Vincent Girardin Santenay La Maladiere Premier Cru 1994
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.
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.
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.”