Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay Chassagne-Montrachet Les Blanchots Dessous 2011
Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
Les Blanchots Dessous is located just south and adjacent to the Grand Cru Criots Batard Montrachet and shares many of its qualities. Limestone rocks sit atop a clay soil and limestone bedrock providing superb drainage yet rich complex nutrients.
Les Blanchots Dessous possesses a rich and intense depth, with apple, pear, and honey mingling with herbal scents and a focused minerality. Long and powerful, it ages gracefully for 7 to 10 years, developing secondary aromas of earth & truffles.
Wine Spectator - "Creamy and toasty, offering lime, peach and apple notes tinged by citrus and spice details. Offers a concentrated, almost viscous texture, yet remains balanced and lively, with fine intensity and a long finish that echoes the spice nuances. "
Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay Winery
The intimate Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay is located in the illustrious village of Chassagne, in the southern Cote de Beaune. The estate is owned by Phillippe Duvernay and his partner Laura Coffinet (together, above left) who set out on their winemaking venture with just seven vineyards, including the Grand Cru Batard-Montrachet. Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay encompasses seven hectares across the appellation in total, four of which are dedicated to its outstanding white wines, in particular Chassagne, and three to red.
While the pair share in the management of this specialist boutique winery, Phillippe oversees the vineyards, where yields are strictly controlled, and cellars. He has adopted a traditional Burgundian approach to vinification, with pneumatic pressing of the grapes, followed by an overnight natural settling of the lees in tank. Following this debourbage, the wine descends by gravity for its fermentation in barrique. Philippe, uses only 25-30% new oak barrels for aging, which lasts for 12 to 15 months depending on the quality of the vintage. The exception is with the Domaine’s Batard Montrachet Grand Cru, which uses up to 50% new barrels, depending on its concentration.
All in all, intense concentration of aromas and flavors are the prevalent characteristics of the estate’s beautiful wines, which are capable of aging for decades. Their Chassagne Villages wine is made entirely from the vineyard climat of Les Blanchots Dessous, which lies just south of Criots Batard Montrachet. They also present a remarkable collection of Chassagne Premiers Crus vineyard sites, including Fairendes (the upper, northern portion of Morgeot), Caillerets and Maltroie. Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay is fortunate to own parcels of the two Premiers Crus sites that abut the great Grand Cru Montrachet itself, Dent de Chien and Les Blanchots Dessus, which Philippe affectionately refers to as "Pied de Montrachet." View all Domaine Coffinet-Duvernay Wines
Burgundy is a small region, only about a fourth the size of Bordeaux. The narrow thread of vineyard land stretches from the city of Dijon to Lyon. The five main districts of Burgundy are – from North to South - Chablis, Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Maconnais, and Beaujolais. Chablis is far removed geographically (above Dijon) and adheres to its own classifications. Beaujolais is its own region due to grape variety, vinification methods and regulations. Leaving us with the Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais as the heart of Burgundy.
Grapes of the region are easy to remember - Pinot Noir for reds, Chardonnay for whites. Burgundy can be called home for both varietals, despite their increasing presence in every winemaking country. In this area red wines out number whites, although the quality for both is unparalleled.
A bit of History...Once owned and run by the church and nobility, the vineyards of Burgundy were seized during French Revolution and sold off piece by piece. Further separation occurred with Napoleonic Law, which ordered that inherited land be divided among children equally. These two factors put Burgundy where it is today – a myriad of vineyards and villages, each with a number of growers and producers.
NégociantsBurgundy is organized by plots of land and labeled as such. About half of Burgundy works on a négociant system. Growers of small plots sell grapes, or more often, barrels of already made wine, to négociant houses who then blend it with other wines from that region and put it under their label. While the négociant system may sound like a way to produce mass amounts of anonymous wines, that is, luckily, not the case. Wines are labeled with a sense of place, so you know what land you are getting. There are some négociant houses that are much more renowned and consistent than others, and for the most part, the system works. But times are changing. Some growers are purchasing more land and making the wine on their property, under their label, for more consistency. On the other side, négociant houses are buying up their own vineyards so they will have more control over winemaking.
Classification SystemThe classification system is similar to a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is the most basic of the classifications, the Burgundy AC, meaning grapes can come from anywhere in the Burgundy region. Next up is a village wine, such as Côte de Beaune or Côte de Nuits, or the villages within these regions, like Givery-Chambertin or Puligny-Montrachet. The label will say Appellation Puligny-Montrachet Controlée. At the next level is the premier cru. A wine that says Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru will still be Appellation Puligny-Montrachet [premier cru] Controllée, but may include the premier cru vineyard name, such as Les Pucelles. At the tip of the pyramid are the grand cru vineyards. There are only 30 in the Côte d'Or and the name of the vineyard is the appellation name.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.