Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Caroline l’Estimé, 11 October, 2017.
Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard
9 Place des Noyers
Tel: +33 3 80 21 31 68
Caroline on 2017:
“Honestly it wasn’t that easy; we did have some frost and we had poor flowering conditions – then followed the drought. No, I’m not totally happy…”
Caroline on 2016:
“In 2016 we lost 2/3rds to the frost. The worst was toward St.Aubin from Chassagne – several cuvées were not made in this vintage.”
For a little more detail, last year Caroline confided that “Savigny was hard, north of Chassagne and the valley towards St.Aubin too – this was some of the most touched by the frost. I managed still to make 1.5 barrels Bâtard so had to be happy with that (6 barrels would be a ‘normal’ harvest!). The Clos Maltroie was hardly touched by the frost but did get some hail. One of worst touched in 2016 was Chenevottes; in 2015 there are 19 barrels, in 2016, 2. I will probably keep some 2015 back to sell with 2016s so that sales volume is not so affected. Santenay was not so hard touched, but it was still a small harvest. Overall we only harvested somewhere between 25-30% of a normal volume – for the whole domaine – the calculations are not yet completed but the grapes were very nice so that’s some consolation. It was total sadness at the start of September as there was no rain and some vines were beginning to lose their leaves – the were starting to look like cadavers… but the rain brought hope, and even washed the grapes too!”
The domaine is all Bio and Ecocert-ed now. Caroline will possibly start some bottling in December, mostly it will be next year though.
I thought that Caroline was looking a little tired – it’s been a rough ride in terms of yields at the domaine – even in 2015. I hope that she has an easier vintage in 2018, but the wines showed really well, and she flashed me a lovely smile when it was ‘photo-time! Because of their relative position in elevage the reds were showing even better than the whites this year.
2016 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Blanc
The vines are near Le Rochepot, bottled just before the harvest, this the third vintage in bio and the bottles are all screw-capped. Bottled in July.
A discreet nose with a bit of freshness. Bright and fresh in the mouth, lovely waves of flavour, though still just a little bright – so wait at least 6 months. But no hard edges here and a fine purity.
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet Champs Derriere
Close to ‘Château Picard.’ This was once planted in aligote, so this is still young vines as the aligote was pulled out only around 2004.
A hint of sulfur. Supple, layered and a little fat, actually there is a lot of concentration here, there are layers of finishing flavour – faintly saline in its fine persistence. This is a weighty but finely balanced and tasty wine.
A little more open – a waxy, silky aromatic presence. A little brighter and fresher, lithe, fine energy, pure and delicious. Bravo!
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Mazures
There is very little of this villages wines so I asked Caroline if she was tempted to assemble them – ‘I wont blend them, that would be criminal!’
A little more depth of aroma here. A little more mineral and slowly growing some flesh – wide, fine intensity and clarity. More weight of finishing flavour. I love this finish.
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chenevottes
Usually 11-13 barrels – this year only 2!
A little more aromatic volume. This much more direct, more intense, with melting flavour though. A more mineral style but almost no austerity. This is very impressive.
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chaumées
These vines are higher up on the hill, here it was a little less frosted.
A reluctant nose but slowly offers up some higher toned complexity. Much wider, if similarly mineral, to the Chenevotes. Really melting flavour again and much more approachable today – Indeed it’s already delicious. Super-tasty wine.
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos de la Maltroie
The only wine that was okay for yields – protected from the frost by the village
A little more impact here, nicely complex too. A bright and wide start, growing intensity, lots of wine. This needs a little more elevage time, but there’s a lot of impressive wine here.
Quite the most classic Chassagne nose of the cellar so-far – or the most ready! Bright like the last, but much more together – more mineral too. Waves of fine finishing flavour. Top wine!
An open, vibrant nose – this has been waiting for me! A bright leading edge of flavour that melts into complexity. This is wide and offers a slow evolution of flavour melting across the palate. Mineral to finish and completely, utterly delicious.
There is no Blanchots-Dessus this year…
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Le Petit Clos
Another tighter nose – a golden impression only. Supple, fresh, slowly advancing layers, indeed waves of flavour. Only right at the end is this starting to offer an extra level of delicious flavour. Lots here, but tight or not yet fully formed.
Fresher, higher toned nose. Supple, quite wide to start, coming together in the middle with a clear line of modestly sweet minerality. It’s as much about texture as flavour. Long, achingly slow waves of finishing flavour… This will be great.
Only 1.5 barrels, normally 8-9. Logic has finally won (see last year) and they have finally decided to pull out half of the vines for replanting.
A little extra aromatic depth, a golden impression like most of the others. Hmm, sleek, fast, melting flavour, fine energy here – super! This is a super Bâtard with a sense of urgency though holding brilliantly in the finish.
With Hautes Côtes de Beaune fruit.
Round, very attractive nose. Supple, fresh – already a great combination. Fine pinot fruit, light but intense, no hard edges. Just über tasty for when the sun comes out. A winner!
Like the white, bottled with screwcap
A deep nose, a little reduced – a slowly growing weight of fruit behind. Very fresh, but achingly delicious pure pinot fruit. This needs time to settle but like the rosé, next summer…
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet Cuvée l’Estime
Bottled in August – screwcap
Pow! – Gorgeousness of aromatic pinot. Supple, concentrated, lots of freshness, a little tannin. Lots of far too young but highly attractive mid-palate flavour. This will be really excellent – wait 2-3 years to start testing bottles. Super stuff again.
2016 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
Deep, macerating but fresh fruit on the nose. Plenty of gas to wait for here. Extra width of flavour. Lip-smacking mid-palate flavour. Really a fine acidity here, these are all wines to wait for, but backed with beautiful fruit.
From Grand Clos and Clos Charreau which neighbours the Clos des Tavannes.
Ooh, supple deep, hyper attractive fruit on the nose. No gas here just a fresh, modestly mineral, wine of volume. No padding or flesh, just direct access to the rock. This will be great!
The nose is less formed than the Morgeot – hardly a surprise! More supple, but hardly less concentrated. There is more in the middle here, a little more tannin too. This is almost complimentary to the Morgeot, a little more accessible, but still a wine to wait for. Gorgeous slightly floral pinot fruit in the finish. Bravo again!