Chandon de Briailles – 2016


Tasted in Savigny-lès-Beaune with François de Nicolay, 30 January 2018.

Domaine Chandon de Briailles
1 Rue Soeur Goby
21420 Savigny-lès-Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 21 52 31

François on the 2017 vintage:
2017 is the vintage that has saved us – we have had 5 years of no more than half a crop, including a couple of quarter crops – but 2017 was more like 1.2 crops. So for the first time in many years we have some wine in the cellar – and the 2017 vintage is a charming vintage. We had to wait for the optimum ripeness, which we can do in biodynamics as the acidity keeps quite high and we get very little botrytis – after 10 years you really feel the advantages – we started biodynamics in 2005. So all the wines were over 12° natural – there’s been no added sugar here since 2011, in fact the wines already are already taste-able, which is goo, as there already enough vintages for keeping. The frost was a big worry, of-course, as it came on exactly the same day as in 2016 and the growth-cycle, like seemingly every year now, was quite ahead of where it used to be.

François on the 2016 vintage:
The growth-cycle started early, but the 27-28 April brought a 95-99% frost. You can understand why Corton is grand cru – one third of the domaine is here and it wasn’t frosted – of-course there was mildew too – we lost 5-10% from that. But the end quality of the grapes was fantastic – exactly the balance that we like to have here – like 2005 with more intensity and I think better balanced than 2015. 2010 would by my reference with its complexity of aromas. But it was still only quarter of a crop, and only 20 hl/ha in Corton where we weren’t frosted – and practically we only made wine in Corton. Outside of Corton we saw 1.0 – 1.5 hectolitres per hectare – there was no way I was going to leave any grapes on the vines – even though it was more expensive to pick them than leave them – making a single bottling, which of course must be labelled as a Bourgogne as it’s a mix of grapes from Savigny and Pernand…

The wines…

This is such a great – if truncated – range of wines in 2016, but I will remember the visit longest, for the greatest Bourgogne Rouge I have ever tasted – if in, hopefully, never to be repeated circumstances – I ordered some!

2016 François de Nicolay, Côte de Nuits Villages Aux Montagnes
Bought, biodynamic grapes from near the château of Comblanchien and made exactly like the domaine wines – just a small touch of sulfur.
A wide and open nose, a little textured almost. Soft entry but then definition, practically layered flavour – a deliciously earthy width of flavour. Perfect balance – great CdNV!
2016 Bourgogne Rouge Cuvée Gelée Royale
Bottled late November. About 10% of this is from villages vines, the rest is a blend of 1er crus – Lavières, Ile des Vergelesses, et-cetera – almost 10 hectares worth of vines that delivered 7 barrels. The bunches were very small so the proportion of whole cluster is lower than for most domaine wines – but there was still some.
Deep colour. Wow nose – round, a suggestion of spice just gorgeously aromatic wine. Mouth-filling, concentrated but juicy, a big weight of complexity in the mid-palate. Persistent and fabulous. Quite possibly the greatest Bourgogne I ever tasted.

2016 Corton Les Marèchaudes
Also under Corton-Bressandes but more to the north with big ‘tête de mouton’ limestone. The first level on the hill above Ladoix. Usually the grand cru that is most approachable young.
Vibrantly fruited, a faint and interesting pyrazine and whole cluster complexity with really lots of depth. Silken, beautiful width, slowly adding a little tannin in the middle. Long, modest intensity but not modest length. Fine, balanced, contemplative and delicious.

2016 Corton les Bressandes
From 4 parcels, mid-hill, east-facing with a great blend of clay and limestone.
Another nose that’s open-for-business – floral above, whole-cluster perfume supporting, the fruit adding more and more fine focus. Super volume in the mouth, more fresh energy – excitement – the structure is more forward in the middle and finish. Great Corton, pure wine!

2016 Corton Clos du Roi
This parcel at the top of the vineyard – old vines with a low yield – towards the Charlemagne, with poorer soil than in Bressandes, less clay.
Less width, more profound, darker and more concentrated if slightly more compact fruit. Classier tannin – silky with a style more in the direction of the Marechaudes but with more volume in the mouth than that wine, extra concentration. Super wine, to wait longer for, due to its concentration versus the energetic Bressandes…

Les blancs

2016 Corton Blanc
In Bressandes
Lots of volume – a hint diffuse but with some excitement being generated as the aroma comes into greater focus. Good volume, a halo of fresh flavour, slightly saline, really vibrantly finishing, good minerality. It’s a wine that needs to be a little more time for it to sing in harmony, but each of the parts are super-engaging.

2016 Corton-Charlemagne
High on the hill – the best place for chardonnay in 2016.
Super-open and vibrant aroma – ripe pineapple amongst the complexity. Volume in the mouth with lots of freshness – much more ‘together’ vs the last, a round and delicious wine that is persistent and fine finishing. Super wine…

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