Tasted in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux with Guilhem Goisot, 11 January, 2019.
Domaine Jean-Hughes et Guilhem Goisot
30 rue Bienvenu-Martin
Tel. +33 3 86 53 35 15
Guilhem on 2018:
“2018 – it made us feel good. We went through everything in the year because it was a good start in spring but wet – storms like we rarely see, even a touch of hail in the village. But then the best flowering since 1992 though but then more stress in the summer because there was no rain – 3 weeks before harvest we didn’t think we had much, but then we started to have cooler nights the vegetation looked to perk up a little and the grapes started to fill – but we didn’t have any rain! A full harvest, ripe and 100% clean – not a single grape with mildew – I thought I was in Africa given the dryness – there was rain in the region but very localized so none here. My father’s made 42-43 vintages and given the colours of the foliage and the state of the grapes, he thinks it was the cooler nights that made the difference. We could harvest without stress because not everything was ready at the same time – we had practically a month of harvesting, finishing 25 September but that’s because we followed well the maturities. Certainly the end of the fermentations have been very long and needed to be closely watched – or there could be some not nice surprises with volatiles and bacteria. We had one recalcitrant tank, we didn’t go the additive route – rather we cooled it, racked it and then slowly warmed it again – and the fermentation finished okay.”
Guilhem on 2017:
In 2017 it was harder to find enough people available at exactly the right moment during harvest. It was a vintage, depending on the parcel, that was 25-35% lower volume than ‘normal’ – but that’s many times more than in 2016! We didn’t have the heavy frost here that was experienced in Chablis in 2017 as much as anything it was the strength of the effect in 2016 that was still felt in 2017. The fact that our vineyards are mainly massale means that every vine is different so the recovery was different for all – not all good or not all bad. But we had the chance to make a harvest without crying like in 2016 – though I know that many colleagues not so far a way had a much harder time. It’s a vintage with a strong resemblance to 2015 – we started harvesting the same day – September 03 – and many of the parcels were picked on exactly the same day – the maturities looked the same too. Reds at 30 hl/ha, and whites depending on AOP between 40-45 – despite 40% less rain in the year, though the year was dotted by mini rain-storms.
“I think in red 2017 is very good vintage – similar to 2015 here, but the whites are better than 2015 – probably because it’s our l’Yonne mindset – the freshness and minerality – the 2015s are great but less our mentality. We saw really excellent maturity for the sauvignon in 2017, we harvested less than 3 weeks – unlike in 2018 – it was a more homogenous maturity in 2017.”
“The old mindset of growers is ‘Once it’s in the cellar it’s safe’ so there’s always a little pressure to start early before any storms or something like that. We were fortunate with the timing of the bad weather in 2016 that the 2015s were still in the cellar – so we could hold onto them – we’re still selling those 2015s as there was almost nothing to sell in 16 – but it works well because the wines are super. If the wine’s good it will always sell – maybe there are times when it sells slower, but it will still sell. The two most important, the most stressful moments in the year are just before harvesting and just before the bottling – I have to say that for me, just before the harvest brings the most stress.”
A very strong white wine vintage chez Goisot – the reds are good to excellent – but there is much greatness to be found in their whites in 2017.
All reds are sampled from tank. Four whites are bottled, the rest are also in tank. Always bottle with 3 different cork suppliers to minimize the risk – ‘but the same (high) specification:’
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Corps de Garde Rouge
Quite good colour. A wide and quite full nose, faintly powdery fruit, faintly herbed but with a certain attractive sweetness. In the mouth it’s sleek, fresh, faintly grained with tannin – the mouth-watering aspect is very tasty – the rest needs time as it’s relatively acidic though nicely mineral today – actually quite rare in 2017! Worth following.
2017 Irancy Les Mazelots
All pinot on Kimmerigian – not much clay – quite a white soil. We had some great vintages of césar, but the wine was exactly the same 10 years later – it doesn’t develop, it’s like a fossil!
Good colour again. The nose starts similar to the last but working the glass brings fuller aromas with some modest oak-vanilla. Fuller, ooh this has really great texture. Fresh, great energy – but dulled a little by the oak today. Great line in the finish – a super finish!
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre La Ronce
More gravel here, a little blue and very small shell-fish fossils.
A little more colour again. More weight of aroma and more sucrosity too. Rounder, supple, much more comforting blend of texture and flavour – I find this excellent – super length too!
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre La Court Vir
‘A young vine, between hail and frost in the last years, this is the first real vintage for this wine – at least with anything resembling a proper volume.’ This vintage late 20s hl/ha, almost always 30-40 hl is the aim for the pinot noir at this domaine – ‘very fine selections only.’
Good colour – a fresher nose, but one of depth, faintly oaked, nicely fruited. Ooh – like the last wine, but even more supple – a tiny grain of tannin is visible but without astringency. Wide in the finish – another wine of excellence!
Bottled. Over 80 year-old vines – an old massale selection with small grapes like pinot noir – planted on a Kimmerigian hillside location mainly catching the setting sun. ‘The soil needs constant work, or it’s like concrete. There’s lots of red clay and blue fossils here.’ This wine is made in stainless-steel tanks.
A big, fresh nose – really an energy and an invitation here. Hmm, drive, line, melting flavour, some sucrosity, line – this is simply great aligoté. Bravo!
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Corps de Garde
A barrel sample. Probably won’t bottle before the early summer.
Fresh, a lick of vanilla-oak here. Direct, mineral – über-silky. At the end there’s even a touch of tannic grain. I simply love the shape, texture and melting line of this wine – I would wait for the oak to leave – 1-2 years – but it’s probably not on the market much before that anyway. Excellent.
Pronounced like Beaumonts, from a single parcel of vines, south-west facing on Kimmerigian ground – Sunny, top of the hill – one of the parcels with most clay. Also a barrel sample.
A little oak, but a more ample, riper, citrus fruit too. More volume in the mouth, pure – such clarity, the oak is showing much less in the flavour – what you have is transparency, minerality and just gorgeous flavour – bravo!
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Gueules de Loup
Again a barrel sample. Similar altitude to the last but completely white soil.
More depth of aroma, riper fruit again, slightly golden roast fruit notes too. The flavour profile is different – no sulfur style – but open clean and absolutely delicious. The fruit more golden, almost roast here.
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Le Court Vir
Another barrel sample. Same parcel as for the red.
More overt freshness – a cooler place – yellow citrus but fresh and partly floral. Here some salinity, a growing volume – long. No overt oak. Delicious.
Planted in the mid-1960s, vines coming from Guilhem’s wife. That’s the name of the parcel, planted with an old massalle selection, south-facing. ‘Climate is warmer and drier in the Côtes d’Auxerre vs Chablis.’ It has the sun the whole day but the heat really only in the afternoon. 0.4 hectares. ‘I like to do the manual weeding here – I arrive at 04h00-04h30 – and my telephone has no reception – heaven! I don’t have this luxury in Saint-Bris! This with 500 litre barrel elevage.’
A little touch of barrel but also a depth of attractive, almost agrumed minerality. Some gas. Open, nicely mobile, intense – more directly intense than most in 2017 – delicious and with great line. Bravo!
A nose that takes some glass-swirling, but the ripe fruit below is perfectly countered by the higher tones of the nose. Ooh – a discreet entry, coolly mineral, accented with fruit and some sucrosity – ooh sooo good. A little less incisive than the Chablis but even more interesting in the finish – bravo!
2017 Saint-Bris Moury
Moury is old French for Meurgers. From a north, north-west-facing parcel. This wine is produced in exactly the same way as the chardonnay – “we don’t make a vin de cepage, rather a vin de terroir. Our pinot is usually picked 2-3 days before our whites, but our sauvignon blanc can sometimes be ready before, sometimes the same as the rest of our whites – the timing is usually similar to our chardonnays – it’s very stony here – you can go in the vines in the rain – there’s nothing to stick to your boots!.”
A nose that vibrates with interest – some mint but also a ripe, golden, fruit that’s intertwined. Mineral, then more mineral, some fruit, then even more mineral. Impressive, particularly the finish.
2017 Saint-Bris Exogyra Virgula
Of-course named after the fossilised shell-fish found in the rocks of the vineyard – also some Kimmerigian here.
Hmm – more attractive aroma – more weight. More line and freshness, growing width of flavour with a modest mineral base. Longer – hmm – excellent wine.
A deeper nose – some reduction – slowly adding a premier cru Chablis level of attractive and vibrant minerality. Lots of volume – a shape of a great Chablis, a minerality of a great Chablis – but a different fruit profile. This will be great and in 20 years’ time I’m not sure you will be able to tell me whether this is Chablis or Saint-Bris!
The climate here is plain south near Saint-Bris – as you get nearer Auxerre the exposure changes.
The characteristic mint but with more weight of fresh but ripe fruit below, occasionally hinting at fresh apple. Hmm. Supple wine, great texture, easy over the palate but still with super definition, there is focus here. So different but so good. Bravo!