Montrachet
Classification 1er Cru
ABV 14.5%
Vineyard Vergers

From the north of the commune, a very shallow soil on rock and iron - there are iron nodules can be found on the surface. A very gentle slope. Super minerality, a green-fruit charging mineral freshness alongside a subtle ripeness. 3 ages of vines, the youngest planted in the early '80s, but the rest date from the '50s. They were surprised that it did not suffer from the drought, given the rocky soil, but put it down to the vines being not that vigorous or productive. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 L&S (Oct 2020)

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(mostly from Les Pasquelles with a tiny amount of Les Vergers proper). Firm post-bottling reduction makes for a difficult nose at present. On the palate however there is good freshness and verve to the rich but finer middle weight flavors that exude a subtle minerality on the lingering finish that is supported by more evident acidity. This too is very good. Drinking range: 2027 - Rating: 92 Allen Meadows, (Jun 2021)

The 2019 Chassagne-Montrachet Vergers 1er Cru has a well defined bouquet with flint, citrus peel and yellow flower aromas. The palate is well balanced with more edge than the Vergers or Morgeot, also greater salinity that lends tension to the finish. There is a nice kiss of lemongrass on the aftertaste, completing one of Pillot’s better Chassagne-Montrachets. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030 Rating: 91 Neal Martin, (Jan 2021)

It is safe to say that Pillot played a blinder in 2019. Chassagne Premiers Crus Vide Bourse (£510 ib per case of 12 bottles), Les Champgains (£405 ib per case of 12 bottles), Morgeot (£405 ib per case of 12 bottles), Grandes Ruchottes (£605 ib per case of 12 bottles), Puligny Noyers Brets (£335 ib per case of 12 bottles) and even the muscular Meursault Caillerets (£495 ib per case of 12 bottles) all gained 17.5 scores in my notes and every wine looked spot on with regard to exact GPS location and balance. But one wine popped its head up above the crowd – Les Vergers. Lively, lifted and with more verve and tenacity, this is the prettiest and most engaging of the lot and while this cuvée is not always a front-runner, in 2019 it is my pick. Rating: 18+ Matthew Jukes (Jan 2021)

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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