Jasper Morris, Inside Burgundy (January 2023)
About this WINE
Jean-Claude Bachelet is considered one of the most conscientious wine producers in St Aubin. The wines are exceptionally well balanced, with understated character and good medium-term ageing potential.
Benoît and Jean-Baptiste Bachelet now head up the estate, having taken over from their father Jean-Claude (who died in 2020). Jean-Claude previously sold much of the estate’s crop to négociants, but nowadays they bottle almost all their wines.
Benoît and Jean-Baptiste have now moved to superb new cellars in the hamlet of Gamay, next to St Aubin.
In the vineyard
The brothers have been experimenting with biodynamic viticulture in the vineyard and have plans to extend this across their holdings in St Aubin, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet.
In the winery
The basic principle of a long, slow barrel-ageing for almost two years remains in force, while the state-of-the-art winery has improved consistency.
Though tucked away in a side valley behind the two ‘Montrachet’ villages, Saint-Aubin is a great source of fine, steely white Burgundy and some attractively fruity reds. Production used to be about 50:50 between the two colours, but the whites have become the more sought-after and now represent two-thirds of the crop. There is a significant difference however between the best Premiers Crus – such as En Remilly – and the vineyards tucked away further up the valley.
- 80 hectares of village Saint-Aubin
- 156 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (15 in all). The finest include En Remilly, Murgers des Dents de Chien, La Chatenière, Les Frionnes
- Recommended producer: Hubert Lamy
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.