Barrel SampleRange: 90-93 Points"
Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru Les Chenevottes 2009
Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
This cuvee is from the northernmost holdings of the domaine in Chassagne as it fronts onto the border with Saint Aubin and Puligny. It is here that Pillot reveals the more elegant side of Chassagne. A small holding (0.29 hectares, vines planted in 1950) that yields a wine that is generous and silky with more citrus notes than the cuvées from the southern edge of Chassagne. A barrel, or 300 bottles, is allocated for our use in the USA.
Burghound.com - " Here too moderate reduction renders the nose difficult to read beyond observing that the underlying fruit is clearly quite ripe. There is however excellent richness, volume and palate weight to the opulent yet detailed medium-bodied flavors that brim with dry extract on the exceptionally long and complex finish. This is a very ripe wine yet there is nothing ponderous or cumbersome about it. Impressive.
International Wine Cellar - "Reticent aromas of grapefruit and peach, with a substantial load of cinnamon and caramel oak; less floral than the Vergers. Sweet on entry, then a bit disjointed and edgy in the middle palate and tricky to taste today. In a drier style than the Vergers, and not yet showing that wine's pliancy of texture. Plenty of acid here too."
Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Winery
Jean-Marc Pillot is the fourth generation of his branch of the Pillot family to tend vineyards in Chassagne Montrachet. He joined his father, Jean, in 1985 to learn the craft of “vigneron”. After six years of working side-by-side, Jean-Marc assumed the direction of the domaine in 1991 with the assistance of his wife, Nadine, and his sister, Beatrice. Of course, his father, Jean, remains by his side rendering advice and valuable assistance in the vineyards (often while he is tending the garden in back of the chai!). Jean-Marc has instituted several changes at the estate, the most prominent of which is the construction of a new cave. Of equal importance, Jean-Marc expanded the amount of vineyards under cultivation and has made subtle modifications in vinification and elevage to place his own “mark” on this estate which now covers approximately fifteen hectares with an annual production of, more or less, 60,000 bottles.
The domaine is dominated by its production of white wines but there are important cuvées of red wine produced here as well. Vineyard holdings are spread throughout the village of Chassagne with subsidiary parcels in Puligny, Santenay, Meursault and Remigny (to the south). This breadth of real estate enables the Pillot family to produce a stunning range of wines that put on brilliant display the intricacies of terroir in this southern tier of the Cote de Beaune. The estate's jewels are its premier crus blancs (Baudines, Chenevottes, Macherelles, Vergers, Morgeot, Caillerets, La Maltroie and Champs Gain) and premier cru rouges (Macherelles, Morgeot, Clos St.Jean), all within the boundaries of Chassagne Montrachet. However, one should not overlook several gems that come from less exalted appellations, such as the Bourgogne Blanc "Grands Champs", the Bourgogne Rouge "Grandes Terres", and the expressive Santenay Rouge "Champs Claude"; and, of course, there are the fine village wines in both white and red from Chassagne. Jean-Marc also accesses grapes in very limited quantities from interesting appellations like his Montagny 1er Cru "Les Gouresses" and Saint Romain Blanc “La Perriere”. View all Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot 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.