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2013 Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Les Eguisons, Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard
Since 1989 Caroline l’Estimé has been in charge of Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard in their small cellar in Chassagne Montrachet. Caroline has fine-tuned, the holdings, increasing the number of white wine cuvées since her father’s time by separating out each different vineyard.
She has also planted new sites in the Hautes-Côtes-de Beaune, including the very promising Clos Bortier (red). Caroline barrel ferments all her whites before ageing them for up to 18 months in oak casks. These wines truly reflect their terroirs and combine intensity and richness with elegance and balance.
The domaine now covers 1 Grand Cru, Batard Montrachet, 9 white and 2 red Chassagne Montrachet Premier Crus, and Santenay Clos Tavannes 1er Cru red. Village Chassagne is represented by Les Masures (white) and a consumer friendly red wine known as Cuvée L' Estimée – a play on her own name and the concept of being esteemed. Their Hautes-Côtes de Beaune red and white are bottled under stelvin closures.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
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