Tasted in Courgis with Bruno Verret & Thomas Pico, 11 May 2021.
The Irancy of Les Pinots Blacks was, by a long margin, my favourite wine from my tasting of 2019 Irancy – it’s also a rather interesting story:
Les Pinot Blacks produced their first wine in 2017 and it was a team effort. This particular team consisted of three winegrowers and one wine-buyer / restauranteur:
Damien Delechéneau, from Domaine de La Grange Tiphaine in the Loire
Fabien Espana, at that time of the restaurant Au Fils du Zinc in Chablis, now of Chablis Wine Not
Thomas Pico of Domaine Pattes Loup in Chablis
Bruno Verret of Domaine Verret in Saint Bris
The roots of this label spring from when Damien Delechéneau did a stage with Bruno Verret and the two subsequently stayed in contact. Later, Damien and was talking with Thomas Pico at a salon; ‘Do you know Bruno?‘ Thomas knew of Bruno but had never been introduced, so Damien made the introduction – it turned out that Damien was interested to make some pinot noir – Thomas too!
So this is a friends project with Damien, Fabien, Bruno and Thomas – Vallée de Coigny Irancy vines planted in 2016, owned by Bruno, currently organic managed by Thomas and in conversion to biodynamics.
2018 was the first release of Irancy, indeed the first harvest from these young vines and was produced in the cellars of Thomas Pico – but it wasn’t their first wine! As part of the learning process, they produced a simple Bourgogne from the 2017 vintage. This is a good point to say how I love the fun in their labels – their first wine, the Bourgogne, with a picture of 4 bashful kids in shorts but already the Irancy of 2018 showing a more confident group of four in their smart suits – nicely done!
The winemaking adventure began in 2017 with 3 barrels each of Bourgogne and Irancy and has increased just a little each year to 7 barrels in 2020. The Bourgogne was just produced in the first year, part of the testing for Thomas – how to make a red wine! “This test was all pinot for the Irancy that was triaged at Bruno’s and then all the rest done here,” says Thomas. “We had young vines, plain south-facing, and with the warm weather we weren’t sure what the best route would be, so I had no fixed ideas how to approach the vinification – such as must be whole-cluster.”
It seems that the biggest problem for the team here is a commercial one: “It’s really difficult to sell this wine because we have so little – historic clients of our want some but they can’t all have some as there’s so little! We don’t want to grow but it’s got to be fun and between friends, I think if we lost the fun we would stop.”
Brilliant stuff – be happy if you can find a few bottles!
2017 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre
The only vintage for this.
Medium colour – still young. The oak is still relatively forward on this but with a softness that comes from the stems too. Mouth-filling, round – the combination of stems and oak – here too – a sub-text of tannic grain but no dryness. The finish is a good one – slowly fading… A tasty wine for sure.
2018 Irancy Vallée de Coigny
Also this wine is showing its oak quite a bit – ‘not a long cuvaison – it’s hard to get the finesse of pinot in the hot years.’
Very silky – more direct, much more sophisticated texture vs the Bourgogne – still a grain at the base but this is fully ripe and has almost no dryness. The finish is a blend of oak and some suggestion of whole clusters too….
Here the oak is much better hidden, the perfume is of the rose – obviously plenty of wc (40%) but oh-so perfumed here. Gorgeous in the mouth – that’s so deliciously perfumed in the flavour too. A proper grain of tannin is still in support but there’s no dryness here. That’s simply a great wine and more ready to drink today than the 2018. The finish is wide with just a few phenolics… Great wine – I may have said this before but the style reminds of the Beaunes of David Croix…
A barrel sample as not yet bottled: harvested 22 Aug but almost 14°
Here the nose has more depth and the fruit more clarity – but there’s also a sneaky pyrazine here too. Vibrant, a little more impression of concentration – the same grain of tannin at the base – another great Irancy.