Tasted in Marsannay with Sylvain Pabion, 12 May 2016.
2 Rue des Vignes
Tel: +33 3 80 51 71 11
The Château de Marsannay is today owned by the same family that bought the Château de Meursault. Given how impressed I was with the latest wines of the Château de Meursault, I decided it was time to take a look.
The domaine bought by the Halley family, of Carrefour supermarket fame, in time for the 2012 harvest – of-course everything that went before was the work of the old team. The domaine are proprietors of 35.5 hectares of vines in the Côte de Nuits – the domaine has over 100 parcels – 28 hectares of which are actually in the Marsannay appellation. They also have the exclusivity of production for 5 hectares of vines belonging to the Hôpital of the Hospices de Dijon, a large part of which are vines in the Côte de Beaune. Before it was purchased in 2012 it had been running with only modest investment in either the vines or the cuverie. One of the new team’s first tasks was to start replanting all the missing vines in the vineyards. Note; 4.5 hecares is planted to white, “It’s a different style to Château Meursault” says Sylvain, “Here we do some partial malos, to add a little freshness – though mainly done with the 2015s.”
An important economic component of the château’s business is tourism, with visitors and events such as marriages – they are aiming for 30,000 visitors per year. Sales are mainly in grand distribution (supermarkets) and the wine-retailer Nicolas – and of-course direct from their tasting room.
Following the frost in 2016, the domaine lost up to 90% (of their 28 hectares!) in Marsannay, and all their parcels from Chambertin to their Clos de Vougeot and Vosne have been touched to varying degrees.
Cellars are very deep, more than 10 m, but it’s not an old chateau, dating from 1980s. The 2014s were all opened the night before: mainly bottled in March – April 2016, with no filtration. Lots of François, some Seguin and Taransaud is the barrel selection here – 20-25% new oak is the norm, though the Vosne, for instance, was almost 70%.
I found these wines on a very much higher level than used to be the case at this producer, a little oaky perhaps, but these are well-made and will bring a lot of pleasure:
2014 Marsannay Blanc
From vines mainly around the chateau, with 50% barrel elevage in mainly 1-5 year-old barrels.
A depth of aroma, faint spice from barrel. Actually a much fresher, brighter and finer flavour than the nose suggests. A lovely line of flavour here, faintly saline – you probably know me as rarely finding Marsannay blancs interesting, but this is actually excellent – if the nose had been better, then I’d say outstanding!
2015 Marsannay Rosé
This includes a little pinot gris from the bottom of the hillside below the château, which is assembled with the pinot. This is the only machine harvested wine of the domaine. The malo blocked here. This bottled only 3 days earlier.
Only very faintly coloured. Weight of aroma, but a clean and appealing fruity freshness too. Weight, richness of flavour and texture but with a lovely growing intensity of flavour, faintly aniseed, widening and really full-flavoured in the finish. This is lovely again.
2014 Marsannay Clos du Roy
0.29 hectares of 70-year-old vines.
A deep, sweet-fruited nose with plenty of oak accents. Floral notes starting to increase. Mouth-filling, a growing weight of flavour that’s delivered, nicely, in waves. Really good finishing. The acidity is a little forward to start with but the rest in excellent – and of-course it doesn’t detract from the energy!
2014 Fixin Crais de Chêne
A little more modestly coloured. A more open if less intense nose, again a little oak impression. More direct – yet wide. More spicy, a wine that really takes off from the mid-palate, faintly tannic but also floral too – lots of interest here. Tasty wine and finishing quite floral – another super wine.
From all over Gevrey, about 8 parcels.
A different fruit, more towards dark cherry with a creamy oak. Another wine that leads with its acidity before slowly melting over the palate. There is again a background of creamy oak, but always a background note, so never becoming dominant. After swallowing it’s a broad line of fresh and tasty flavour. Definitely another level to the 2006 I drank last week!
Old vines, some as old as 100. 0.28 hectares, and the domaine’s only parcel in 2016 with no touch from the frost.
Again a fresh and pretty nose with an augmentation from oak. Much more weight and richness of flavour – waves of flavour – really super in the mid-palate with many dimensions of flavour. This is super wine and with such flavour that the oak is completely buried. Bravo!
a 0.3 hectare parcel.
A more obvious floral nose – and no obvious oak. Simply a beautiful nose – if not obviously Vosne-spiced. Beautiful. Lithe, flowing, caressing the palate, the flavour slowly growing and ingraining. Some note of oak in the mid-palate complexity, but it’s just an accent. Really super and with a fine burst of floral finishing flavour. Again bravo!
A selection of 2015s:
2015 saw Marsannay as one of the earliest areas to harvest, but it was also a complicated vintage, not least the fire above Longeroies. Many vines’ maturity were blocked at end of July. Eventually harvested at about 30-35 ha/hl but 13-15 hl/ha for many cuvées. Of-course all the wines that follow are not bottled. They are wines of bravado, braggadocio, they will dominate, rather than add to conversation – at least for their first 20 years…
2015 Bourgogne Montrecul
One part in terraces in the area of Dijon, one of latest parcels harvested, same soil-type as Clos du Roy: 2.2 hectares 25% whole cluster, malos finished about 1 month ago…
A faint oak note. Ouf – here is surprising concentration – bravo. Super flavour. Holds well. Amazing bourgogne!
The ‘classic’ cuvée – 10 hectares worth, from over 12 parcels.
Here is a bright, overt, floral-inflected but importantly pretty aromatic. Richness of really fabulous flavour – there is almost a fruit-preserve aspect but also fine balance and a stony finish – wow!
2015 Marsannay Les Grandes Vignes
2 hectares. Not in the dossier for 1ers, but they like this wine so much that it is separately bottled.
Deep, floral inflected fruit. Fine freshness, intense fruit at the core. A brilliant explosion of mid-palate flavour.
2015 Marsannay Le Clos de Jeu
A mix of 10 and 70-year-old vines, 1.70 hectares and 14.5% alcohol
Here the nose is less formed, though some florals. Lovely direct line, less rich, more measured, faintly mineral. A very pretty line of flavour – how can so modest a wine (in 2015 context) be 14.5%?
2015 Marsannay Les Echezots
1.9 ha, lots of old vines with ‘modest’ yields.
A deeper soil here. Hmm – beautiful flowers on the nose. A hint of salinity, a fabulous, lithe, muscled energy. Fabulous finishing impression – sublime!
2015 Marsannay Les Favières
60 yo vines from 0.67 hectares
A big spice note – not obviously pinot today. But very fine energy over the palate, with waves of flavour. Super taste, lets wait for the nose… Nice long finish with some salinity…
2015 Marsannay Les Longeroies
A fine freshness and some pretty flowers too. Palate has a fabulous blend of energy and intensity – lovely melting flavours. One to wait for – Bravo… Fine line of finishing flavour…
2015 Marsannay Clos du Roy
Nose not yet fully formed. Another wine of fresh muscle, complexity and with a hightened minerality here. Super floral finishing and exceptionally long.
2015 Gevrey-Chambertin les Croisettes
Close to Champeaux, 0.19 ha with 30% whole clusters. 14.8%!
A tighter nose, faintly spiced. Bigger, more intense, waves of fabulous flavour. Fine floral finishing.
2015 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Champeau
Beautiful, rich, yet high-toned floral notes. Bright yet with insinuating fresh weight and layers of flavour – here the first with some oak flavour, but there’s plenty of time for that to fade. Super finishing weight of flavour, super long too…
2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er En Orveaux
Realky small berries this vintage – it’s very concentrated.
A faintly oaked nose. Also on the palate – a hermitage barrel – yet many layers of fine complexity. This clearly needs more elevage but lots to wait for…
2015 Clos de Vougeot
0.27 ha in Garenne, 1920s vines
A hint of florals, a nose that’s tighter than most. A beautiful line, that’s fresh, and pure – really gorgeous. Only in the finish some oak, but very long. Potentially great.
By limit of Belair premier cru, replanted at start of the 1990s
Oaked nose. Also the palate, a fine line of complex flavours, but much too young in elevage vs the almost ready Clos de Vougeot – better to taste in another 9-10 months…