Profile: Comtesse de Chérisey

Update 23.12.2019(19.12.2019)billn

Rémi Colin, 2019Tasted with Rémi Colin in Blagny, 18 October 2019.

Domaine Comtesse de Chérisey
4 bis, Hameau de Blagny
21190 Puligny-Montrachet
Tel: +33 9 66 89 59 40

Blagny, it’s about altitude. It’s a wine with a remarkable view,” says Rémi Colin.

A domaine started here in 1811. In 1998 the current phase of exploitation began with Laurent and Hélène Martelet, marking the 6th generation associated with winemaking here. Prior, the exploitation spent many years with metayeurs. The domaine today covers 9.5 hectares, all of which surrounds the domaine buildings here in the Hameau of Blagny.

Hélène and Laurent had practically nothing here when they began, just ruins and no electricity. In tranches, they rebuilt everything, including a cuverie – previously there was only a place to press the grapes before selling the must.

Exceptional to the domaine is its Meursault-Blagny Le Genelotte – a 5-hectare monopoly. That’s not to say that they don’t have competition for the grapes, because, close to the harvest, there are many animals from the woods above who would like to take a share. In 2000 the domaine took out some of the wood to replant – this land is in the AOC which was planned before phylloxera but hadn’t been replanted – maybe, hence, the revenge of the animals! The domaine owns some of the forest here, so the oaks that were felled were cut into staves to make the domaine’s barrels – the coopers Billon making the large format barrels. Also, some Douglas Firs were planted to make staves for the vines.

Rémi explains that respect for the environment is utmost in their minds, “For 10-12 years there have been no chemical products used in the vineyards, so we have now decided to start the process for organic certification. We also began planting some ground-cover between the vines on the slopes, with the aim to eliminate erosion – so-far, we’re unsure of the success.

The domaine mainly exports; the single biggest market being the US. They have new labels since the 2017 vintage – to my taste they are classy and differentiate very well from the old labels that looked a better fit for the supermarket shelves!

Rémi on the 2018 vintage:
In 2018 we had lots of rain to start the year and then none after – it was a hot summer. We started our harvest on the 23rd August, but in a small way, as the maturity wasn’t consistent – so it was a longer harvest than for many years. The Hameau was harvested in 4 different visits – for us, it’s not just the refractometer that decides whether we harvest! Here was once an area that produced grapes that were used to pep-up wines that needed more acidity, but with the current climate, that’s not the case. We work the vines like gardening, we never come near the rendement, even in 2018. For us the fermentations were not problematic – the Puligny side wines as always quicker than the rest – of-course always without additives. The wines should be in the cuverie for one year before racking into tank without fining or filtering – the current plan is to bottle around April-May next year, using natural cork, of haute-gamme and extra long at 54mm. Have some tests with the 14 and 15 vintages with DIAM, but that’s all.

The wines…

I enjoyed the drive and energy of these wines very much – as the wines of Benjamin Leroux also attest, Blagny shouldn’t be forgotten – it has compelling balance and delicious flavour in these warmer vintages – they are proper 1er crus!

2018 Meursault Bois de Bagny
4 blocks of vines, a little like an amphitheatre, with a mix of older and new vines that have been blended together for first time in 2018.
A compact nose, faintly citrus. The palate is showing much more interest – pure, nicely citrus acidity with a certain, Meursault style here – this is very tasty with good energy – lovely – the finish of modest intensity but long. That’s a very good start!

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Chalumaux
‘For us, this is like having to go to the south of France – this is always the first parcel with leaves, flowers and to be harvested. It’s only about 50m lower in altitude than many of the other vines…’
A very different character – yellow fruited and a little more forward. More energy, more sweetness too – melting, mouth-watering – actually quite juicy flavour. Delicious in a sweet style!

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er La Garenne
The domaine’s biggest parcel of Puligny, but it’s the smallest cuvée of this domaine.
Hmm – fresh but clearly more elegantly delivered perfume than the Chalumaux. Nicely driving, good tension – vivid, fine clarity – this is first class. Excellent wine.

2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Hameau de Blagny
Hmm, nicely vibrant and just a little more mineral than the Garenne. Fresh, lovely lines – a wine of delicacy and detail – elegant but complex and attractive. Really a beautiful thing – maybe short on concentration but not a bit short of everything compelling and interesting. Excellent.

2018 Meursault-Blagny 1er La Genelotte
Really an obvious Meursault nose here, faintly spiced, fresh but also a nose of depth. Fine in the mouth with a little more overt concentration than the Hameau – mobile, pure, and nicely textured. The style of the house, pretty much. Excellent, even a faint touch of phenolic texture, of tannin, in the finish.

2014 Meursault-Blagny 1er La Genelotte
Hmm – a little reduction here, but obviously Meursault in style. Wow on the palate, fresh, driving, direct but beautiful avidity – ooh great – but carafe – this a test with DIAM, so perhaps hence the reduction.

Le Rouge:

2018 Blagny 1er La Genelotte
Only about 2% of production is red here, but it’s an old selection of pinot tres fin.
Good colour – nicely vibrant fruit, pure too. Direct! A wine of drive, of clean lines, a touch of tannin coating but not with any obvious grain. Pure – a style like the 2014 white. Perfumed finishing – ooh – excellent and a treat!

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