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.
Of 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’.
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:
Nice, wide, high-toned aromatics. Decent concentration with a pineapple fruit being the dominant expression. Good texture and a nice finish. A good 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.
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!
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.
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.
Also a little tight on the nose, though below the surface there is a real impression of ripe fruit.
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.
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!
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!
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.