France – Burgundy, Chassagne Montrachet
Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is one of the newest and most important producers in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet. The style of the wines at Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is intense, racy, deep and complex. They start out life classically balanced and accessible, but always with expressions of terroir and the underlying structure to age gracefully. The wines are always focused and detailed, and are generally aged in about a third new oak for the Premier Crus and a little more for the Grand Crus.
Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Bourgogne 2015
“Good producer here. About 90% Volnay commune fruit. Brought to life in only used oak.Smoke, dark cherry, sniff of maraschino. Plummy notes, whiff of clove. Lots going on in a pretty, rich-feeling bouquet. Juicy in the palate, a touch sweet but with judicious clove-spice-pepper influence. The wine has good length, a web of dusty tannins, and finishes with a little pleasing stemmy-twigginess. Hard not to like this. Does what the label says.” – 91 Points Mike Bennie, WineFront.com.au
This is from a .21ha parcel within Chassagne-Montrachet, planted in 1980. It is pale and fresh showing hints of lemon zest and spice, balanced ‘nervous’ acidity and nice texture and body. It is matured in three year-old oak and is made in the same way (with the same yields) as the Villages and Premiers Crus whites.
Produced from a blend of six different parcels of vines, this is a powerful, ripe Chassagne with stone fruit character on the nose and balanced richness on the palate.
1ER CRU ‘VERGERS’ GRAND CRU CRIOTS BATARD MONTRACHET
A .33 ha plot in this small Grand Cru at the southern end of Bâtard and below Montrachet. This can be softer than Bâtard, but is usually a little more elegant, minerally and re- ned, although it has great weight and power!
GRAND CRU BATARD MONTRACHET
From a .30 ha parcel. There is no doubting the concentration, weight and power in this wine, yet it is a little more restrained than the Criots in its youth. Richard describes this as “more masculine and harder to taste when it’s young, whereas the Cri- ots is more feminine, a little softer.” Grand Cru Le Montrachet from a .08 ha parcel of 50 y.o. vines, this is the jewel in the crown with supreme concentration and ne elegance. Fon- taine’s Montrachet is often described as “an iron st in a velvet glove.”
Grown in the commune of Volnay, this delightful Bourgogne has won many fans over the last few vintages. Raised in older, neutral oak, there is an expressive nose of rasp- berry and cherry aromas leading to fresh, racy and delicious medium-weight avours with the raspberry notes on the palate being surprisingly pure. It’s a vibrant, almost precocious young Burgundy that offers tremendous value for money.
VOLNAY 1ER ‘CLOS DES CHÊNES’
From a .37ha plot mostly planted in 1940 with a small amount planted in 1960. This is a vivid, clean and perfumed red, yet “quite powerful for a Volnay” says Richard Fontaine. It has ‘woodsy’ aromas and ripe liqueurous characteristics like dried vine cuttings steeped in cherry brandy, slightly more concen- trated that the very elegant expressions we normally expect from Volnay. This site is in the centre of what is regarded by many to be one of the best Volnay 1ers.
POMMARD 1ER ‘RUGIENS’
This is from a .21ha plot planted in 1982, in the most sought after Pommard 1er Cru. This is riper, rmer, and slightly more rustic in structure than the Clos des Chênes, but still pristine and pure in aroma. There are deep avours of cherries and plums, with lighter delicate notes of red currants and spices. Les Vergers is across the road – indeed only a stone’s throw – from the Montrachet vineyard, and often shares the rich- ness and power of that most famous Grand Cru. It’s a well- sited, sloping vineyard and the Fontaine parcel is a .71 ha plot planted in 1972. It shows all the lemon and mineral expected, but an extra hint of mealy/doughy complexity.
1ER CRU ‘BOUDRIOTTE’
From .79 ha planted in 1945, 1981 and 1985. In simple terms there are more ‘bready’ avours and aromas in this wine, along with some fresh pineapple and a touch of honeysuckle. The wine is ‘pure Chassagne,’ long and lovely.
1ER CRU ‘CAILLERETS’
Considered by many as the jewel in the Chassagne Premier Cru crown; this small 1⁄2 ha parcel was planted in 1962. Like the grand cru red vineyard Bonnes-Mares, 35km north, the vineyard is made up of brown soil in one part and limestone in another – each giving unique characters to the resultant wines.
1ER CRU ‘LA ROMANÉE’
One of the steepest vineyards. This is a wine that vies for top spot in the Chassagne 1er Cru hierarchy. It can be a little rm and ungiving, in its youth it is a majestic tightly wound and complex wine.