Tasted in Chassagne with Antoine Lepetit de la Bigne, the 07 October, 2020.
You may remember Antoine as previously being part of the team at Domaine Leflaive. He is now installed at Domaines Picard as their Technical Director.
Antoine on 2020:
“We’ve had two consecutive small vintages in terms of yield – though there’s just a little more wine in 2020. This year I only managed to get in 1 week of holiday as I needed to be back August 10th to prepare the harvest. We started 20 August with 2 days picking the younger vines then waited until the 24th for our ‘real’ start, finishing 2 September. That was the Côte d’Or, in the Cote Chalonnaise* we finished about 1 week later. This year we were alternating the picking of pinot and chardonnay as they had a similar maturity.”
*Domaines in Mercurey and Montagny
Antoine on 2019:
“In 2019 we started harvesting 9 September and finished all the chardonnay before starting on the reds – very different to 2020. The malos followed the alcoholics very well, we did some modest batonnage in the 19 whites. In the end it was about half a harvest here in Chassagne in 2019. We have open whites, ones that are not too strict, indeed very commercial. It helped us to harvest earlier or the degrees would quickly rise – still, most of the whites are well above 13°. I’m not a big fan of extra extraction for reds, they will be bottled by the end of the year, but the whites will wait a little longer, hopefully enjoying their second winter before probably bottling by the springtime.”
Antoine, who joined in May 2019, has been using a mix of foudres, 300-litre barrels (for all 1ers from 2020) and 228-litre barrels. He’s also using DIAM for all wines, both colours – “It also allows me to use less sulfur.” All of these domaine wines are entitled to organic (AB) labelling in 2019 but they are undecided if they will do it.
A domaine selection that has remained under the radar but one that consistently produces excellent bottles. That remains the case for the whites, where many wines excel – the oak is present in them and it will take a couple of years to fade – but where I note the bigger change since the arrival of Antione, is the reds – airy, complex, perfumed wines where before they were good yet unmemorable. Getting better and better!
All samples either from tanks or barrel:
2019 Bourgogne Chardonnay
From the bottom of Chassagne and Puligny plus some Chalonnaise fruit too.
A big, bright forward nose – very open and very attractive for the label. Some richness of flavour – width of flavour too: Good balance despite the concentration, though I’d still like a bit more energy. I have to say very tasty wine with a good length.
This from the bottom of Chassagne with a high proportion of clay.
Aromatically a little more compact yet at the same time a more airy style – more attractive to me. There is also density here but a style of melting flavour over the palate that is extremely attractive – couched with a modest barrel note today. Delicious and with a little nicer balance than the Bourgogne was showing. Lovely stony finishing flavour – no oak here.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet En Pimonts
Which is high on the hill north of the quarry/stone-works
A narrower but fine nose, showing a little floral extra. Yes – here we have a beauty – it’s got fine drive, a more open nature, steely in form and flavour. The more complex and mouth-watering flavour – this is completely excellent wine!
2019 St.Aubin 1er Les Pitangerets
The continuation of Chassagne Vergers, stony, well-draining soil – the vines suffer here in the dry vintages if the weeds are not ‘controlled’.
A different perfume but a perfume all the same – very attractive. Wide, silky, quite mineral, easy over the palate today – a modest oak note in the middle but not a bit jarring. Long – what a delicious wine!
A much tighter nose versus the previous wines. A little extra structure here and a more more-watering style of flavour. Lovely over the palate, finding all the free spaces in your mouth. Complex and even a little licorice flavour in the finish. The potential for Bravo here!
A larger more expansive nose – showing an agrume complexity – that’s super. This the first wine sampled from barrel. More direct, more driving – this is more compact and stony after the Charmois. A touch of oak and a fine combination of texture and balance. The finish opens fabulously – tight in the middle today but again much opportunity for bravo here.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Macherelles
A wider nose, a touch of cushioning but here’s an attractively displayed aroma. Ooh, that’s good – not over-energetic but that style of mobile melting flavour with a couple of mm of cushioning that I often associate with Chassagne. So delicious, so easy. Always excellent.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chenevottes
From 3 parcels.
A little more compact aroma again, attractive oak spice but a modest nose today. Extra concentration and an extra stony base to the flavour too. Opening wider and wider, a little richness but I’ve no worries about the balance. That’s a super finish, a floral dimension too. It will be excellent.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
From a 0.5 hectare plot – From Rebichets – the bottom of CSJ.
A higher-toned freshness to this aromatic. More freshness in the flavour too – more flighty, more energy. Stony at the base again, with a delightful mouth-watering aspect. Properly mineral finishing and growing too – the best part of a very good wine…
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Vergers
3 parcels but they are replanting so only one barrel right now.
A narrow but quite vertical nose, faintly herbed almost a suggestion of pyrazine. Nicely shaped – open, fine clarity here. Flavour-wise, a little of the pyrazine aspect of the nose and a cushioning of barrel. Overall a great package though – probably excellent – certainly impressively long.
The most southerly vines of the domaine – in Chassagne – from a little clos opposite the Clos Maltroye
A sweeter and more floral nose. Open, mineral, chalky – impressively flavoured wine. Detailed, complex, almost fireworks in the finish. Bravo!
Under Pot Bois at the top of the vineyard
A less demonstrative nose but open, indeed airy, and floral. Uber-mineral – this is super – like a waterfall of clean, clear, water bubbling over the palate. Clarity, precision and a hint of tannin at the end of the tongue. That will be great!
A little extra in this nose – a vibration of minerality. More spherical – only slowly melting flavours over the plate – but such interesting flavours. And with such depth to them as you head slowly to the finish. Mineral but less overtly than the Caillerets but a perfectly joined-up wine – bravo!
A different freshness of fruit – depth but still with lightness. Lissome over the palate – so graceful. So melting with the finest of touches – don’t come here for impact come here for the ultimate in elegance – bravo with a caress!
2019 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Les Demoiselles
It’s only Guy Amiot, Philippe Colin and here for Puligny Demoiselles
Once more, a slightly compact nose but with a fine and inviting floral perfume. Wider, a little more insistent but no sharp edges here. Clearly a wine that’s wedded in its mineral base. I was waiting for something extra then it came with a burst of fine finishing flavour. Still a hint undemonstrative but very classy and excellent all the same. Lots of potential for sure.
All the wines are destemmed except for the Corton and with no added sulfur before the malo was finished. Practically only remontage was used in 2019 ‘as the colours extracted so quickly‘ – there was a little more whole-cluster use in 2020.
2019 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Like the white with this label, a mix of local grapes and those from the Chalonnaise
Medium-plus coloured. The nose is forward, an attractively darker pinot – lots to invite you to taste. Silky, with a width of flavour, mouth-watering, a little depth of graphite mineral flavour. Very fine grain to the tannin. That’s a cushioned and delicious wine. Super pinot
All bottom of Chassagne.
Good colour. The nose narrower and higher-toned versus the Bourgogne. A more overt freshness, some depth of tannin at the base – here’s a lovely mouth-watering side too. A wine that’s clearly needing 2-3 years of patience – but no more. Tasty and nicely structured – and certainly less ‘easy’ than the Bourgogne – a delicious finale!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet Concis du Champs
Middle of the vines below the village of Chassagne
Hmm, that’s a lovely floral nose – delightful. Freshness again – mouth-filling. Beautiful high-toned fruit, nothing overdone, finishing with a reprise of that aromatic floral – simply excellent. The tannin stays on the tip of the tongue – but there’s no grain here…
2019 St.Aubin 1er Pitangerets
A narrower nose again, once more the fruit augmented with a flash of pretty florals. More airy impression – open, slowly mouth-watering, more elegantly structured. Ooh, that’s a pretty finish – so good!
2019 St.Aubin 1er La Charmois
A fine and high-toned nose – Perhaps a faint reductive suggestion too. I like the initial shape of this more than the lack of definition showed by the Pitangerets – after that they are neck and neck – this with a depth of complexity that is completely delicious and freshly mouth-watering.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Chaumées
The only producer of red here.
Here it’s the depth of aroma that is emphasized – the width of that depth too – slowly augmenting with florals. Fresh, good energy, certainly a little more structure but all is completely under control. Again it’s the depth of the flavour where this takes an extra step, slightly saline – super digestible. Yes I’ll take another. Excellent wine once more.
2019 Corton Clos des Fietres
All wc here, three barrels produced.
More modest colour but nothing modest about the nose – a big bouquet of roses – such purity of aroma too – that’s great. Mouth-filling, super energy, a little touch of tannin but practically no grain. The wc is done in such an elegant way here. Full-flavoured – I would even wait for it to calm a little.