2021 Pernand-Vergelesses, Les Fichots, 1er Cru, Domaine Follin-Arbelet, Burgundy
Jasper Morris, Inside Burgundy (January 2023)
About this WINE
Franck’s ancestors owned vineyards in Aloxe-Corton, which they sold off towards the end of the 19th century.
As a child, he spent holidays in the village, working part-time in the vineyards and, in due course, marrying a local girl, Christine. Her family had some vines – enough for Franck to set up as a vigneron in 1993, subsequently adding further vines through rental agreements. In 2017, Franck was joined at the domaine by his son, Simon.
In the vineyard
Franck favours the most simple and natural form of farming possible. The grapes are entirely destemmed, vinified in wooden vats for about two weeks. The wines are aged for 18 months in barrel, initially with 20 to 25 per cent new wood before racking into older casks after 12 months.
Pernand-Vergelesses is a beautiful, small village tucked away behind the hill of Corton. Coming from Beaune, you have the Vergelesses and excellent Ile des Vergelesses vineyards on your left, facing due east, and the Corton-Charlemagne vineyards on the right, facing south-west. The red wines of Pernand (60 percent of production), excepting the two Vergelesses vineyards, can be on the austere side while the whites are racy and mineral.
Pernand-Vergelesses is an excellent source for fine Burgundy at a relatively affordable price. Jadot have registered their own name, Le Clos de la Croix de Pierre (The Stone Cross), in a vineyard which is shown on the maps as En Caradeux, facing the mighty hill of Corton. The lower part of the slope is an excellent site for Pinot Noir, while whites are grown on lighter soils higher up.
- 138 hectares of village Pernand-Vergelesses and 57 hectares of Premier Cru
- Recommended producers: Chandon de Briailles, Sylvain Loichet, Louis Jadot
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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From 0.70 ha, planted in the 1970s. The vineyard is towards the foot of the slope, on brown, iron-rich soil and is also shaded slightly by the hill of Corton for some of the day. Everything is destalked and aged all in barrique but there is no new wood. This is pretty, bright and smooth, with an appealing crunchiness but not a hint of sharpness. Drink 2024-2030
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