Joseph Colin – 2020


Joseph Colin 2021Tasted in the village of Gammay with Joseph Colin, 27 October 2021.

Domaine Joseph Colin
32 Rue des Lavières
21190 St.Aubin
Tel: +33 3 80 21 98 76

Joseph Colin is one of the four children of Marc Colin. Joseph worked with his father since 1993, together with his older brother, Pierre-Yves, until PY left to set up his own domaine in 2003.

Joseph continued at the family domaine with his younger brother and sister (Damien and Caroline) until 2016, when he also decided that it was time to go his own way, taking with him an impressive array of vineyards, totalling 6.5 hectares but with 21 cuvées, one of which is red. His address is, ostensibly, in St.Aubin, but the cuverie is down the hill in the village of Gamay. It was only a small start in 2016, his first full vintage being 2017.

Officially, about half of Joseph’s production is exported but a bunch of that is almost certainly finding homes also outside of France. Joseph’s choice is to sell into many small markets. “It’s about 6.5 hectares of vines here, but I’m already are trying to dissuade new clients as I make a maximum of 30,000 bottles per year. And, actually, it might be nearer 25,000 in 2021 – despite the frost and that I thought maybe all was lost on the ‘nice’ hillside 1ers – we actually managed about to make about 20 hl/ha. The whole cellar is vinified without sulfur – a first addition is normally made when the wines are racked – but if it’s not necessary, I won’t sulfur until it’s time to assemble for bottling. There’s no batonnage so I can keep as much of the carbon dioxide as protection.

Joseph on 2020 and a little on 2021:
I started harvesting on the 15th August. But I harvest when the things are ready and if I have to wait I will – we needed almost a month in 2018 – it was still 16 days in 2020 – we adapt! Normally, I will start bottling at the start of November but this year I will wait for December – despite the early harvest – the year will decide. In 2021 I had to blend some of the 1er crus together – which I haven’t done before – but it wouldn’t have been possible to vinify 50-litres in some cases.

The wines…

Wow! My first visit here – and, on this day, simply one of the best showings of any ‘white domaine’ I visited in 2020!

Nothing had been bottled yet, though some had been racked. All DIAM 30 today, they did have some 10s and 5s but decided all can take the 30 – so that’s a big thumbs up for me… First up, the domaine’s only red:

2020 Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles-Vignes
2 parcels – in the plain. 80% destemmed, not much pigeage as Joseph prefers a remontage so as not to extract too much from the stems
Medium, plus colour but really not so dark in the vintage context. That’s a really perfumed red fruit – attractive indeed. Vibrant, fresh, pure – a really elegant wine for the vintage. Such a great finish though – it grows in unexaggerated fashion. Lovely.

And Les Whites:

2020 Aligoté Le Jardin de la Côte
11.5 to 12° works fine here – it loses energy if you go further than that.
Fine and fresh – aromatic purity – that’s a really great aligoté nose. Bubbling, juicing, modestly mineral(ing!) – less modestly delicious. That’s as pure and pretty an aligoté as you can find – bravo!
2020 Bourgogne Chardonnay Les Hautes de la Combes
The cuvee name mixing the two lieu dits in the commune of Chassagne and Puligny. No fining, though the wines are filtered, in general.
A deeper nose but with more flesh on the fresh, mineral fruit. That’s great again – complex, pure and so mouth-watering – I might end up having to recommend all the wines! Concentrated in the finish – holding so impressively for a Bourgogne.
2020 St.Aubin Le Compendium
9 parcels in 7 different terroirs. 6 days of harvesting here.
Very mineral and with a good depth that’s aided by a little twist of reduction. Still a little gas. My word, this is mineral and direct – maybe Joseph speaks a lot with Vincent Dauvissat! – but melting with flavour and so avoiding ‘hard’ – chiselled, sculpted wine. That’s more than excellent. Great finishing.

2020 St.Aubin 1er Clos du Meix
Together with Olivier Lamay the two producers of this cru. The last harvested in 2020.
Still the minerality is clear, a fainter reduction, in this case with a more overtly yellow citrus. Fuller but still sleek and driving. The texture is really fine here, just a faint smokiness from the barrel. Rolling waves of fine finishing flavour. Excellent, long finishing, wine.

2020 St.Aubin 1er Les Frionnes
‘In terms of altitude and slope this is a match for Chassagne Caillerets’
Fine, mineral, slowly starting to see some floral augmentation too. Hmm, a wine that melts its cool flavour over the palate – this is really something – the oak is still in the background but it will soon fade. So delicious, so melting. Bravo!

2020 St.Aubin 1er Sur le Sentier du Clou
Opposite Frionnes but with higher altitude yet it’s also warmer here despite the height as it has the sun earlier in the day.
There’s fresh aromatic volume here but harder to find are the individual notes. A little rounder but still with some vibrancy of energy through the middle of the wine. Extra vibrant in the finish – that’s a beautiful and unexpected burst of finishing flavour – Lovely!

Moving to the hillside of Montrachet from the village of St.Aubin now:

2020 St.Aubin 1er Champlots
A young vine so just the second harvest. All on high here but the first 1er to be harvested.
Here the nose is more of a width – still fine and sizzling with energy. Wow in the mouth – open, airy, melting with gorgeous citrus mineral – everything in place. Compact to start but what a finish!

2020 St.Aubin 1er Sous Roche Dumay
That’s a more forward but again, impeccable fresh and inviting nose. More intense, juicy flavour – stony a wine that you have to keep going back to – I could get addicted – bravo!

2020 St.Aubin 1er Chatenière
Here is the impression of a higher ripeness of fruit – a little more golden – but then, once more, I become caught up in the energy and freshness. Here is another wine with a more melting style of flavour – more concentration, less tension but that’s relative to the other wines not other producers – what we have here is still fresh, mineral and mouthwatering – long. Really super…

2020 St.Aubin 1er En Remilly
Here is a beautiful nose of freshness and a slight sherbet energy at the top. Open, crystalline, melting, directly a great wine – airy but I don’t need impact when I have this flavour. Bravo – so stony and so pure!

2020 St.Aubin 1er Murgers des Dents du Chien
Very low volume in this vintage as there’s practically no soil – about 14 hl/ha only…
Here is more aromatic complexity – if not quite the same level of invitation as the last. Fuller, more concentrated, the fruit showing more forward. No doubt about the balance here, only the style change mainly due to the tiny harvest volume and concentration. But a super thing in its own right – a bit more of 2019 style of wine.

2020 St.Aubin 1er Les Combes
In Pitangerets
Back to a freshness – more compact but vibrant – quite an invitation again. Extra width, bubbling freshness – here with a touch of barrel – complex, mouth-watering – more concentrated than my favourite – the Remilly. An excellent wine I just prefer that more airy character of the Remilly. Great, wide, persistence of finishing flavour…

2020 Puligny-Montrachet Le Trezin
Not a large nose but one with a mineral vibration but in a completely different register. This has impact and weight of mineral flavour – it’s complex, deep, larger wine than the last few from St.Aubin, it’s delicious, but less delicious today!

2020 Chassagne-Montrachet
From 3 different parcels close to 1er and grand crus.
A deeper minerality but with fine and attractive top notes too. This has the airy delicious quality of the top St.Aubins, perhaps a touch less focus but with a little more depth to the texture. That’s really a very fine villages – almost great! I like the interpretation – more joyous than the Trezin today…

2020 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Les Chenevottes
A little more aromatic volume and with more complexity too, extra florals visible here – beautiful. Extra incisive, pure, growing in intensity – bravo – directy! Melting style, mineral underpinning but with such delicious clarity. Great 2020, great wine!
2020 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Vide Bourse
Only about 5 producers, below Batard and Criots – a quite windy area so practically never any botrytis here – relatively deep soil – in this case older vines – planted in 1948 but despite the wind an early ripening place. ‘Vide Bourse has a more alcoholic impression very like Bâtard.’
Very open, perfumed, floral a great invitation. Impact, but precision. I so loved the last wine but here is more of everything! The oak is very discreet but the mouth-watering complexity, including salinity is simply beautiful – Bravo! Never heavy – just a finesse – great, great length…
2020 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er En Cailleret
Mainly 100-year-old vines – ‘a few replacements but they don’t offer many grapes as they are planted directly on the rocks, still, 25 hl/ha in a decent vintage’
Fresh, stony aroma – I imagine myself breathing in the air at the top of a hill. A very different character – stony, airy, like the Remilly but from stonier ground – then with a peacocks tail of brilliant finishing complexity. Great Caillerets that you could keep as long as you like.

2020 Puligny-Montrachet 1er La Garenne
A more vertical nose – fresh, golden with mineral support. Properly mouth-filling – at first uncommunicative but then slowly starting to melt its flavours over the palate, filling the spaces, very contemplative wine – still fresh but a very different style of energy and very long.

2020 Bâtard-Montrachet
Bought in must – maybe grapes in the future – unfortunately, there was none in 2021. ‘I try to keep the same style of elevage as the other wines with a minimum of oak (10-15% in the rest) so this got a 1-year-old barrel.’
A volume of fresh aroma and the impression of extra density too. Here is a wine of freshness, of melting, bubbling, flavour energy. Great, great finishing with changing layers of fine flavour, mixed with florals too.

2020 Chevalier-Montrachet
Close to Cabotte
Here there’s a bit of oak showing but a bit of vertical style to the nose too with a vibration of minerality at the base. Mouth-filling but open, a little airy, complex super wine. Today a bit less demonstrative than some that have preceded it. But that will come as the oak fades. Properly impressive wine all the same…

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