Tasted with Eric Germain in Meursault, 23 July 2019.
Domaine Vincent Girardin
“Les Champs Lins”
Tel: +33 3 80 20 81 00
The growth at this label is impressive; When the Vincent Girardin operation was sold, only half a hectare of Meursault remained at the domaine, most of his vineyards went to FICOFI – but since that time, with this new management, the domaine side of Vincent Girardin has moved up to 25 hectares with their latest purchases – “But we are actually vinifying the equivalent of 100 hectares or 600k bottles of 75 different cuvées,” says Eric Germain, “Though it’s the Bourgognes and the wines from Mâcon (Pouilly and Macon-Fuissé) that account for 50% of the total.”
Eric on 2018:
“There’s less wine here in 2018 than in 2017 – particularly for the reds, but there is still wine!
“Honestly, 2018 was fantastic. Our harvest started at the end of August, we saw good level of both quality and quantity – the reds have some density but balance too – they are fresh, not marmalade. I prefer the reds as the whites have relatively lower acidity, but always the wines will improve with age, but at least to start I think it’s a better red-wine vintage. Because we didn’t wait too long to pick, I think, we didn’t have any problems with our fermentations – none of the tanks were slow.”
Here is a trio of Volnays that I would buy without question – super wines. The whites – as you would hope – build and build in a crescendo of energy and flavour – some clearly too young to taste, others that were already extravagent and brilliant. There’s much to offer at this address in 2018…
Starting with the reds:
2018 Santenay 1er Gravières
A big parcel in the centre of the appellation, all biodynamic.
Lots of colour. Dark a little savoury edge to the aroma. Ooh, that’s big but fresh in the mouth – mobile, complex – I love the energy. There’s a little drag to the tannin, the faintest touch of astringency – a width of flavour that holds persistently too. The nose still needs work today, but the palate is really very impressive.
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Maltroie
Buy the grapes from here, not biodynamic though.
Here the nose is more open and more showing fresh fruit. A width of concentration and energy – more impact here – lovely finishing. This is really excellent – super wine!
2018 Pommard 1er Grands Epenots
From old vines, vinified here
Plenty of colour but not to the level of the Santenay. Here’s a big nose – pow! Spicy, liqueur. Big in the mouth, ripe, slightly grained tannin, deep and pleasurable – but ripe in style – I certainly prefer the Chassagne – but here is a fine finish.
Santenots mainly from Plures and Blancs – over 2 hectares of old vines from 1965 and 1975. ‘Usually with very small grapes and all biodynamic.’
A fresher nose, one of fine width – very faintly spiced, fine depth – very attractive. Big and mobile – wide, complex, super depth of flavour. Layers of flavour. Long, long – excellent, practically bravo!
Close to Pommard Rugiens, planted in the early 1970s, always organic and for the last 3 years, biodynamic. Probably will bottle this later than the Santenots.
A fresh nose, depth of concentrated fruit, less open vs the Santenots. Ooh, fresh – complex – this is ever-changing – not quite the roundness of the last but I love the changing complexity and here’s a slightly herby extra in the complexity – positively so – a little more structure too. The Santenots for now, maybe the Pitures for later!
Once a purchase contract, today domaine. Vines cultivated organically since 1950! Biodynamic for the last 3 years.
Deeply coloured. There is more of an implied width, there is tightness here too but also some freshness. Ooh – that’s lovely in the mouth, big, mouth-filling, plenty of very fine but barely astringent tannin and beautifully long and wide flavour – delicious flavour – bravo!
2018 Corton Perrières
Vines close to Charlemagne, ‘conventional culture but old vines that bring a lot of minerality.’
Narrow but deep and high tones on this nose today. Large-scaled. The sweetness of ripe fruit but without the negatives of ‘ripe.’ Wide, complex a little muscular. Ooh, that’s a really super wine – excellent!
2018 Meursault Castets
A round nose, very faintly spiced, ginger. Round, really mouth-filling, vibrant, layered, a very faint caramel, salted caramel accent, not overtly acidic but still with balance. Long finishing – with a faintly phenolic texture in the finish. A nice start.
2018 Meursault Les Tillets
Domaine, biodynamic, direction Javiller and Roulot, mid-parcel. About 50 years old vines
Here the ginger spice is present but plays second fiddle to the ripe lemon on the nose. Mouth-filling, more energetic, fine intense. Excellent!
Half from domaine the rest from bought grapes, the latter conventionally farmed but with very few treatments and ploughed. More chalky here.
A fresh nose but more depth of aroma, slowly floral and citrus. Another step in freshness, but not acidic, here a super finish – really bravo!
2018 Meursault Les Tessons
Bought as grapes but since 2018 do all treatments and work – now biodynamic.
A wider, deeper, lower register nose – here needs a bit of work, still. Full, more impact, vibrant, a little texture of tannin. Lots of energy and complexity here, a bigger but also fresher wine – not yet delicious but engrossing. Long, long in the finish. Potentially bravo, let’s see!
Three biodynamic parcels all in the top part – 40-50 year old vines.
Hmm, a little mineral impression here, herbed, interesting. Big, layered, muscular, ooh – that’s good, melting with salty butter and long engrossing flavour. So complex in the finish. Power but gorgeous. Bravo!
2018 Meursault 1er Les Genevrières
One parcel at the top with vines that are 60 years old, and are showing a little degeneration in one part of the vines (yellow vines, low yielding)
More purity of fruit on this nose – more airy too – volume but less impact vs the Charmes. Bubbling with energy, more open, complex – it’s gorgeous wine. I slightly prefer the impact of the last today – but this is really super!
All organic, one part in the middle, the other next to Clos de Perrières – a little more than 1 ha in total, some missing plants so a low yield.
Ooh – that’s a vibrant nose – fresh, inviting. A wine of drive and energy – in width more like the villages wine – but growing wider and wider from the middle, and then pow! The complexity, faintly saline edged, long, layered great finishing!
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chaumées
Bought must in Truffieres – 8 barrels – so just one parcel
The nose has a ripe fruit today – it needs some work in elevage. Big and bright, more structure, very complex, almost earthy – great energy. Ooh, that’s super. Tons of potential here.
One of the oldest vines in Caillerets
Hmm – floral, wide, a sort of silkiness to the aromatic. Vibrant, but still with lots of CO2 too. Mineral, complex, energy – ooh that has really great potential, lovely sizzling intensity if citrus and mineral in the finish.
Younger vines – only 50 years old!
Hmm, this hasn’t got a wide or vibrant complexity, but it has something extra – ooh I can’t wait to taste this. Dynamic, complex, mineral, citrus, citrus, layers – juicy. Bravo – obviously great wine!
Buy these biodynamic grapes and the team here have done all the vineyard work since this year. 0.30 ha
As usual, a nose that is very fine and elegant, an airy nose but today without great impact. Ooh, wide, complex, hyper-complex flavour, maybe a little white chocolate too, so long, so great…
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Referts
Half a hectare but low yielding – bought in must
Not so wide but a nice depth of aroma. Bright, vibrant, fine concentration – there’s really a fireworks of complexity here, holding really well. Not quite wow wine – but pretty close! More than excellent though!
Did all the vineyard work in this vintage.
More open, more floral nose with plenty of citrus complexity. Ooh, vibrant, fresh, some zesty citrus skin, more overt mineral too – wait a little there’s a faint mineral rigour here but this is great wine!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Folatières
‘A coup! Bought a parcel ex Brigitte Berthelemot în Ez Folatieres. Plus two sources in must.
Elegant, faintly floral, less attack than Combettes. Hmm, in the mouth this has great clarity and complexity. Very mineral but with virtually no rigour. Long delicious complex, more airy finish – probably more than excellent!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Pucelles
Bought as must – 2 barrels from old vines – ‘usually one of my favourites’ organic culture here. Long malo, only done 2 weeks ago.
The nose is not quite ready following the malo. Bigger, more impressive in shape, the flavour also touched by the malo. Lots to impress but it’s not for assessing today…
The same small parcel in Aloxe in conventional culture that, since 2004, has always been separated for this cuvée. It’s the same area as Coche-Dury and Michel Juillot (of Mercurey). It was sold by an heir of Louis Latour but isn’t made every year. Never more than 20% new oak, from Seguin-Moreau and Gauthier.
Not a big nose but there is still a width of airy and very fine aroma. Big, some muscle, plenty of minerality, very complex – really a baby – long and saline finishing – a wine that brings a shiver to the spine – but it’s young so young… Bravo!
An all biodynamic, single parcel, one barrel – half the vines have been pulled out so it’s hard.
The nose has elegance but not a lot of volume – pure, faintly floral. Ooh – here is concentration, beautiful texture too, slowly growing complexity. Ooh a slow-burning, growing complexity. Wow wine but one that sneaks up on you!
Have changed from lower vines to higher positioned, lower yield but conventional treatment.
There’s a reductive aspect to this nose. Ooh, this is more mineral and direct than I was expecting. Layered, reductive, long – ooh, so long. This is really a wine of great potential – but to wait for based on this ample
Two barrels, conventionally farmed ‘but a great sector.’
Now here is a fine vibration of mineral aroma on the nose – not big but really holds my attention. Mineral, mouth-watering, so long. Ooh – what a wine – and such a great baby.
In 2018 we got it in must. A one-year-old barrel.’
The nose is not fully formed but it has both density and great complexity. Vibrant, more concentration, more density, but with perfect balance, so long, so haunting the finish. A little grain of tannin – but still vibrant finishing. Unquestionably great…