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.
Bourgogne is of course the original French name of the region that we know as Burgundy, and here the term is used to describe the Bourgogne Appellation, a wide-reaching classification that covers the generic wines produced across the length and breadth of Burgundy that are not represented under area-specific AOCs.
Wines produced under the AOC Bourgogne make up around 53% of Burgundy’s output, across the fields of red, white and rosé. Among these there are several other smaller classifications, some simple such as Bourgogne Rouge (generic red Burgundy), others more specific or unusual, such as Bourgogne Passetoutgrains.
Most of these wines represent quite a standard level of quality due to their generic nature, but as with all wine, a combination of the right conditions and careful management by the producer can result in some generic wines surpassing the standards of a poorly-organised Grand Cru.
These wines tend to be simpler offerings; best enjoyed within 3 or so years, and are very reasonably priced compared to their higher-end counterparts. There is a huge variety of wines available: approximately 24 million bottles are produced in over 380 villages across Burgundy each year, and subsequently the range of wine styles is vast, however the usual Burgundy rules apply of reds being comprised of Pinot Noir, and whites from Chardonnay.
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.