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Francoise André – Beaune

DSC07197Tasted in Beaune with Lauriane André, 15th July 2015.

Domaine Francoise André
7, Rempart Saint-Jean
21200 Beaune, France
Tel:+33 3 80 24 21 65
www.domaineterregelesses-francoiseandre.com

The sign on the building of Domaine des Tergelesses was one I remember seeing for quite some time – set on an incline of one of Beaune’s ramparts, and just around the corner from the Comedie du Vin on the boulevard of Beaune. I’d often thought about visiting – and then I noted that the signage had changed – Domaine Françoise André. By chance I sat with the owners of the domaine at the Elégance de Volnay at the end of June – and tasted a couple of nice wines from them – simple! A date was set.

The building seems much bigger inside than you expect from the external view – indeed there’s not just offices on the upper floor, there’s a nice tasting / dining room that’s big enough for 30 people! Below is the cuverie, and further below that, is the bottle store.

The domaine in its current form began in 2010, and as previously noted, it was known as Domaine des Tergelesses before that. It’s sited on the ramparts of Beaune it is one of the few domaines that still vinify within the walls of Beaune – the town council long-since having largely relocated the actual production of wine (but not the aging of wine) from within the old walls. The domaine actually began life in 1983, set-up by Lauriane’s parents-in-law, the family André. Françoise André is the mother-in-law of Lauriane André and was the co-gérant of the old domaine. Lauriane’s father-in-law works in the accountancy trade and had many wine and grape producers as clients; Lauriane says that he fell in love with Savigny Les Vergelesses and eventually bought a plot in 1983 – joining together the words terroir and vergelesses brought the domaine’s name – Tergelesses.

Sylvain Pitiot, recently retired after 20 years at the Clos de Tart was the domaine’s first winemaker, moving on from here for a short stint at the Hospices de Beaune before moving to work in Morey St-Denis. Pitiot was replaced here by Philippe Senard until Philippe retired – the Senards also had a financial interest in the domain. In 2008 the domaine owned about 7 hectares of vines but had reached a point where they had to decide whether to sell grapes, must or even sell the domaine – a new solution for the family was needed. Enter Lauriane, originally from Lyon, and married one of the three sons of the Andrés – Thierry. Lauriane said – ‘I’ll do it!’

When Lauriane started, all the wine was sold in bulk, so her plan was to get the full value from selling in bottle. Actually the decision was made in 2009, and those bottles were filled by the team – and it was a big vintage so they had to find homes for 36,000 bottles; “Though fortunately it was not just a big vintage, it was also a good one,” says Lauriane. The first complete vintage for Lauriane’s new approach was, however, 2010. Before that everything was done with herbicides et-cetera, but that has now all changed. The domaine moved to ‘Bio’ since they started in 2010, and received Ecocert certification in 2012.

As mentioned, the office and cuverie buildings are set over 3 floors, yet despite its size, the agricultural equipment sits in the industrial estate of Savigny-lès-Beaune. I quickly met Jerome who is gérant here – he’d been up at 4am to make his treatment in the vines before things warmed up. He told me that the configuration of the buildings is really helpful – they press in the mornings and the juice is in the barrels by gravity already in the evenings. Their manual harvest sees triage at vines and then again via a triage table at the domaine. Normally the red are 100% destemmed, but a few clusters may be retained in the fermentations ‘If they look good!’ Cold macerations follow for 4-6 days before fermentation – and thermo-regulation was just being fitted when I visited – in time for the 2015s. The domaine aims (overall) to replace about 1/3rd of its oak (barrels) per year.

Vines and wines…

The domaine owns all its vines, so there’s no fermage or metayage. Between 9 and 9.5 hectares are currently owned, Lauriane saying that she though 12 hectares to be a good target.Production is about 2/3rds red.

The domaine’s reds there are from Chorey, Beaune, Savigny and recently Pommard. With the Pommard transaction came also a little Meursault Vireuls though in their first vintage there was just one feuillette from 2 ouvrées, so it was sold. There is also Pernand En Caradeaux and Ruchots but these are very small parcels. Since 2013 there is some Beaune Reversées, and they have recently found a parcel of Corton Renardes whose first vintage will be 2014. Soon there will be more, as they have bought ‘en-friche’ (land not already planted with vines) land in Chorey that will become Bourgogne Rouge – but currently it’s full of tree roots!

Whites include Chorey, Pernand villages, Pernand 1ers, Savigny Les Vergelesses (of-course) and Corton-Charlemagne.

Les Blancs…

2011 Chorey-lès-Beaune
Originally planted in pinot, it was Sylvain Pitiot who suggested to plant in chardonnay. They have 0.25 hectares of white 1.8 hectares of red.
Wide, some weight and some freshness too – yet a little diffuse. Fills the mouth, not too fat, good shape and freshness, a sweet leading edge, and fine mid-palate flavour – really quite yum. Quite good finishing too.

2011 Pernand-Vergelesses
From Les Pins on the hillside.
Wider, just a little fresher and better defined. More direct flavour that’s a little more mineral, and here is good flavour complexity too. This is very nice. Good length too – very, very good!

2011 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Verglesses
Near the vines of the Hospices de Beaune – 50 year-old vines.
A narrower nose, a little fresher still, with good depth. Again more mineral, flavours washing over the palate – super explosive. Fine.

2011 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Sous Fretille
A deeper nose, tighter too. Very similar to the Vergelesses but a little more weight and sucrosity. Not the explosion of flavour of the Vergelesses but rather it grows wider and wider in the finish – though to similar effect. Very yum!

2011 Corton-Charlemagne
From the Pernand side – 0.35 hectares of 25 year-old vines.
The nose has tight top notes but this goes nicely deep, and is more weighty, giving the impression of texture and a certainly concentration. This sits with authority on the palate, rather direct flavour until the mid-palate when it widens impressively. A discreet but very long finish. Classic young Charlemagne. Very good indeed! Stays tight aromatically.

Les Rouges…

2012 Chorey-lès-Beaune
A very pretty pinot nose with some weight of dark red fruit below. Plenty of concentration here, some tannic drag too. This is rather concentrated, showing the low yields of 2012. Just a little wood tannin in the finish I feel, but that will fade. Super but still too young Chorey…

2012 Beaune les Bons Feuvres
From lower slope vines close to the border with Pommard (And Beaune Epenottes).
Prettier fresh notes with a hint more flowers. More supple, more complex, much more interest and complexity here, still a little furry tannic texture, but rather modest, pretty flavours – little tannin, but lovely.

2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune
A single vineyard of 1 hectare and 35 year-old vines.
The nose has a hint of reduction and is quite tight. More direct and concentrated, less comfy and immediately appealing after the Beaune, but fills the mouth and slowly adds complexity. Really very good in the finish – super – but to wait a little longer for this than the Beaune.

2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Vergelesses
Sited next to the domaine’s white Vergelesses.
Rounder, with just a little funky reduction. Lithe, concentrated, showing growing intensity, an intellectual wine that’s saline but also shows a growing sweetness. Good length too. Lots of tannic structure in all these reds.

2013 Pommard Vaumuriens
First vinification of vines that have come back to the domaine from Coche-Dury. A little longer pigeage and a little extra cold maceration here.
Very pretty, a floral nose. Round in the mouth, lovely acidity, plenty of tannin again but it’s a texture rather than an overt weight. Lovely line of flavour in the finish yum The tannin texture rests in the middle as it doesn’t interfere with the finish. Lovely wine. Lauriane seems a little concerned about the higher acidity, but not me – very lovely!