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2014 Santenay, Camille Giroud
There are two parts to the Camille Giroud story. The first begins in 1865 when the enterprising young Camille Giroud founded the small négociant firm which carries his name. He married late, as did his son, so by the end of the 20th century the company was still being run by the founder’s daughter-in-law and her two sons. The company’s motto in the later days was to make wine in as old-fashioned a way as possible: heavy extraction and very long barrel ageing. Part of the crop might be sold early on but most was kept back until it was ready to drink, which might be 30 or 40 years later. There were plenty of misses but also some extraordinarily fine wines. Almost all production was and still is red. Stocks of these old style wines still exist, with various 1976s still to be offered for sale.
In January 2002 the company was bought by an American consortium led by banker Joe Wender and winery owner Ann Colgin, and a new chapter began. The business is managed by winemaker/technical director David Croix (of the eponymous Domaine des Croix) with a major revamping of the winemaking facilities and especially replacement and renewal of the old barrels to make wines in a much purer, more modern style. The company also owns 1.20 hectares of vineyards, consisting of Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Beaune premier cru Cras and Beaune premier cru Avaux.
The quality of winemaking is now consistent and very much in the modern, quality-oriented genre, although the practice of very gentle oak treatment and little racking continues, so that each cuvée has a very individual character.
Camille Giroud has tiny vineyard holdings in Beaune; otherwise relying on contracts from as far afield as Marsannay and Maranges, with particular strengths in Corton and the Gevrey Chambertin vineyards. The current plan is to increase the range of white wine offerings.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
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 small spa town of Santenay, just over the departmental border into the Saone-et-Loire, produces full, rich, quite firm red wines which can offer good value for money. One or two vineyards have recently been planted for white wine.
- 254 hectares of village Santenay.
- 124 hectares of premier cru vineyards (10 in all). Best vineyards include Les Gravières, La Maladière, Clos de Tavannes
- Recommended Producers: Lucien Muzard
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