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2013 Côte de Nuits Villages, Aux Montagnes, Sylvain Loichet
The Loichets come from Comblanchien (southern end of Cote de Nuits), as well known for its marble quarrying industry as for its vines. Indeed the previous two generations of Loichets have been stone masons rather than vignerons but they kept ownership of their vineyards (Cote de Nuits Villages, Clos de Vougeot and Ladoix blanc) which the talented Sylvain (early 20s) has taken back.
Since he does not own enough vines to make a really decent living, he has added some well chosen negociant cuvees (mostly white) which are equally impressive. The white wines are made with a great sense of precision and are full of energy. The reds are vigorous, full of fruit and look set to age very well.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
The wine appellation of Côte de Nuit Villages in Burgundy includes wines from a small number of villages, mostly in the extreme north and south of the Côte de Nuits: Fixin and Brochon in the north, Comblanchien, Corgoloin and Prissey to the south. The wines are usually red and are often good value.
Côte de Nuits Villages lies above the basic AOC Bourgogne in the hierarchy of local appellations. Hautes-Côtes de Nuits is also mostly red and is produced in the hinterland to the south-west of Nuits-St Georges.
Recommended producers: Sylvain Loichet, Patrice et Michele Rion
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