Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy (January 2022)
About this WINE
Claire Naudin, one of Henri Naudin-Ferrand’s three daughters, has been in charge of this small domaine based in the Hautes Côtes at Magny-les-Villers, a village that sits astride the dividing line between Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits, since 1994.
Claire is relatively susceptible to sulphur and uses the product as little as possible. Though some of the wines are made in an ‘orthodox fashion, the most exciting wines are those which are vinified with whole bunches (all the stems) and without sulphur, though some SO2 is added at bottling to ensure that the wines remain stable thereafter.
Claire’s theory, which her wines bear out admirably, is that there is none of the harshness sometimes evident when the bunches are vinified with their stems if sulphur is not used. Instead a magical floral perfume emanates from the wine.
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.