Domaine Blain-Gagnard Volnay Les Pitures Premier Cru 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 90-92
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.
On the hillsides between Pommard and Meursault, Volnay is one of two villages in the Côte de Beaune that is recognized for its extraordinary Pinot Noir. Pommard is the other; the rest of the villages are most known for some of the most exceptional Chardonnay in the world. While Volnay Pinot Noir tends to be light in color and more delicate than that of Pommard, they typically stand on par with each other in regards to quality and demand.
Volnay can’t claim any Grands Crus vineyards but more than half of it has achieved Premier Cru status. Volnay Premiers Crus vineyards stretch across the entire village from northeast to southwest, abutting and actually falling “into” Meursault. Where they merge is a vineyard called Les Santenots. Pinot Noir grows in this Meursault Premier Cru but since that village is most associated with stellar whites, the Pinot Noir from Les Santenots, takes the name Volnay Santenots. Immediately above it are Volnay’s other prized Premier Cru, Le Cailleret, Champans, Clos des Chênes and Le Cailleret.
Volnay Pinot Noir are earthy with red or blue fruit. Aromas such as smoke, herbs, forest, cocoa and spice are common and on the palate they are gorgeous and concentrated with finesse but won’t truly charm you without some age.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”