About this WINE
Domaine Vincent Girardin
The domaine originates in Santenay where Vincent’s father, Jean Girardin, divided up his estate between his four children when Vincent attained the age of 18 in 1982, providing 3 hectares for each of them. Vincent began to bottle his own wines, purchased some additional vineyards and rented others. In 1994, the year of his marriage, he began a negociant business under his own name and moved to Meursault as he could not expand his Santenay location. The negociant business has thrived, providing profits which have enabled Vincent to purchase further vineyards, including a proportion of the former Domaine Henri Clerc.
Today the domaine comprises 22 hectares, almost all in white wine appellations. The plan is to concentrate more on this side of the business with less emphasis on the negociant aspect. Together at the moment they constitute a 40,000 case winery situated in the industrial zone across the railway line, almost next door to the tonnellerie Damy which is one of their preferred barrel suppliers along with François Frères. The domaine has been fully biodynamic from 2008, undergoing certification from 2009.
The period of dramatic expansion and of making highly successful commercial wines to a formula is over. Now Vincent and Véronique Girardin, who together own the whole business outright, want to concentrate on focussing on the quality of the wines. For the whites, the grapes are picked earlier so as to retain natural acidity, there is less new oak, and richer lees: the grapes are now crushed before pressing, without excessive debourbage or lees stirring. The premiers and grands crus receive just 25% new wood and are racked into older wood during the summer.
His reds are of consistently high quality, with the emphasis being on purity of fruit and smooth, supple tannins. However, it is with whites that he really excels, producing a range of wines which are characterised by their depth of fruit and exquisite balance. These whites are extremely approachable when young but the top crus benefit from 4-5 years of bottle ageing.
The reds are made including stems where possible, if ripe and healthy enough, and minimal handling during cuvaison: no punching down at all. As with the whites there is little reliance on new wood.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Puligny was one of two villages (along with Chassagne) which gained permission in 1879 to hyphenate the name of its most famous vineyard, Montrachet, to its own.
The reputation of Puligny-Montrachet is based around its four Grands Crus. Montrachet labels often boast a noble, triumphant ‘Le’ in front of its name, lest you dare confuse it with any lesser wine. It has much to be proud of, with many considering Montrachet to be the greatest white wine in the world. At its best it has an intensity, complexity and elegance that make you wonder how such a wine could be made from mere grapes.
The luxurious and explosive Chevalier-Montrachet is not quite as deep, although it is probably the next best. Only marginally less impressive, and rather more consistent than Montrachet is the richly textured Bâtard-Montrachet (also shared with Chassagne). Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet is equally good, with the focus on honeyed finesse and exquisite balance rather than richness.
These legendary wines are supported by a host of fabulous Premier Cru vineyards capable of reaching Grand Cru quality. Brimming with flavour and intensity, Le Cailleret and Les Pucelles (which both lie across the road from Le Montrachet) are prime candidates, along with Les Demoiselles, Les Combettes and Folatières.
Sandwiched between the larger Chassagne and Meursault, Puligny produces wines that are more striking than any in the Côte d’Or, portraying a floral elegance alongside a stylish, steely concentration. They are very different to Meursault: more refined and delicate, and less rich.
Village level Puligny-Montrachet from top growers can be very good indeed, but is all too often unexciting and disappointing. Grands Crus normally need at least eight years before they can be broached, and last for 20 or more. Premiers Crus should generally be enjoyed between five and 15 years of age; village wines from three to 10 years.
In theory, you can find red Puligny-Montrachet, but it scarcely exists anymore, and is rarely worth the price tag.
- 114 hectares of village Puligny-Montrachet
- 100 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (17 in all). The best vineyards include Les Demoiselles, Le Cailleret, Les Pucelles, Les Combettes, Les Folatières
- 21 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Le Montrachet (part), Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet (part), Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet
- Recommended Producers: Leflaive, Carillon
- Recommended Restaurant: Le Montrachet (excellent cuisine and good wine list; also an hotel)
Chardonnay is often seen as the king 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.