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Sylvain Pataille – 2013

DSC05445Tasted in Marsannay with Sylvain Pataille, 07 November, 2014.

Sylvain was truly on great form while all around us was semi-chaos – some 14s were being racked into barrels, above and behind us, while we tasted. Sylvain is truly made from the same stuff as mad scientists, spitting out facts about the subsoil in particular parts of a vineyard whilst at the same time referring to when exactly he dosed with SO2 and how many ‘free’ parts per million – of-course all delivered in warp-speed French. Brilliant! NB, Sylvain is already referring to various Marsannay terroirs as 1er crus!

Domaine Sylvain Pataille
73 Rue de Mazy
21160 Marsannay-la-Côte
Tel: +33 3 80 51 17 35+33 3 80 51 17 35

Sylvain on 2013:
“Well, we thought it was good at harvest, but we didn’t realise it was great! Yields were low but better than 2012, 2012 = 25 hl/ha (very bad hail that year), 2013 = 32 hl/ha – versus our 10-year average of ~42 hl/ha. 2013 is still economically difficult.”

Sylvain on closures:
“I’m very happy with the relationships and cork products I use now. I do use DIAM, but only when imposed by the customer – for instance UK’s Wine Society. DIAM remains for me essentially an industrial product, that said, I’ve never had a bad DIAM wine, so maybe I’ll feel better about them when I’ve tasted lots of perfect 15 year-old bottles – so far it’s only 5-6 years.”

The wines…

As is often the case here, you taste many more wines than are needed for a report such as this – a test with ‘x’ and another test with ‘y’ et cetera, but hopefully I’ve managed to capture the essence of the range (and a little the man!) from reams of notes! Of-course, some of the best wines of the Côte de Nuits, not just Marsannay!

2013 Aligoté
From 1930s vines that delivered just 17-18 hl/ha in 2013, bottled before harvest. Note, Sylvain has half a dozen different aligoté terroirs, and I think it might be possible to buy mixed cases of the various wines.
The nose is fresh and clean with a faint citrus. In the mouth this is quite big, but refreshing too with a concentrated line of flavour. Super finish!

2013 Marsannay Blanc
To be bottled just before the Christmas holidays.
Very different – a fine, higher-toned nose. Wide and a little dense with an intense mid-palate.

2013 Bourgogne Le Chapitre Blanc
“A very sunny and warm plot of red, iron-infused soil over marne-blanche.
The nose is wide, deep and a little spicy. Some gas on the palate but this is long and very tasty – quite big but balanced.

The following wines are in barrel or a combination of barrel and tank:

2013 Marsannay Rosé (Fleur de Pinot)
This wine was on its lees for 12 months – still to be bottled – who knows when!.
A high-toned but also deep nose. Quite full, with growing intensity. The finish is a revelation for the label, Fortunately the nose starts to gain freshness making a very satisfying whole.

2013 Marsannay La Charme aux Prêtres Blanc
Will ‘probably’ bottle after 18 months elevage.
A deep, ‘low-sulfur nose’ with a little struck match. Silky in the mouth with fine depth of flavour and good energy too. Still some reductive notes which Sylvain says comes from the limestone.

Les rouges…

2013 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Bright ‘come to me’ crunchy dark-red fruit. Silky and wide in the mouth with a good concentration of classic pinot flavour. This is super-tasty!

2013 Marsannay
A beautiful dar fruit aroma – really gorgeous. Wider, a little more lithe and energetic. Super intensity and mouth-wateringly tasty. Super!

2013 Marsannay La Montagne
“Basically the same exposure as Estournelles St.Jacques.”
Aromatically wider and fresher than the last wine – more complex too with a core of dark fruit. Faint gas but super width and an insinuating complexity that finishes as a faint salt note – what Sylvain calls a ‘vibration.’

2013 Marsannay Les Longeroies
100% whole cluster.
Really deep, with fresh fruit too. Super intensity with a little tannic drag and fine, fine concentration. Quite something in the finish – brilliant!
2013 Marsannay Clos du Roy
Not a nose of power, rather beguiling complexity. There IS power on the palate though, yet this wine remains super-elegant and absolutely persistent. This is really something!

Now we changed cuverie, heading into Chenôve where some wines are in tank – cooler conditions too:

2013 Marsannay En Clemongeot
What a lovely line of flavour, though more tannin too – probably due to the lower temperature. I ask Sylvain if he’s the first to use this lieu-dit on a label – he smiles and says he’s the ‘only one’ to use the lieu-dit on a label! “Clemongeot is a 1.3 hectare section of Champs Salomon, and I’ve 1.0 hectares of it.”

2013 Bourgogne La Chapitre
The aromatic is wide with a more mineral aspect. Full, mineral, slightly salted and plenty of structure. Should be super, but patience is always required with this lieu-dit – I’m certainly still waiting for my 2008s and 2009s…

2013 Marsannay Cuvée l’Ancestrale
A full, round and textured nose. The palate reflects that nose – this is a big wine with plenty of tannic structure but has everything it needs to exert control and balance. This is a giant of Marsannay!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?