Tasted in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux with Guilhem Goisot, 10 June, 2014.
Domaine Jean-Hughes et Guilhem Goisot
30 rue Bienvenu-Martin
Tel. +33 3 86 53 35 15
Guilhem Goisot notes that certain vines of the domaine were planted by his great-grandfather. They have owned the same parcels here for six or seven generations – “In small villages like this you sometimes have to make exchanges with your neighbours so that you can operate in the vines how you like, only then do you realise that you migh have welcomed back vines that were planted by your grandfather!”
The domaine today is 26 hectares and need 11 full-time workers. The vineyards are all certified Bio or Biodynamic, the first since 2000. Most of the vines are in Saint Bris, except for their Irancy. There are some young vines in this section – 15 years – so they only just started labelling them as Irancy. Some of their parcels in Saint Brice have 90 year-old chardonnay and 60-80 year-old aligoté too.
Today the domaine’s Irancy has only about 0.01% cesar, says Guilhem, but before it was more like 2-3%. “We lost many locally planted varieties after phylloxera – they just weren’t replanted. But despite cesar being more of a Rhone or ‘Porto’ cepage, it somehow kept its hold in Irancy – and we like to keep some for the memory!”
The reds here are 100% destemmed and see no pigeage, rather remontage and about 20-25 days of maceration. These wines will be commercialised from November, as Guilhem notes that reduction is always present before.
The wines here are simply first class. I have to say that they also offered me something of the conversion on the road to Damascus – the Saint-Bris wines, that is. I’d never previously had a Saint-Bris that I actually liked enough to buy, having tasted many a pungent, starkly varietal wine. But these sauvignon blancs are not really sauvignon blancs, they are Burgundies and largely tasted more like Burgundy wines than SB. I was incredibly impressed to see and taste that!
Cesar would also be allowed for this label. Elevage was ~13 months in 2-4 year-old barrels (228l). This was bottled in December.
Medium-plus colour with a little purple. The nose has high-toned, bright, almost glossy fruit – and of some depth too. Sweetness of fruit and a supple texture plus very, very pretty fruit indeed. There’s a slowly growing undertow of tannin. A brilliant wine!
From Kimmerigian limestone with 14-15 months of elevage and about 15% new oak.
The nose starts a little reductive – swirling lifts the it to show a rounder, almost creamy expression – this is lovely and really inviting. Fuller, with good density and more dark fruit. A little spice here and some minerality. Another super wine!
“The next wines are from an old selection of pinot noir that holds very well its acidity. They are ripe without particularly high alcohol – just 12.5-12.8% in the last years:”
2012 Irancy Les Mazelots
The nose starts with a biscuity reduction. It’s a deep nose with some licorice. In the mouth there’s good energy, brightness of fruit and plenty of tannin. Good depth of flavour with some creaminess and eventually a dark cherry emerges from the furry tannin. Very impressive wine. The last drops in the glass smell really lovely!
2012 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre “La Ronce”
South-facing vines on Kimmerigian rock with a a little blue marne and very small shell-fish fossils. This and the Irancy have a little more new oak than the previous wines
A little reduction lifts to showcase a fine, dark-cherry aroma. Fleshy, with fine acidity an a lovely, growing, faintly cushioned intensity. Lots of concentration in the mid-palate and into the finish. Lots of wine here – very, very tasty.
2012 Bourgogne Aligoté
‘We’re lucky to have old vines,’ says Guilhem, ‘over 80 years old, planted on a Kimmerigian hillside location. The soil needs constant work, or it’s like concrete. There’s lots of red clay and blue fossils here.’ This wine is made in stainless-steel tanks.
This pretty nose is fresh, with a faint citrus, even a dash of minerality too. Round, but with beautiful mouth-watering acidity and a long-lasting flavour. A sleak and very pretty wine, yet with lots of energy.
Guilhem added, “These are very different young, but age them, and it is hard to tell this apart from the chardonnay – though it’s clearly chardonnay soil too.”
2012 Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Blanc
There’s a hint of herb and certainly more aromatic depth versus the aligoté. Just a suggestion of CO2 which (maybe) helps produce a burst of flavour on your taste buds. Rather long, with faint dry-extract. This is tasty stuff, that has a nod towards Chablis with just a little extra savoury note here.
About 20% new oak here – but with zero batonnage.
This is silkier and rounder with a palpable extra richness but with plenty of acidity too. Full of flavour and freshness – really quite vivacious. This is super and very yum!
Pronounced like Beaumonts, from a single parcel of vines, south-west facing on Kimmerigian ground – one of the parcels with most clay.
Fresh, again with a certain richness and padding from barrel elevage. Lovely freshness here – simply gorgeous flavour, balance and intensity too. Just a beautiful wine with a fine line of flavour. Brilliant!
The nose has more depth and more chardonnay fruit too. Despite the fruit of the nose, there is more minerality here and a gorgeous, Chablis-style, mouth-watering flavour. I have a preference for the aromatics of the Biaumont, but this wine is just as good. Super-tasty!
This cuvée name has been used by the family for generations – but the initial meaning is lost – shame!. Guilhem notes, “We like to think that our chardonnays show the minerality of Chablis, we have the same limestone, but with a warmer, drier climate that adds a little Côte de Beaune richness. This plot is usually harvested 2-3 days before the grand crus of Chablis.”
The nose is very pretty and faintly padded with some citrus and some minerality – it’s even more mineral in the mouth. Some silk texture and a little more depth of flavour. Easily the most mineral of these wines, with a super length of finishing flavour.
2012 Saint-Bris Moury
From a north, north-west-facing parcel. This wine is produced in exactly the same way as the chardonnay – “we don’t make a vin de cepage, rather a vin de terroir. Our pinot is usually picked 2-3 days before our whites, but our sauvignon blanc can sometimes be ready before, sometimes the same as the rest of our whites – the timing is usually similar to our chardonnays.”
This starts with something that hints to reduction, then offers a ripe lime-skin and floral freshness. Oof! This is more direct, fresh and mineral versus the chardonnays, it seems. Nice width of flavour, slowly lingering flavour is more modest than the Bourgogne Côte d’Auxerres.
2012 Saint-Bris Exogyra Virgula
Named after the small fossils in the vineyard.
Also a note that reminds me of reduction, but it lifts very quickly. Here the nose is more obviously mineral – it could easily be a chardonnay (or maybe I should better say a Burgundy!) with agrume notes. Again, fresh, direct and intense – the attack isn’t chardonnay, but again the flavour-profile could be. This is very tasty wine – I’ve never said that before about a Saint-Bris!
2012 Saint-Bris Corps de Garde
No reduction. High tones on the bright and inviting nose – there’s a nice floral note too. Just a little gas on the palate, but also a Chablis-style mouth-watering, sweet acidity. Lovely length here, indeed the best length of this trio. Tasty wine – yum!