Vincent Girardin Corton Perrieres Grand Cru 2017
The history of Maison Vincent Girardin is relatively recent. In 1980, at the age of 19, Vincent Girardin, the son of a family of winegrowers based in Santenay since the 17th century, decided to strike out on his own and began producing wine from five acres of vines that he had inherited from his parents. From his earliest youth, Vincent had a passion for working with vines and great respect for the potential that they represent, and his ambition was to produce his own wine. The quality of his wines was quickly recognized by connoisseurs all over the world, and this enabled him to expand his activity, focusing primarily on the great white and red wines of the Côte de Beaune. To cope with the growing demand for his wines, he developed an approach that was new in Burgundy: he purchased grapes from producers who shared the same philosophy and the same high standards. In 2012, Vincent Girardin sold his operation to a long-standing partner of the Maison. Jean-Pierre Nié, President of the Compagnie des Vins d’Autrefois in Beaune, naturally decided to continue with the small team of nine people that had been faithful to the Maison for many years. Today, Eric Germain continues to uphold the style of the wines, and Marco Caschera markets them all over the world.
Prevailing over the charming village of Aloxe, the hill of Corton actually commands the entire appellation. Corton is the only Grand Cru for Pinot Noir in the entire Côte de Beaune. Its Grand Crus red wines can be described simply as “Corton” or Corton hyphenated with other names. These vineyards cover the southeast face of the hill of Corton where soils are rich in red chalk, clay and marl.
Dense and austere when young, the best Corton Pinot Noir will peak in complexity and flavor after about a decade, offering some of the best rewards in cellaring among Côte de Beaune reds. Pommard and Volnay offer similar potential.
The great whites of the village are made within Corton-Charlemagne, a cooler, narrow band of vineyards at the top of the hill that descends west towards the village of Pernand-Vergelesses. Here the thin and white stony soils produce Chardonnay of exceptional character, power and finesse. A minimum of five years in bottle is suggested but some can be amazing long after. Fully half of Aloxe-Corton is considered Grand Cru.
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.”