(Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com, January 2011)
About this WINE
Domaine Sylvain Cathiard
Sylvain Cathiard’s grandfather, a foundling from Savoie, came to Burgundy and found work with Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC) and Lamarche, subsequently buying a few parcels of vineyards for himself. His son André Cathiard began to bottle some of the crop.
In due course Sylvain began work with his father but then separated to start his own small domaine, until on his father’s retirement in 1995, Sylvain could take back the family vineyards on a renting agreement. He has now been joined by his son Sébastien, and a spacious new cellar is currently under construction.
The Cathiards have 5.5 hectares of vineyards in Vosne-Romanée, Nuits-St-Georges and Chambolle-Musigny, including tiny holdings in Clos de Vougeot and Romanée-St-Vivant. A recent addition (from 2006) to the range is the Nuits-St-Georges Aux Thorey.
This is not a complicated domaine: the vines are looked after meticulously with the fruit being sorted on a table de tri and destalked. After fermentation the wines go into barrel, with 50 per cent new oak for the village wines and 100 per cent for premier cru and above. Most of the barrels come from one cooper, Rémond, albeit with the wood sourced from different forests. The wines in their youth have an exceptional energy and purity of fruit.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Chambolle produces the most elegant wines in the Côte de Nuits, having more active chalk and less clay in the soil than the other villages. The wines may be a little lighter in colour and less tannic than Gevrey-Chambertin but they have a sublime concentration of fruit. Village Chambolle-Musigny usually provides excellent value.
Le Musigny is one of the top half-dozen vineyards in Burgundy, producing wines of extraordinary intensity and yet with a magical velvety character. Les Amoureuses is immediately appealing, a wonderfully sensual wine which deserves Grand Cru status. Bonnes Mares tends to have a firmer structure and ages very well
- 94 hectares of village Chambolle-Musigny.
- 61 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (24 in all). The finest vineyards include Les Amoureuses, Les Charmes, Les Fuées, Les Baudes and Sentiers.
- 24 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard - Bonnes Mares and Le Musigny.
- Recommended producers: de Vogüé, Mugnier, Roumier, Barthod.
- Recommended restaurant: Le Chambolle
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.