Jean Noel Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Masures 2019 - 12 Bottles Case

Jean Noel Gagnard

2019
Chassagne-Montrachet

Since Jean-Noel Gagnard retired in the 1990s the domaine has been run by his daughter Caroline Lestimée. Caroline has been true to the traditions of Chassagne, employing long 18-20 month aging for the white wines, mostly in neutral oak, and only the lightest filtrations. She works some superb vineyards and has been rigorous in introducing organic practises, achieving organic certification in 2014. These are recognised as some of the finest Chassagnes in the market.

There were two bouts of frost in Chassagne in April, which, along with poor flowering and summer drought, have meant yields are 50% down – 25 hl/ha on average – making this one of the smallest crops the domaine has ever made. Harvest began on the 5th September.
Whether it is the rigorous organic viticulture, earlier picking or slightly earlier bottling, or a combination of factors – Caroline certainly seems to be conjuring up more and more quality from her hallowed vineyards. These are characterful, unique and traditional as ever but the last few vintages have perhaps demonstrated an even greater sense of precision and freshness in the wines than before.

Caroline considers her single cru Les Masures, situated just under Champs Gains, to be the best of the Chassagne village vineyards. Expressive ripe fruited and full of rich roasted nut character. The fruit profile is one of ripe nectarines and greengages, fused into a melting buttery texture and sweet notes of acacia, offset by a squeeze of lime. Sunny fresh and voluptuous, this is a classic, full Chassagne bursting at the seams with character

Region
Variety
Chardonnay
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£560.12
Burgundy

Burgundy

The Burgundy wine region in central-eastern France, near the city of Dijon, is built on centuries of winemaking tradition, with close historical links to the monasteries. Burgundy’s patchwork quilt of vineyards and associated terroirs – or ‘climats‘ – gained UNESCO world heritage status in July 2015.

Burgundy wines come from several distinct sub-regions, each with its own particular character. Four of these are located at the heart of Burgundy, in a narrow strip running for 75 miles (120km) between the towns of Dijon and Macon. From north to south they are the Cote d'Or (comprising the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune), the Cote Chalonnaise and the Maconnais.

Chablis, situated in an isolated pocket of limestone hills in north-western Burgundy, produces white wines so distinct in style from those of central Burgundy that it is often treated as a region in its own right.

The two key grape varieties of Burgundy are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both members of the extended 'Pinot' family of grape varieties. Their 'poor cousins' Gamay and Aligote are also grown throughout the region, producing more rustic styles of wine. Gamay is used in the red and rosé wines of Macon, while Aligote has its own appellation in the form of Bourgogne Aligote. In the late 14th century, the first Duke of Burgundy outlawed Gamay, dismissing it as unfit for consumption. It was still permitted within the Rhone administrative region, however, where it found a new home in Beaujolais.

The Burgundian climate is predominantly continental, with relatively short summers and cool winters, making it a challenge for the grapes to ripen fully. The greatest threats for Burgundy’s grape-growers – especially those in Chablis – are spring frosts and hail, which can cause great damage to flowering vines. The landscape here is characterized by its limestone soils, manifested either in rolling hills, steep, sharp valleys or rocky outcrops. These soils are of immense importance to the character of Burgundy’s wines, bringing a quintessential minerality and complexity – particularly to the white wines. In fact, along with considerations of orientation, it is the precise soil make-up of the best Burgundy vineyards that brings them the honor of Premier Cru or Grand Cru status

France

France – the home of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire and Champagne – is arguably the world's most important wine-producing country. For centuries, it has produced wine in greater quantity – and of reportedly greater quality – than any other nation. Wine is ingrained in French culture at almost every level of society; it is the drink of both the elite and the common people, and a key symbol in Roman Catholicism, France's majority religion.

The diversity of French wine is due, in part, to the country's wide range of climates. Champagne, its most northerly region, has one of the coolest climates anywhere in the wine-growing world – in stark contrast to the warm, dry Rhone Valley 350 miles (560km) away in the southeast. Bordeaux, in the southwest, has a maritime climate heavily influenced by the Atlantic ocean to its west and the various rivers that wind their way between its vineyards. Far from any oceanic influence, eastern regions such as Burgundy and Alsace have a continental climate, with warm, dry summers and cold winters. In France's deep south, Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon enjoy a definitively Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot summers and relatively mild winters.

France's appellation system was created in the early 20th century and has since been imitated in many other countries. This complex system of laws ultimately defines each wine region and its boundaries and imposes strict rules around winemaking practices. Protecting the names of French wines and guaranteeing the quality and provenance of the products themselves are its key objectives. No other country has developed its appellation system to such an extent; as of 2012, there were more than 450 controlled appellations under the AOC titles and a further 150 Vin de Pays/IGP titles.