Tasted in Chassagne-Montrachet with Sébastien Caillat, 01 October 2020.
Sébastien on 2020:
“I finished harvesting and it was still August – extraordinary – we were lucky to be an area – Santenay to Chassagne – that hardly suffered from the dryness. At Lamy-Pillot we had vines in Beaune that needed picking very early as they were losing their leaves, but here we could be patient.”
Sébastien on 2019:
“A hot, dry one. One of the three hottest years in the last 100. The pHs are better and the level of tartaric acid also better than in 2018 but we are still close to 14° of alcohol. It’s a relatively small volume vintage – compact, dense, frank but with such good concentration and energy – but meagre quantities – 20-25 hl/ha. In the vines despite the pressure no big problems, none from oïdium for instance. The wines will stay in elevage for almost another year but I have a positive feeling towards them. Unlike the long fermentations of 2018, these started very well, but the malos, some took their time, not finishing until August but it’s a cool cellar. I wouldn’t have wanted to be bottling those after just one year!”
One of the great domaines for 2019s…
It was a little frosted here so partly why only 25 hl/ha – ‘we kept pressing so long it tasted good – that meant the best part of 6 hours with this one!’
That’s a powerful and forward nose – a little stony and with silky citrus that’s shaded towards green. Supple, energetic, just a suggestion of fermentary flavours, but here is width and impressive depth of flavour. Concentrated, layered, Bourgogne for keeping but with a steely minerality too. That’s a brilliant start!
Planted in 2015 on a steep slope – cold at night, hot in the day. This the second harvest from those vines.
Again forward aromatic – this showing more width and a sherbet character. Open, airier in style – not the compact concentration of the Bourgogne but a different higher-toned complexity that I rather prefer. Bravo for such baby vines!
New neighbouring vines this year – 2 new neighbours
That’s a classy nose – cut with limestone – no surprise that it resembles Caillerets just below – a floral dimension too – that’s great villages. Vibrant, super-mouth-watering, juicy – long and completely delicious – this is my new favourite!
2019 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champs Gain
Here is the deepest soil with some of the most clay and least stones – a rich soil that gives a lot of vigour to the vines
Hard to imagine another level of aromatic – but here it is – similar in minerality to the Pot Bois but with a line of aroma that extends further and in more vibrant fashion – wow! More complex but almost seems a little more diffuse because of that. But ultimately juicily delicious and incisive finishing like all here. Really a width of open finishing flavour. Simply excellent wine.
‘Close to Romanée the soils are all similar though Romanée and Grand Montagne are a little higher on the slope. The vines are about the same age in this as in the last but they are so different!’
Starts like the Champsgain but this nose has yet another floral dimension – more is indeed possible! Extra complexity that’s sure – a wine that’s more direct in shape but also meltingly wide – you would say more mineral too. Perhaps to wait a little longer for – a fresh apricot fruit mixed with the flowers.
A more vertical nose – less wide but perhaps with more depth and height to the aroma – attractively floral and more mineral at the base – so surprise how good an invitation this is. Here, just a shade more compact but that’s because it’s a wine that grows and grows over the palate – a suggestion of barrel here, it’s a wine not yet of discreet complexity – but complexity all the same- needing more time than the others – but no less great I’m expecting – because the finish is simply that of a grand vin.
From Champs Gain all the way to the top of the vines.
Yes, a little like to Pot Bois – but with a frame of flowers. The most overtly mineral. The mouth-watering flavour becoming all the time more intense – always, indeed overtly floral in the flavours – so perfumed. That’s as good a white as I’ve tasted for a long time – worth selling your grandmother for – okay, someone else’s grandmother!
And a little something from 2018?
All open 24 hours, bottled just before this year’s harvest, tasted by Sébastien this week for the first time since the bottling:
A calmer, not exactly sombre, nose – but not the same energy as any of the 19s. In isolation very attractive though. In the mouth this is outrageously good though – layered, a certain richness, complexity and deliciousness way beyond the hapless label. A very impressive, saline-edged finish. This will be great Bourgogne – I wouldn’t hesitate in waiting at least 5 years for it.
There is density here too but the aromas are certainly more open and accessible versus the Bourgogne. Hmm, that’s meltingly gorgeous over the palate. Richer, less airy than 19 but still a great wine – the finish shrinks quickly in volume but then holds a very long note.
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Champsgains
Again a tighter nose than the 2019 equivalent, but like the 19 there’s a nicely floral dimension over a tighter, more compact, aromatic. Ooh -a little richness of beautiful texture. There’s concentration here, flavour that slowly melts over the palate – give this wine time – like the Bourgogne have patience. But super wine all the same – a great finish that completely mineral…
2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Caillerets
Once more in 18, like 19, this is clearly cut from the same cloth as the Pot Bois, and like the 19 there’s a little extra floral dimension in the 1er cru wine – but less overt at this stage for the 2018. The most open, and as usual, the most mineral of Sébastien’s wines. Subtly sizzling energy – not quite electric – but getting there. Maybe this is a Caillerets with less austerity?