2019 La Roche Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau
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From the south-facing slope of the hill, on limestone scree, a position that resembles Pouilly Fuisse 'en Buland', these the oldest vines they have. It is all aged in barrel. A tasting of two halves, all open up front and then quite severe on the finish, and Frantz says it's in need of a racking and a touch of SO2, but that he is convinced it is one of the three outstanding wines of the cellar in this vintage. Drinking range: 2021 - 2026 L&S (Oct 2020)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
From 75-year old vines, the oldest owned by the domaine, the 2019 Saint-Véran la Roche is located on marl soils mid-slope. Aged in barrels for 12 months and four months in vat, it has a tightly-wound bouquet that opens with lime, crushed limestone and a whiff of the sea. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, good weight with a touch of nuttiness towards the finish. Great length in the mouth, this should age well in bottle. Drinking range: 2021 - 2032 Rating: 92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Nov 2021)
The 2019 Saint-Véran La Roche has the most peachiness on the nose amongst the four Saint-Vérans that I tasted, perhaps the cuvée with the widest aromatic appeal. The palate is well balanced with a satisfying fatness on the entry, very good weight and concentration, though I prefer the tension displayed by the à la Côte and La Fournaise. Drinking range: 2022 - 2028 Rating: 90 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jan 2021)
Deep greenish gold. Reticent but promising nose. Just a little oak influence but promising for the future. Almost electric, deep-flavoured with lots going on in there. A salty note on the end. 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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