Tasted in Marsannay with Philippe and Valérie Huguenot, 16 April 2019.
Domaine Huguenot Père et Fils
7 Ruelle du Carron
Tel: +33 3 80 52 11 56
Philippe on 2018:
For us it’s a lovely vintage; just about everything came at the right moment in the growing season, though in some places we just lacked a little water at the end of the growing season. It was quite tropical at the start of the growing season so we saw a little mildew but the dryness that followed put paid to that. Of-course there were good maturities but we held some good freshness in the wines too – the quality of fruit and aromas are really interesting – a world away from a vintage like 2003 – in terms of aroma probably 2015 too. Quite good volumes, though in some parcels – Champs Perdrix on the stones for instance – we lost a bit of volume due to the dry conditions, but we didn’t lose quality.
Philippe on 2017:
Also a little frost, and the same day as in 2016 too, but globally not bad. Some parts had a lot of rain but it’s a vintage that’s turned out well – a bit like 2014 but different – accessible, tasty wines in 2017 like in 2014. Certainly some areas had some blockage of maturity due to the heat. I think there’s plenty of perfume and I’m happy that I didn’t wait for grapes that were too ripe – 11.5-12° worked well whilst avoiding dryness in the wines.
This is a domaine that has worked organically, with certification, for some time, but “In 2016 we didn’t just lose 75% to the frost there was the mildew that followed – I chose to make a treatment that wasn’t authorized for organic – I’d already lost enough for the year – and accepted that I would lose my organic certification, but it will be back for the 2019s, our philosophy remains the same.”
I first tasted 2013/2012s at this estate, and I think there’s an obvious progression in the wines. They are not the most concentrated, but texturally they are now much finer, the oak also has much finer integration and there’s a clarity of flavour and a perfume which is on another level to before. Here is an address with some super wines!
The whites are currently with cork – but it remains a complicated subject! “I’m still not sure if I may make a change. It’s not particularly the taste of corked wines, it’s the flavour deviance, in general, that mean I sometimes don’t recognize my own wine – it’s this that is so unsatisfying.”
2017 Marsannay Blanc ‘Collection’
About a dozen small parcels and three different types of soil. Some will be classed as 1er cru in the future – a mix of high and low slopes. 5-600 litre demi-muids with a little more lees than previously.
A width and freshness but density of aroma too – slowly evolving ripe lemon fruit notes. Supple, fresh – really a lovely drive to this wine – the texture and flavour impression of minerality, of salinity but a base of finely balancing sweetness. Citrus and mouth-watering in the long finish – Very tasty!
2017 Fixin Blanc Champ des Charmes
A little more clay in the soil here vs the Marsannay. Still young vines – about 10 years old.
A narrower but also deeper nose – silky again but less overt freshness. In the mouth more direction and freshness than the nose suggests – bubbling with modest but complex energy – ooh I like this a lot. A broader finish, some mineral impression, slowly mouth-watering – Excellent!
2017 Marsannay Héritage
The biggest cuvée of the domaine – 5-6 hectares worth. An assembly of multiple parcels mainly in the middle of Marsannay-La-Côte and with a high proportion of 60 year-old vines. Here with a little whole clusters in the mix – a millefeuille of whole clusters and destemmed grapes in the fermentation tank.
Modest colour. The first nose is forward but not that interesting – the second sniff is more floral and splendid! Fresh – nicely mouth-filling, complex, almost creamy and saline. Not a wine of direct impact or concentration, but one where both the aromas and flavours keep expanding and growing. Not big but very delicious with a sneaky, more mineral, length!
2017 Marsannay La Montagne
White oolite with a bit more friable soil. ‘A cuvée that evolves every year – I replanted a small part – maybe this year the first inclusion – but I think it gains in precision each year.’ There are normally 5 parts to the cuvée though one was replanted after the frost of 2016.
A little more colour here. A more serious nose – it’s a more compact but deep nose that evolves in the glass (like the first wine) becoming ever-more interesting with perfumed dark fruit. More mouth-filling volume. Clarity of flavour – dark-fruited flavour. A modest lick of phenolic texture in the mid-palate. Layered, once-more deliciously finishing. More concentrated, deeper wine…
2017 Marsannay Les Champs Perdrix
Another type of soil – Premeaux limestone. 2.5 ha in the south of the appellation close to Comblanchien/Fixin. ‘It’s a more airy style of wine from here.’
Similar depth of colour to the Montagne. Redder fruit, riper too but not lacking any aromatic freshness – growing like the others with a more deliciously floral perfume. Hmm – more mineral attack – a wine of volume and excellent energy – more insistent flavour, more intensity. The oaking always very subtly in the background. An open wine versus the more serious Montagne – two shades of Marsannay.
Vines here of up to 80 years old.
The bass notes seem quite tight but the perfumed top notes are simply wonderful. Directly there’s volume, concentration – but freshness and beautiful fruit complexity too. A subtle finishing oak is just part of the saline, mineral, finishing complexity. Top – bravo!
2017 Fixin Petits Crais
Not far from Champs Perdrix but with a different soil. There was a little more water for the vines in Fixin.
A hint less colour and a tighter nose – to start. The nose slowly freshens, saline and floral but always high-toned – tight in the lower notes. More direct, almost a more limestone style to the flavours and the drive of this wine. The one wine where I would wait a little longer before opening – more structural but there’s not really any overt structure to wait for, but the impression of the wine is to have patience – wide and mineral finishing. It’s super…
2017 Côte de Nuits Villages La Créole
From Brochon on the border with Fixin – geologically exactly the same as Fixin. ‘It’s a small cuvée for us, open in its youth – it’s like a domesticated Fixin!’
Plenty of colour. A big nose, almost textured – faint oak and attractive dark-red fruit. Ooh this is big and energetic in the mouth – nice fruit, plenty of complexity – round but no lack of structure, modest tannin and a sweetness, if not overt flavour of, oak. Slowly a mineral width takes over in the finish. Big, characterful and absolutely delicious – yum!
2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Crais
There’s probably 2-3 metres depth to the poor soil here – easily draining, always a good maturity though – generally riper, less acidic – ‘The area just lacks a little ventilation and holds onto the mildew – principally it was this sector that prompted me to treat in 2016.’ Some whole clusters used here – 30%
A little less colour. A mineral depth and a finely perfumed top note – not so wide but still a very attractive nose. Packing a punch – like the Côte de Nuits – full, fresh, open, with fine energy and depth of flavour in the middle. Delicious wine – once again long, faintly mineral, and in this case less obvious oak sweetness in that finish. Excellent!
Two parcels in Les Champs, more clay in this area.
More colour than Les Crais. A deep nose but with fine top notes – faintly spiced dark fruit of super clarity and good complexity. Rounder, more depth and density to the flavour – slowly growing in complexity. Supple, open but with fine material presence. You could wait for this – but it’s just so delicious – the finish is inflected with a great floral perfume – bravo!
2017 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Fonteys
Vines next to Bruno Clair. Premeaux limestone here but also lots of clay.
Plenty of colour. Such a deep nose – not so wide – but pure. Complex, airy and attractive top notes. Full – extra silk to the texture – a growing wave of intensity – really another level of class here despite how delicious the previous wines were. Wide, mineral, classy wine in the finishing flavours too – mouth-watering mineral flavour to finish. Simply excellent.
A parcel of Charmes on the northern edge of the Charmes climat, close to Griotte. Not much soil here.
A nose that’s a little compact but with super clarity of dark-red fruit. More drive, minerality and energy than the average Charmes – a touch of tannic texture but practically no grain. Open, very classy – that’s so good – a proper character to this wine long and faintly phenolic texture at the end. Many Charmes lack a bit of character for me but here is one with character in spades. Excellent, delicious wine!