2019 A la Côte Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau
|Other||Vegan, Practising Organic, Vegetarian|
Their highest vineyard at 400m, this is south facing on red earth - lots of iron oxide. The soil and exposition counter the altitude to make a wine which is always their most expressive and ample - which is exactly how this shows, aromatic with ripe fruit, fully expressive already, and quite round on the palate. Drinking range: 2021 - 2025 L&S (Oct 2020)
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The 2019 Saint-Véran A La Côte, which sadly was completely hailed the day before my visit in 2021, has a much more timid bouquet that demands more coaxing from the glass. A hint of white truffle emerges with time. The palate is well balanced with a spicy opening. This is a little more honeyed in texture than the La Fournaise but with the domaine’s trademark tension on the finish. Drinking range: 2022 - 2032 Rating: 91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Nov 2021)
The 2019 Saint-Véran à la Côte has a similar nose to the La Fournaise: very precise and terroir-driven with slate-like scents and hints of white flower. The palate is well balanced with a rounded opening. This is another powerful Saint-Véran from the Domaine with a pithy, caramelized pear and ginger infused finish that lingers. Excellent. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jan 2021)
Broad, almost fat, nose. Real breadth of fruit on the palate and a little tightness on the finish. Still quite youthful with quite a bit to chew on. Very energetic. Drinking range: 2022 - 2026 Rating: 16 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2021)
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.
Macon Villages Le Clos Saint Pancras : 3.55 ha
These vines were planted in 2000. Frantz uses a little bit of new wood - 10%. Élevage in demi-muids. This is the most northerly plot he works and it is high (350m) - facing east and made up of mineral, stony soil.
Viré Clessé Les Raspillères : 0.73 ha
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 passionate about wine and who realised it had once been a vineyard.
St Véran Prélude : 2.3 ha
Poor, calcareous soils. 15% new wood in demi-muids (500l barrels). 45 year old vines in several plots - the earliest ripening.
St Véran la Roche : 0.42 ha
70 year old vines at 200m in Chasselas, on marl, in mid-slope. Some is aged in demi-muids, but mostly it's in barrel with 10% new wood.
St Véran à La Côte : 0.25 ha
The highest vineyard of the domaine at 400m, on red earth, in Chasselas. Aged in demi-muids with no new wood.
St Véran La Fournaise : 0.21ha
All aged in demi-muids with no new wood. The whitest and most mineral soil they have.
Pouilly Fuissé Pastoral : 0.45 ha
Pouilly Fuissé Madrigal : 0.25 ha
From Vergisson, (mostly 'en Carmentrant') and all aged in barrel, but no new wood even if some are recent.
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