Profile: Maison en Truffière (Meursault)

Update 28.4.2010(27.3.2009)billn

en truffiere
Truffière is actually a sub-label of Vincent Girardin, who runs a highly successful operation from his base in Meursault. It was about 2001 when Girardin moved from his former base in Santenay, to a purpose-built winery in the outskirts of Meursault. Whilst in Santenay, his focus was more towards red wine than white, but in tandem with his move his focus was shifted.

Girardin’s business is part ‘domaine’ plus a significant turnover contribution from négoce operations.

Nowadays he is certainly better known for his whites, though he still manages to produce a long list of red cuvées each year, and despite telling Allen Meadows back in 2005 that he would significantly reduce the number of reds in his range – it seems that he can’t pass a good offer by. Some in the region call Vincent the ‘king of Corton-Charlemagne’ as he is reputed to have as many as 160 barrels of Charlemagne in his cellar per vintage. Not surprising then that he can bottle a separate cuvée called Quintessence de Corton-Charlemagne from the pick of his barrels.

With the management and later acquisition of the old Henri Clerc domaine since 2001 plus more recent additions of vines, he now works over 20 hectares of vineyards which are a mix of outrightly owned and rented.

puligny folatières Peux BoisOf note, during 2007 I was driving through the vineyards of Puligny when high on the hillside I spotted a large earth-mover and a cleared area of vineyard. A short walk up the hill left me standing in what seemed to be a small quarry; the soil had been ‘peeled’ back, and the bedrock had been smashed to pieces, ready for the soil to be ‘rolled-back’ again. I’ve heard of preparing the ground, but this seemed rather over the top – though a year or two earlier I did see something similar, if in a smaller scale, in Bâtard-Montrachet. It was very interesting to walk the margin of the vineyard – no vines, only scrub-land – to see the totally different grey soil instead of the red clay-based soil over the limestone bedrock which supports all the vineyards. Geology is everything. As far as I could tell from my book of maps, it was the majority part of the 1er cru Folatières climat of ‘Peux Bois’, so I asked the BIVB whose vineyard work this was – the answer was Vincent Girardin. I was keen to ask a few questions about this and his domaine, but apparently he was ‘too busy’.
puligny folatières Peux Bois
Mr Girardin is clearly an astute businessman, in areas where he is already selling it was not uncommon for him to supply under different labels so that the clientèle cannot directly link (price-wise I assume) label 1 or label 2 to label 3 – one, Baron de la Charrière is now gone, but another, ‘en Truffière’ remains. The en Truffière wines predominantly go into the restaurant trade though they can be bought at ‘degusta’ events (food, wine & regional produce) throughout France. The wines in the bottle are the same as those bottled under the Vincent Girardin label, at least where they appear under both labels. I recently sampled a range of ‘Truffière’ wines which you will find below.

A range of Truffière wines tasted at the end of 2008:

2005 en Truffière, Rully 1er Les Cloustry to find this wine...
Nice, wide, high-toned aromatics. Decent concentration with a pineapple fruit being the dominant expression. Good texture and a nice finish. A good wine
2004 en Truffière, Meursault 1er Genevrièrestry to find this wine...
Toast and brioche on the nose. The first impression is of good acidity and plenty of depth and length – the more you explore the wine the acidity seems more tart, but it’s a good foil to the concentration. Nice wine.
2004 en Truffière, St.Aubin 1er Murgers Dents de Chientry to find this wine...
Brioche and a nice depth to the nose. The flavours seem to have a volatile impression to them but there’s good width as the wine expands really nicely across the palate. This is not just nice, it is very nice!
2002 en Truffière, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Champs Gainstry to find this wine...
The nose is a little tight. In the mouth this starts mineral, but also a little anonymously. Slowly it widens, eventually bringing the flavours you were expecting. Nice, but today it’s a little too understated and tight for the label.
2002 en Truffière, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatièrestry to find this wine...
A wide impression, yet also seems a little tight. More fat and apparent concentration than the Champs Gains, Very nice acidity provides the frame for a super length finish. Nice wine.
2004 en Truffière, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Pucellestry to find this wine...
Also a little tight on the nose, though below the surface there is a real impression of ripe fruit.
2005 en Truffière, Corton-Charlemagnetry to find this wine...
A much deeper and more open nose than the previous Pulignys – nicely interesting. This is mouth-coating and very concentrated. Good texture and very good length. Few words for an impressive bottle.
2005 en Truffière, Bâtard-Montrachettry to find this wine...
Again there is depth, but here is more complexity too – a super nose. In the mouth it’s silkily concentrated, just a little understated but very balanced. Really super!
2005 en Truffière, Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachettry to find this wine...
Brioche, slight toast too. Good acidity and like the Bâtard, also very silky. Slowly expanding in the mouth, there are no fireworks but it seems endlessly complex and long. Again – really super!
2005 en Truffière, Pommard 1er Rugienstry to find this wine...
Deep, slightly toasty nose, herbs and spice too. In the mouth it’s wide and mouth-filling – though much of the padding of flavour is of dark oak barrels. Despite that, I find this long-finishing wine rather good.
2005 en Truffière, Echézeaux Vieilles Vignestry to find this wine...
The wide and spicy nose is underpinned with dark oak notes and really needs a little focus. Wide on the palate with ripe tannin and again no fireworks. Decent acidity and an unremarkable finish. I find this ‘okay’ but no more.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 2 responses to “Profile: Maison en Truffière (Meursault)”

  1. jeff30th March 2009 at 12:22 amPermalinkReply

    Good info, I have found Girardin Corton to be very consistent. However, all the reds are rather dull and your better off looking at other producers for red at the same cost. Most all the whites are very good not great except the Corton…


  2. Richard Brooks3rd April 2009 at 7:51 amPermalinkReply

    Bill, thanks for the fascinating article. That’s some earth moving!

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