Domaine Blain-Gagnard Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2016
It’s easy to assume that Criots would have the same richness and weight as Bâtard, its next-door neighbor. In fact, Criots is the most delicate of the five Grand Crus in the vicinity. The wines are more about perfume and delicacy with fine structure and intense minerality, and is from vines planted between 1929 and 1979. White Burgundy, with its rich texture and toasted flavors, pairs well with white fish and shellfish, and its naturally high acidity can counterbalance cream-based sauces. Oak-aging lends itself well to grilled fish, starches, butter, and toasted nuts.
Domaine Blain-Gagnard was formed in 1980 when Jean-Marc Blain (a Sancerrois) married Claudine Gagnard, youngest daughter of Jacques and Marie-Josèphe Gagnard of Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange. The couple runs this venerable domaine with the help of their son Marc-Antonin. Jean-Marc Blain and Claudine Gagnard met while they were both studying oenology at Dijon. The estate's vineyards come mainly from grandparents and other relatives of Claudine, along with a few purchases. The vines are planted in Chardonnay (55%) and the rest in pinot noir, with a small parcel of Passetoutgrain. They now control 20.5 acres of vines in Chassagne-Montrachet, including holdings in three grands crus: Le Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet, and Criots-Batard-Montrachet.
A source of some of the finest, juicy, silky and elegantly floral Chardonnay in the Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet lies just to the north of Chassagne-Montrachet, a village with which it shares two of its Grands Crus vineyards: Le Montrachet itself and Bâtard-Montrachet. Its other two, which it owns in their entirety, are Chevalier-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. And still, some of the finest white Burgundy wines come from the prized Premiers Crus vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet. To name a few, Les Pucelles, Le Clavoillon, Les Perrières, Les Referts and Les Combettes, as well as the rest, lie northeast and up slope from the Grands Crus.
Farther to the southeast are village level whites and the hamlet of Blagny where Pinot Noir grows best and has achieved Premier Cru status.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.