Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with the highly photogenic Sébastien Caillat, 02 October 2018.
Sébastien on 2018:
“2018, a year with that started cold and wet – not a lot of nice days in the vines. Things started slow but then warm weather came, with storms, almost daily, one that was very big – lots of soil got moved down the hill. I think we are evermore rigorous even those in organics as we know the mildew and oïdium well, I think the indicators for these maladies were swamped and didn’t work very well this year but I can see exactly where less serious treatment really made a difference. So not really an easy vintage because of the storms. In the reds it looks super, with a little less volume than in 17.”
Sébastien on 2017:
“2017 a vintage more on the fruit, still a sunny personality to the wines but more lively. The reds very gourmand and fruity. It was another early vintage – I started 01 September. Also a good vintage – this time good in the vines and the cellar.”
Sébastien on 2016:
“Because of the frost in 2016 we were down to only 3 vines – there was no Champs Gains. There’s only one positive – the concentration. Maturities were very variable, but we had a great team and ambience. I’m the sort that’s never content, but in the end I’m happy with these wines! They were bottled just before the 2018 harvest and are now all sold out.”
In 2016 there are only three wines – usually there are 4 – Chassagne 1er Champ Gains was completely lost to the frost. It’s a mix of coopers here – with Vicard from Cognac being the one that I didn’t know. These 2016s won’t be bottled for a year and only finished their fermentations in August. Sébastien comments “I try to keep my line, my mechanical press, a hard press, I want to keep the spine of the wine. Then a cold cellar for a long time…“
Here is one of the rare domaines that I taste one year later, reflecting their wish for a long – practically 2-year elevage – like Thomas Pico in Chablis and Baron Thénard in Givry. Luckily I liked the wines absolutely as much as when first tasted last year – my synopsis is the same – genuinely great wines!
A bright almost crystalline nose – so fresh for a 16 – slowly adding some floral notes too. Beautiful clarity, weight, minerality, depth of silky texture – ooh this so so good – layered and mouth-watering in the the finish – this is great wine. Bravo!
Theres a little more of this, as the sector towards Santenay was less frosted.
A little extra width of aroma – pure, polished, and of clarity. Extra drive and sense of direction. Rippling, playing over the palate, clarity again, beautifully balanced. Bravo…
A little narrower and deeper nose – faintly mineral at the base, faintly floral above. So broad, cushioned, energetic, pure and sculptural – this is a big but giving wine. Really lots of volume and minerality. The clarity of the others is on full display here too, it’s the volume – the wine’s mouth-filling capacity – that is a notch higher. Great wine.