Profile: Domaine Garnier & Fils


Tasted in Ligny-le-Châtel with Jérôme Garnier, 24 January 2017.

Domaine Garnier & Fils
Chemin de Méré
89144 Ligny-le-Châtel
Tel: + 33 3 86 47 42 12

This is a domaine of the beaten track, ‘up’ in Ligny. Brothers Xavier and Jérôme work here with their father Joseph. Actually the first vines were planted only in 1985, by Xavier – father Joseph being a long-tome farmer. Jérôme has been here since 2000.

Today the domaine tends 24 hectares of vines in Petit Chablis and Chablis – all in the Ligny, Maligny and Lignorelles areas. They also buy some grapes – 1ers and GCs – “We’re looking for highest quality, and 75% of our purchases are bought as grapes. Often it’s our own team that does the harvesting, by hand, and then we can also take control the pressing. We work on the basis of long-term relationships with our vigneron suppliers.

About two-thirds of production is exported. Not so much individual callers, but to 27 countries. The US is their biggest market via Martine Saunier. There are also sales to 2500 restaurants in France, such as the Ducasse group.

The wines are all sealed natural cork, except a ‘technical’ cork for the Petit Chablis. “We do very little intervention, we’re looking for fat, texture and ripeness, with no added yeast and long fermentations of 4-24 months.

Jérôme on the last vintages:
In 2016 we completely lost 11 hectares in the hail. We also lost about 3.5 hectares (60-70%) to the frost and because of this there’s no Petit Chablis. So in the end we only have about 25% of a ‘normal’ harvest. But 2015 is really the best vintage for volume and quality – to match maybe 2007.

The wines…

The first couple of wines were aromatically a little tight – Jérôme say he likes to aerate, and that a carafe would be good.

A very nice new address for Burgundy Report.

2015 Petit Chablis
All from Lignorelles at the bottom of the village. Not so much Portlandian here so normally we have a more fruit driven style.
The nose is a little,tight, faint toasty notes. Round in the mouth, mobile, nice energy! Layers of tasty flavour. Just a little finishing rigour in the finish but buffered by plenty of ripe fruit – yum! Excellent finish.

2015 Chablis
About 90k bottles per year – roughly 12-13 hectares worth. The average here is about 45 hl/ha, bottled in January.
Also the nose here is a little tight, modest agrume. Generous, supple, mouth-filling. Really delicious and with super energy. A modest touch of salinity and equally modest minerality – yet simply delicious wine!

Here the wines from purchased grapes:
The first two were bottled in September, Montmains and Fourchaume in mid-December.

2015 Chablis 1er Beauroy
First vintage – 50% grapes and the rest bought as must – 2 producers. 25 hl Austrian foudres for this wine, there are also some demi- muids.
Aromatic, perfumed – good to see that they can be open! Ooh, directly this is energetic, slightly cushioned, sweetly complex – certainly plenty of wood in the mix and more than I would like, yet like many in 2015, this combination remains completely delicious!

2015 Chablis 1er Côte de Jouan
The second vintage for this wine, all grapes.
Just a little tighter. Slowly opening with some discreet oak notes. Also, delicious, energetic, mineral wine with gorgeous mouth-watering flavour – there’s oak here too but its much less noticeable. Bravo just a beauty!

2015 Chablis 1er Montmains
From Butteaux, the high part, all bought in grapes. All 600l barrel elevage.
A tight width yet nicely deep nose. A little more open, floral fruit, getting wider, and a slowly insinuating intensity here too. I like very much the mouth-watering more mineral mid-palate. This is a little less energetic than the previous two, but super. More mineral finishing for sure.

2015 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
All in must. 2 different contracts. A mix of demi-muids and barrels. 1 month in bottle
A little more open, but largely it’s oak notes on the nose. Of course there’s some oak on the palate too, but there’s fine texture and a really delicious, mouth-watering flavour with a fine intensity. Really a grand cru style complexity and texture, here, just missing a little weight. Really excellent! The last notes are equally delicious despite the coating of wood.

2015 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Two contracts, 65% grapes, one part from Vaulorent, the rest from Côte de Fontenys, the must comes from Homme Mort. Also in bottle 1 month.
This is a little more open with an inviting width of agrume-style fruit. Plenty of volume, and then a slowly growing intensity of flavour – citrus fruit plus a little extra sweetness. Hard to spot any oak here. Really mouth-watering, sweetly so, only in the finish does it start to show some floral and mineral notes. A little tannic, phenolic texture too – nice. Utterly delicious but needs to come together a little more – maybe just 6 months more will be enough!

These last two whites are still in elevage:

2015 Chablis Grain d’Orée (Domaine)
From a 1.8 ha parcel – the plateau above Homme Mort. 60% tank elevage, but 2 years of elevage, the last year assembled into tank with lees. Will be bottled September 2017.
There’s a little oak accenting the aromas, but great aromas of a classically, faintly reduced, agrume. Big, complex, mineral, actually just a little too warm, but really lots of volume, energy and a fine minerality. I think this will be excellent, though it’s hard to taste today. A little tannic texture in the finish too.

2015 Chablis Vaudesir
Two contracts, 80% grapes, and 20% as wine – ‘but from a very good producer.’ It will be bottled at the start of July.
Here is quite a vibrant nose, though today also quite marked by the wood. More volume in the mouth, also this seems more together, with better defined intensity and layers of flavour. This is more modestly oaked in the flavour and is really excellent. Excellent wine!

There are normally a couple of barrels of GC Les Clos, but because of the hail, there’s none in 2015 – though there are 3 barrels of 2016!

2015 Bourgogne Epineuil
Plan April bottling.
Nice colour. Ooh, bright fresh, slightly herbed pinot fruit – really wide and freshly attractive. Good volume, a drag of tannin rather than grain, some oak flavour but certainly there’s a ripe core of fruit. Fine width but this needs the oak to fade, though really very tasty wine. Probably about 12 euros, but this is all reserved…

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