Tasted with Thierry Pillot in Chassagne-Montrachet, 04 July, 2014.
Domaine Paul Pillot
3 Clos Saint-Jean
Tel: +33 3 80 21 31 44
I’ve tasted many 13s, red and white, so-far this year – I think it would be rude not to when offered 😉 But these are really the first that I’ve tasted that were completely unmarked by either malo – long-since finished here – or, more particularly by carbon dioxide. As such, I’ve decided to reproduce my notes in full, rather than the short-summary approach so-far used – indeed, whilst I’m not convinced that the aromas are fully representative of the finished wines yet, I found these to be rather exciting all the same!
For info, I plan my ‘2013 White Issue’ for the Extra! of October (published November), and my ‘2013 Red Issue’ in the November Extra! to be published in December.
Thierry on the recent vintages:
“2014 – At least to-date we have been lucky in Chassagne; we have been touched by the big hailstorm from last Saturday, but only to a very limited extent – perhaps 5%. As-noted, so-far, it shouldn’t have much bearing on our eventual harvest quantity or quality – but we are mindful; storms are again forecast for today…
“2013 – No complaints, we had a slightly reduced yield versus ‘average’ but nothing we could honestly complain about, roughly 40 hl/ha for whites and 35hl/ha for reds. And as you will see, the wines have just started showing in a very nice way.
“2012 – Very hard for us here. A complicated vintage with frost, rain, hail and sunburn – particularly hail was the issue. We made only around 25-30% of our normal volumes. It didn’t get any easier after we bottled – allocating wine was a nightmare!”
Thierry is using a lot of 350 litre barrels in his cellar – he says it offers a good compromise between oxygenation and not too much oak flavour. The white wines are not decanted and receive no battonage. There are ‘just a few’ whole clusters used in the red fermentations.
The nose is pretty, with a floral dimension. Fuller in the mouth, again with lot’s of energy and concentration and again with super flavour expansion – REally super villages wine!
2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
The aromas need coaxing from the glass – a little sulfur comes first! Silky and concentrated but it doesn’t go all contemplative on you as there is a really impressive impact from the mid-palate.
The nose has a little more Chassagne-herb and also a little sulfur. Lithe an almost electric palate – wow! The mid-palate energy roars through this wine with a sweet-edged mouth-watering acidity. There’s a superb line of flavour into a redoubtable length. Brilliant!
2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Caillerets
The nose is tighter – it’s fresh and gives an impression of weight but not too much more. Oof! Lithe and mineral – it’s not super-fresh but has a little of La Montagne’s electricity and super minerality. Very long…
There’s a faint spice from this barrel. Again lots of electricity, a hint of oak flavour and the gorgeously mineral palate combine in a very effective way. Superb length! Another barrel showed less oak…
2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Romanée
The aromas are fine and wide with a slowly developing floral side too. This is the only wine that shows a little CO2 on the palate but as the brilliant expansion of flavour and dynamic crystalinity hit you – it is forgotten! Probably brilliant!
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
There’s more sun and green leaves on this nose – a good width of aroma that slowly adds a floral dimension. Full, a little rich and a little salty. There’s more than adequate freshness – it’s simply on a lower level to the 13s. Really super length with a faintly oaky but gorgeous savoury finish.
70% less in this vintage – only 800 bottles. No new oak used in the elevage
The nsoe slowly expands to fill the glass. Another greyhound of a wine that is intense, long, mineral and sinewy. Growing complexity in the glass – superb.
2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean Rouge
The nose starts with intense dark red fruits and Chassagne herbs – it slowly settles-down in the glass and fruit becomes less dark and beautifully detailed – fine complexity here. Fully and dynamic in the mouth – a super line of intense flavour – this is such a baby! The sensation of dry-extract in the finish. Yum!