Profile: Santini Frères


Tasted with Chris Santini in Auxey-Duresses, 07 March 2017.

Santini Frères
2 Rue Traversiere
21190 Auxey Duresses
Tel: +33 6 63 38 84 37

Hidden in the quiet back streets of Auxey-Duresses – you might happen upon Santini Frères, and the ‘Auxey Collective.’ Collective? well, some of Chris’s friends also make a barrel or two of wine here

Chris Santini explains “We make a whole range of wine – really this is a little something for the weekends, as in the daytime I work in Kermit Lynch’s local office in Beaune. I’m looking to make ‘easy’ things, by that I mean things that are fun to drink and are interesting – in theory at a decent price too – let’s call them vins de soif! I don’t want to invest too much either, I’m just trying to do something fun. I came to Beaune in 2003 and in that time I always worked for Kermit – on the logistics side of the business – though I’m only part-time with them now.

“I started with 1,000 bottles of beaujolais in 2014, so in 2015 I made a little burgundy and beaujolais – I got a lot of help from Tomoko and Guillaume at Chantereves for these 2015s, the 2016s are first vintage made in this cuverie.”

Chris explains that his father is Corsican/French, and that the wines are an homage to the France of the 1940s-50s. All his 2015s had elevage in fibre-glass tanks. Chris laughs whilst explaining that most of his equipment was found in the ‘Bon-Coin’ – the French equivalent of eBay – and from friends. “I have the shortest possible elevage, all whole clusters and local yeast. The wines are bottled unfiltered and with 15mg free sulfur, some extra gas kept for freshness.

Chris’s wines are mostly exported – Quebec is biggest market but that’s because a brother works there. Now even Kermit is taking some!

The wines…

Fun wines – which is just just what the maker intended – great packaging too. An interesting address for those who want to put the fun back in their drinking!

2015 Côteaux Bourguignone ‘Vin Amiable’
Gamay from Paris-Hôpital and pinot from the Côte de Couchois – vinified separately and then blended – the main wine here.
A deep fresh and dark nose. A mouth-filler – fresh, gamay flavour. Bright, long and tasty wine. With the classic long and tasty 2015 finish.

2015 Vin de Bourgogne
From the Mont Battois region, officially this is a Hautes Côtes de Beaune. In this year more a dark rose colour – all whole cluster but no pigeage just a couple of buckets of liquid from the bottom to wet the cap to avoid volatiles. ‘An infusion’ – there is none in 2016 as all was frosted.
Fresh and red, cushioned and interesting nose – really attractive. Despite the colour there’s lots and lots of flavour here, fresh red fleshy fruit, nice line – really delicious. So much more flavour than the colour would lead you to expect. Long as it should be in 2015. Bravo, very different but really delicious.

2015 Beaujolais Villages
A cool bottle stamped with stars below the neck – litre etoillé – which can take a crown cap or a cork – nobody ordered these for 30 years – they were sold in Africa for beer/water et-cetera, and now production is stopped. The grapes from the foot of Mont Brouilly, with heavier clay soil here. ‘Perhaps a bit too heavy in 2015, but it worked really well on 14.’ Semi-carbonic, with concrete tanks before the wine is placed in fiber-glass. Bottled in February. ‘A classic quick beaujolais.’
A big deep, almost musky nose. Lots of concentration, almost layers of flavour, faintly saline. This is a big wine – both the nose and the palate have a suggestion of something a little cooked, but it’s layered and very tasty – oh, and did I say I love the packaging – these old bottles, old-style labels and a red wax top!

To finish, a pure négoce wine to finish, from a ‘friend near’ Avignon who turned the winery biodynamic (in Lirac).

2015 Cinsault Vin de Choix
Deep aromas, a little reductive, some pyrazine freshness – the pyrazine can be seen on the palate too – but this has good depth of dark, mineral, faintly rustic, tarry but tasty flavour!

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