Tasted in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux with Guilhem Goisot, 26 January, 2021.
I always add an extra 30 minutes to the schedule to accommodate my chats with Guilhem, but it’s rarely enough!
Guilhem on 2020:
Hot and early – it’s the first time when harvesting that we finished all of our pinot before starting our chardonnay – also in August too. We actually started at about 22 August. We always worry about frost in these early vintages – my parents knew this (white) spring frost well in the 1970s and 80s but we see more and more the black frost and the north winds – we can’t really protect against that. We adapted our way of work – covid-compatible – in the vines and always with just one person in a car. We can thank the cool nights that we harvested so early – if they had been warmer we would have had more blockage of the maturities. In the end, a slightly more generous vintage than 2019, though – no surprise – less than in 2018. About in-line with our 10-year average harvest. ”
Guilhem on 2019:
“19 was certainly in-between 18 and 20 in terms of how early it was. We had 10mm of rain 20 August – we were worried before that because the pinot was far from mature but the rain accelerated things and we were also starting to do some harvesting from 5th September – but that’s not far away from 2015 or 2017. That 10mm of rain was the key together with cooler nights before the harvest as the grapes were quite dehydrated before that and we even saw some blockages – the sugar and acidity was there – concentrated – but overall not ripe. The acidities were borderline too much for crémant! High degrees; 13.8-14.5° here in St.Bris for the whites – 13.5° was usually unripe. 12.9-13.4° for the pinots was fine.”
“These two years have brought satisfaction to the domaine; 2018 were the longest fermentations that anyone can remember 5-6 months, but that was forgotten in 19 and 20 – I don’t want to accelerate fermentations but I was certainly happy with that. Brett’s the greatest worry for the future – it was always there before but today with higher maturities and higher pHs that’s a worry in the future.”
A couple of wines with pyrazines troubled me but there were some great wines too – and in both colours – but 2019 is clearly a great vintage for St.Bris!
Reds – none are bottled yet ‘but for some we are starting to ask the questions about timing.’ For the whites, three have been bottled, the rest not yet:
2019 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Corps de Garde Rouge
Plenty of colour. This nose has a depth of pure, sweet fruit red fruit. Mouth-filling, framed with a small grain of tannin – lots of freshness and good energy – the fruit is red and clean, certainly ripe. Rich and long finishing – that’s already a great starting point, with just a touch of finishing dryness today.
2019 Irancy La Voie de Cravant
The first vintage; vines from a contact who produces cereals and fruit, organic, but only has a small parcel of vines here – 0.3 ha and was looking for someone to take on the management of the parcel – ‘so the vines are planted as they are not our selections of vines but it’s our starting point.’
A rounder nose of ripe fruit – quite a cushioned start. Wider, lots of fresh energy – the grain of tannin is finer. Lots of concentration here, quite a cherry-fruit style and slightly saline too long finishing. A big wine, but a delicious one.
Versus the last, higher altitude and more limestone. 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, but I’ve kept 3 vines for the memory – so this is all pinot!
Deep colour. Hmm – that’s really wide, darker fruit but of energy. Extra fresh much more direct, there’s more overt structure here too – but what a great finish, long and vibrant, slightly dry textured – really great here.
2019 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre La Court Vit
Third vintage here. More clay than the following and water is easier to access – ‘I think that’s why it is the more generous.’
A little less width but the impression of cushioned silk to this dark, sweet fruit. Hmm – that’s super in the mouth – wide, fresh, cool-fruited. Slowly mouth-watering with delicious, delicious flavour. Great finishing again – they are babies these wines though.
2019 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre La Ronce
This nose is more compact after the last, but there’s a finesse to this aroma too. Finer tannin – practically no grain to find just a subtle dryness. This the wine with the finest texture, the previous with the finest flavour – it would be great to compare their evolution over the next years.
2019 Bourgogne Aligoté
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 rare wine that’s been bottled – this done mid-August.
Freshness and clarity of riper fruit here – that’s a lovely invitation. Nice in the mouth – cool and with energy – fine texture and a small accent of tannic texture that frames the wine. Wide and nicely mineral finishing – the last impression is that tiny grain of finishing texture. That’s a beautiful aligoté.
2019 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Corps de Garde
This not all racked yet, all still in barrel – here a mix of barrels.
That’s a really mineral nose, almost suggesting a pyrazine/graphite-mineral element. In the mouth – this fills every available space – with energy and complexity. I still see a mineral accent that could also be pyrazine – but as part of a general complexity – still a delicious wine. Finishing with a faint texture of tannin.
2019 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Biaumont
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.
Here’s a vibrant nose again but in this case, it’s a more classic yellow-citrus with a faint suggestion of barrel. Wide, more overtly chalky-mineral, a little richness, a depth, of texture. Long, long finishing with a faint salinity too. Far from ready but there’s tons of potential here – but I expect patience will be required.
Again a barrel sample. Similar altitude to the last but completely white soil.
An easier width of aroma here – quite a finesse. In the mouth too; overtly mineral but with a textural cushion and faint sweetness that makes this already very accessible. Really mouth-watering. Made to age but already delicious wine of super length – bravo!
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Le Court Vir
The same parcel as the red – on-third is planted to white. ’It was the esprit of my great-grandfather who always said this was a good parcel for both colours – so we continue to honour that.’
Hmm – here’s the same style of nose as the Corps de Garde – a pyrazine/graphite-mineral aroma. In the mouth, this is more intense and rather wide. Lovely texture. The finish is a very good one – fine clarity of finishing flavour but still that accent of pyrazine…
2019 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Gondonne
No pyrazine this time but a deeper nose due to a faint reduction – very mineral and sleek is my impression. Really mouth-filling but not overtly energetic – more composed and balanced – the flavour has fine intensity and plenty of mouth-watering concentration. Really wide and chalky mineral finishing – that’s a wine to have patience with but excellent wine!
2019 Chablis Faucertaine
Planted in the mid-1960s, vines coming from Guilhem’s wife. That’s the name of the parcel, planted with an old masalle 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 – no rush to bottle’
Not a wide nose but there’s depth and fine higher tones – a vertical nose. Really mineral, quite wide, very good energy here. That’s a super wine – mouth-watering, always changing – only a little texturally showing the barrels – not the flavour of the barrels. Super…
Of-course named after the fossilised shell-fish found in the rocks of the vineyard – also some Kimmerigian here. This and the next are bottled, the final two not yet.
Not a large nose but here is an obvious change of tempo – different fruit but not really the menthol style of St.Bris. Fresh attack, mineral and wide – almost a juicy wine here despite a calm style. Pure and complex – that’s a great St.Bris!
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!.” The third wine to have been bottled – all done mid-August
Here with a rounder more perfumed nose supported by a faint reduction. Extra clarity – extra energy – that’s so mouth-watering but also so delicious. That’s a great wine – you hardly note the cepage here, just how delicious the wine is…
2019 Saint-Bris Corps de Garde
This sauvignon gris, the previous two blanc. Not bottled
That’s another great nose – so attractive – the first sniff suggests a light reduction but the second no-more. Some gas here. Open, mineral, purity, clarity of flavour. Vibrantly finishing – and very long too – finishing with the dry tannin of the vintage…
The climate here is plain south near Saint-Bris – as you get nearer Auxerre the exposure changes. Co-planted blanc and gris.
A more guarded nose – offering fewer references but behind is fine cooking herbs – a sage leaf impression – St.Bris Saltimbocca! Wide, mouth-filling – very mineral – fine texture suffused with the herbs of the nose. The finish is direct, pure and very long – slowly mouth-watering. Great wine in preparation – indeed a great year for the St.Bris.