Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Céline Fontaine, 21 October 2020.
19 Route de Santenay
Tel: +33 3 80 21 35 50
Céline’s parents started in 1985 with a little over 4 hectares of vines, now it’s 12. These extra hectares mainly came by assembling vines owned by different parts of the family. It was Céline’s grandfather who bought vines – premiers and grand crus – in the 1970s these were vines that others didn’t seem to want. At that time important premiers that were often unsold. He also bought the Montrachet from Fleurot.
In terms of the domaine’s principal markets, historically, 2/3rds of their production has been exported, but with many requests in France and not enough wine to go around, they have grown a little more in France in recent years.
Céline on 2019:
“Our volumes were 30% down in 2019. It was a combination of factors; the frost upset the volumes in Morgeot and the heat was a problem for the hillside vines of La Romanée etcetera. For the whites the frost came 5 April when the buds had started to grow – a classic frost – we protected 1 ha with candles in 2019; the Grand Crus and Murées but not in Morgeot – and it showed! One result of the frost was the amount of millerandes, because of that the grapes ripened very quickly. 10 September was our starting-point for harvesting. I think the whites powerful and concentrated in 2019 – my parents have been here since 1985 and they have never seen 14° in the villages wine before. I’ve been here since 2007 but this is the first vintage I’ve seen with absolutely no chaptalisation. The tannins of the reds were a little drier in 2018 versus those in 2019.”
I enjoyed my first tasting of the wines of this domaine. The reds are excellent. The whites showed plenty of smokiness – presumably from their barrels – but there are also many excellent cuvées here too.
There’s one year of elevage for the whites, which were bottled in August. For the reds, they take an extra 6 months – 12 on their lees – and these will be bottled in January/February. There are 7 reds, starting with PTG “I don’t extract much and prefer to destem,” says Céline. All is sealed with Trescasses cork here.
In Chassagne, half gamay.
Hmm, that’s a lovely aroma for the first wine of the day; pure red fruit – a great invitation. Good shape in the mouth, open, fresh and delicious. Opening wider in the finish – bravo! Easy 😊
2019 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
3 parcels, on in Chassagne and two in Volnay – Céline’s grandfather was from Volnay. No new oak in either this or the last wine.
Medium colour, This has a small nose. A modest sweetness. Wide, nicely textured with an accent of tannin, supple and very tasty – a very modest reduction modifying the middle flavours but anyway a very tasty wine – lovely, and deliciously finishing…
From 6 parcels, 1.5 ha in total – older vines in general – ‘We’re keeping them though much around us is turning white. It’s hard to make more than 30 hl/ha as all in cordon but…’
A little more colour, there’s 20% new wood used here too. Some aromatic width a faint wood spice over very pretty fruit. This has a little extra tannic texture, but also a simply super depth of fine fruit flavour – deep red and fresh. Almost a little milk chocolate in the finishing flavours. This will be top red villages – save it for 2-3 years…
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos St.Jean
A wide strip under the quarry between JM Pillot and Thierry Pillot, ‘always a hint less maturity in these vines – but they are old vines,’ planted in the 50s, with not a big yield – here nearly 40% new oak.
A small nose, but with some freshness – almost a silkiness too. More juicy in style, open, less density but also more accessibility – the tannin is very modest. Lots of complexity and a higher-toned style to fruit. Very delicious…
2019 Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
‘Less frost here, volumes are higher but currently, the wines are showing more timid.’
More colour. Higher toned, open, almost showing some perfume. A little reduction (or oak) in the background, the tannins more to the foreground but the flavour remains fine and mouth-watering. A finish that opens out wider and even has a little licorice impression in the flavour…
The largest cuvée of the domaine with 1.7 ha in multiple parcels – this year with 14°.
The nose here is a little reductive – not showing its best to start, but with air this opens and shows much more interest. This has concentration and a really beautiful texture – like the nose it needs plenty of air – I‘d decant today without a doubt…
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Maltroie
‘Normally one of the first harvested, typically charming but was a little austere in elevage.’
A more open nose of interesting and inviting clarity. A touch of gas, still with volume and extra complexity, the flavours melting over the palate. Extra finishing intensity, sweetly mouth-watering. Again, like the last, with a small touch of finishing tannin on the tip of the tongue.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Clos des Murées Monopole
A more floral and perfumed nose. Mouth-filling plenty of energy here – partly as there’s a little impression of gas – but the complexity is delicious – practically elegant, long and seductive – this is excellent – I love the finish too.
At the limit with Santenay next to Caradeuse. A part is old vines here.
A more smoky density of aroma. More direct, more incisive, practically a little saline – lots of complexity, fine almost haunting finishing intensity – ooh – bravo!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Caillerets
From the ‘vignes derrière’ section ie derrière the last houses of the village.
A smoky reduction/oak/minerality here – so decant when young. More composed, a little more overt concentration, faintly reductive, layered in the finish – it’s a great finish, showing less before – I’d like a bit more energy in the first part of the wine but the finish is glorious and quite vibrant with that tannic last impression on the tongue.
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er La Romanée
Plain east-facing on the slope. The domaine has had to replace some vines as the yields are so low right now.
Once-more, the smoky reduction – decant. More open over the palate – fine clarity and indeed minerality. A faint cushion to the texture, insinuating fine flavour again with that touch of tannin – Holding long. Excellent wine…
2019 Criots Bâtard-Montrachet
South-facing next to Bâtard, harvested the first day, after the Caillerets
This has the same smokiness as other wines here but on a lower level – lots of width to this aroma, an elegant introduction. Fuller, richer but always with balance. Modestly mouth-watering – then a beautifully sparkling finish – ooh that’s really lovely.
4 parcels, the main part overlooking Criots.
The same smoky impression to start – a wine that needs aeration as it starts a little sullen. More open over the palate, also more structural. Widening quickly – filling all the parts of your mouth, extra, extra long. Big wine, delicious wine – and following this Criots, a wine with a more overt structure than I expect in Bâtard – a completely welcome structure – excellent Batard.