Profile: Sylvain Cathiard


Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Sébastien Cathiard, 05 December 2017.

Domaine Sylvain Cathiard  
20 Rue de la Goillotte
21700 Vosne-Romanée
Tel: +33 3 80 62 36 01

​Sébastien is the 4th generation of this domaine, Sylvain in the domaine name is his father. The first generation of Cathiards in Vosne came from the Savoie, Alfred, starting as an ouvrier/tâcheron for both Domaine Lamarche and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in the 1920s. Alfred later managed to buy some small parcels, selling his produce to the négoce. His son (Sylvain’s father) André Cathiard was the first in the family who started to bottle and sell the domaine’s wine – it was also he who bought the domaines parcels of Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts and Romanée St.Vivant – André retired in 1995, Sylvain taking full control at that time.

The domaine’s last vineyard purchase was in 2006 the same time that Sébastien started working at the domaine – Nuits St.Georges Aux Thorey – this was partly in compensation for losing the Thomas-Moillard parcels that they worked – Romanée St.Vivant and others – when the Domaine Charles Thomas vines were sold to Dujac/de Montille et-cetera. Still, it’s only a small domaine – 4.60 hectares – but the produce of those hectares are very sought after!

About 85% of the production is export from France.

Sébastien on 2017:
We started harvesting on the 13th September. We saw good fruit and quality too, though the malos are not yet finished, so it’s too early to say more.

Sébastien on 2016:
​2016 was highly variable here. Some parts were not frosted, in fact most of the crus of Vosne were okay, but our Nuits villages and the Chambolle was down 70% in volume – the Bourgogne was also 70% less. In end we were about minus 30% in volume. I find the 2016s more accessible than the 2015s were at this same stage – the 2015s had lots of tannin and they are for keeping. That said, these wines are becoming more serious as the cellar temperature decreases – it’s now 11°C. Nothing is racked and it will stay this way until they are racked for bottling after about 18 months – no filtration or fining. Two village wines haven’t much so I’m not showing the Nuits or Chambolle.

The wines…

Sébastien destems everything, then likes a prefermentation maceration for a dozen days, with up to 30 days total cuvaision, temperatures up to 32°C to help fix the colours – this is a little longer than father Sylvain used to do. Up to 2/3rds new wood is used for the 1er and grands crus.

A very fine consistency and the Romanée St.Vivant is one of my wines of the vintage. A small but perfectly formed range of 2016s.

2016 Côteaux Bourguignone
These vines are between Nuits and Vosne – toward the railway – an area called Croix Blanche. Roughly two-thirds pinot the rest is gamay, all vinified together.
Hmm, that’s a lovely, fresh and perfumed nose – quite the invitation. Fresh in the mouth, slowly growing in intensity with a bright finishing wave of flavour. Lovely for the label – very yum!

2016 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Vines between Vosne and Vougeot, no new oak.
Good colour. A little less width, no flowers but a beautifully attractive fresh pinot fruit. Hmm, luscious, fresh, absolutely delicious wine – slightly saline – bravo!

2016 Vosne-Romanée
From 5 parcels, 4 lieu dits, about one-third new oak
Tight top notes but quite some width of aroma in the depth. More direct, silky before a micro-grained tannin turns that to velvet. Some oak in the mid-palate, layered, here a complex blend of fruit and flowers – long – this will be super, but wait for the oak to fade…

2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Aux Thorey
About 55% new oak. Just the bottom of the parcel had some frost – lost 25% – lots of limestone here. “We find a similar aromatic profile in our Chambolle – quite elegant.”
A wine that slowly opens, a pretty blend of dark fruits and florals. More volume in the mouth, fresh, wine of energy, faintly saline but sweet at the same time. A big weight of finishing flavour that fades with very elegant flavours. A really a honey – lovely. It’s like that every year says Sébastien…

2016 Nuits St.Georges 1er Aux Murgers
Again about 50% new oak.
This taking some time to open, but there’s a growing depth of beautifully crystalline dark fruit. Fresh, beautiful detail and structure almost no grain to the tannin, waves of wide, dark, sweetly rich fruit in the finish but always with great freshness. Such lovely wine…

2016 Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Reignots
Depth of aroma, purity here, only very slowly opening – if never fully. The palate is similar, slowly opening, but with a beautiful vibrancy of fruit and really quite some impressive tenacity in the finish.

2016 Vosne-Romanée 1er En Orveaux
A tight width of pure aroma, slowly adding some spice in the mix. More open on the palate, a vibration of flavour here – this is really the most beautiful flavour so far. Despite the tight nose, this I love.

2016 Vosne-Romanée 1er Malconsorts
A very fine, but subdued nose, complex though. More structural, good volume, complex, a little new oak in the complexity, a saline complexity in the finish, here with some florality too. A little serious today so hard to say whether it’s great or simply a beautiful wine, ‘this always the last to finish malo.’ The last drops in the glass smell gorgeous.

2016 Romanée St.Vivant
A more airy nose, super elegant. A mouthful of flowers with structure. Very modest tannin. Ultra complex, wide in the finish. This is one of the most beautiful if not the most powerful wines that I’ve tasted this vintage. Fabulous!

Blind #1: Deep, a suggestion of first hints of maturity, but the colour is not so old. Narrow but fresh, mouth-watering, less sweet than the 2016s, a modest intensity and a modest tannin. Not overtly Vosne a little floral finishing, Id say 2012, possibly villages Nuits? It was the Bourgogne 2012

Blind #2: Deep colour, a young fresh nose, profound, growing floral and ripe fruit, fine, fresh, sweet, complex, growing tannin, I don’t see overt Vosne again, so Nuits 2015 is my guess. Close but no cigar again – 2015 Vosne-Romanée

Blind #3: Last one, also a young colour, younger than the 12, less than the 2015. A very fresh and floral nose, faintly reduced. Very fresh, complex, distinguished, more intense, a hint of tannin that slows progress into the finish, a mouth-watering finish. I guess 2013 Vosne 1er Suchots – It’s 2013 Vosne villages and it’s a great villages wine!

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