Jean-Marc Vincent Santenay Les Gravieres Premier Cru Blanc 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Aromas of orange rind, crisp green apples, clear honey and wheat toast introduce the superb 2017 Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières, a medium to full-bodied wine with a satiny and enveloping attack that segues into a taut, incisive mid-palate, revealing excellent depth and concentration and a long, saline finish. Though it's a little shut down after its recent bottling, its potential is impossible to miss. Given the age-worthiness of Vincent's wines, I'd encourage readers to exercise restraint for at least a couple of years before pulling corks.
Anne-Marie and Jean-Marc Vincent inherited most of their vines, principally located in and around the village of Santenay in the southern Côte de Beaune, from Jean-Marc’s grandfather, André Bardollet-Bravard. They produce three premier cru reds and two premier cru whites from Santenay, in addition to a red and a white Auxey-Duresses. The Vincents’ wine operation is a family affair and A-M and J-M split their time between the vineyards, cellars and their young children. All of their wines are a testament to the importance of vigneron talent in a given appellation. While a great vigneroncan make over-achievers from any appellation, a great appellation will never be great in the hands of mediocrity.
In the far southern end of the Côte de Beaune, Santenay forms a little notch that juts into the otherwise straight border with Côte Chalonnaise.
Santenay red wines show the true essence of red Burgundy at good price points and without demanding a lot of cellar time. Enticing aromas of rose-petal, violet, red fruits and licorice lead to sturdiness on the palate. With soils rich in oolitic limestone and marl, this is the home of well-constructed, hearty Pinot noir and represents a fantastic region to explore if you are just beginning your understanding of red Burgundy.
Reputable vineyards of Santenay include La Maladière, as well as the Premier Crus of La Comme, Clos de Tavannes, and Les Gravières.
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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.