2017 Bourgogne Rouge, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Burgundy
About this WINE
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod
Ghislaine Barthod’s domaine originated in the 1920s with Marcel Noëllat, whose daughter married Gaston Barthod – a soldier stationed in Dijon who came to buy some wine and got the girl as well. He gave up military life for the vineyards in ’60.
His daughter, Ghislaine, and her partner, Louis Boillot, bought their current premises overlooking Premier Cru Les Feusselottes in ’86. Though they share the team who work the vineyards, the vinification and commercial aspects of their businesses are kept separate.
The domaine has an incomparable range of Chambolle-Musigny terroirs, with 11 separate Premier Cru bottlings and highly regarded Bourgogne and village wines.
Bourgogne Rouge is the term used to apply to red wines from Burgundy that fall under the generic Bourgogne AOC, which can be produced by over 350 individual villages across the region. As with Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Rosé, this is a very general appellation and thus is hard to pinpoint any specific characteristics of the wine as a whole, due to the huge variety of wines produced.
Around 4,600 acres of land across Burgundy are used to produce Bourgogne Rouge, which is around twice as much as is dedicated towards the production of generic whites.
Pinot Noir is the primary grape used in Bourgogne Rouge production, although Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and in Yonne, César grapes are all also permitted to make up the rest of the wine. These wines tend to be focused and acidic, with the fruit less cloying than in some New World wines also made from Pinot Noir, and they develop more floral notes as they age.
Although an entry-level wine, some Bourgogne Rouges can be exquisite depending on the area and producer, and yet at a very affordable price.
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.
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This is a lovely, easy supple style marked, as always, by wafts of passing summer floral scents. The accent this year is definitely on the aromatics; the palate is front-loaded and the finish pretty but a bit ephemeral. Charming and instant. Drink 2019-2023.
Ghislaine Barthod’s domaine originated in the 1920s with Marcel Noëllat whose daughter married Gaston Barthod, a soldier stationed in Dijon who came to buy some wine and got the girl as well. He gave up military life for the vineyards in 1960. His daughter, Ghislaine, and her partner Louis Boillot bought their current premises overlooking Premier Cru Les Feusselottes in 1986. Though they share the team who work the vineyards, the vinification and commercial aspects of their businesses are kept completely separate. The domaine has an incomparable range of ChambolleMusigny terroirs, with eight separate Premier Cru bottlings.
Given the carnage here last year, one could have been concerned that yields might have been high, but these worries were needless. Although there was a certain amount of green harvesting on the younger vines, the old vines (of which there are lots here), if properly pruned and with excess buds eliminated, regulated themselves to reasonable yields well below 50hl/ha. The harvest started on 3rd September and was completed in eight days, with everything beautifully healthy. For Ghislaine, 2016 was about energy; 2017 is about purity.
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