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So good they named it twice (Cote de Beaune, France – Day Two)

The famous village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wasn’t always named as such, it was renamed from just Chateauneuf after the Papal regime had all of their best vineyards here back in the 15th century. The association with this important period in history was strong enough to change the name of the village, thereby highlighting the importance of viticulture, and today it is the largest single appelation in France. This isn’t the only village in France that has changed its name to signify the importance of viticulture, some of the most famous are in Burgundy. Within the Cote d’Or, villages that neighboured the best grand cru vineyards began to take the name of the vineyard to lift their profile. Gevrey became Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle became Chambolle-Musigny, Vosne became Vosne-Romanee and Aloxe became Aloxe Corton. Arguably the most famous white wines in the world come from the Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards which are between the villages of Puligny and Chassagne, and thus they both took the name of the vineyard and became Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet respectively. In a way this is like a seal of approval or a sponsorship, but in the same way that a sponsorship from Pepsi doesn’t guarantee that The Spice Girls are good, just because the fruit comes from a classified vineyard it doesn’t mean it will be the same style or the same quality. This is one of the problems with the appelation classification system, is that it is merely for a place and not for the human influence, and two wines from the same vineyard but a different producer can be very different. As I always say, trust the producer first and the rest will follow.

Barrels and bottles

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Domaine Blain-Gagnard – 11/12/2012

Chassagne-Montrachet 2011
Bright crisp fresh citrus, quite flinty mineralic and zingy, some burnt toast. Dense and compact, good level of ripeness adding some weight and structure, not too tense or aggressive, supportive acids. Approachable but with lots of character.

Clos St Jean Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
Quite aromatic but not too exuberant, friendly but elegant and fine, nice minerality, fresh and forward. Quite light and fresh, very precise and direct, a little but more density and structure, more length as well. Complex but tight for now, needs another year in the bottle. Balanced with good personality.

Boudriotte Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
Denser darker mineralic quality, black limestone granite, less fruit and less floral. Extremely tight and closed, much longer and more complex on the palate, heavy mineral qualities, density and structure, compact but still very elegant and well balanced.

Morgeot Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
More aromatic, richer and denser nose, floral ripe stone fruit characters, very intense and flinty. Deeper and richer, very round and certainly a much more contemplative wine. Opulent and rich without being fat and heavy, some creamy texture but still retaining freshness acidity and minerality on the palate.

Caillerets Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011
Intense flinty seashell citrus floral notes, bright and fresh yet concentrated and full. Soft and generous, forgiving but firm, quite dense in structure, round and rich but focused, great purity and longevity, Approachable but deserving of cellaring, sits in the perfect spot, wonderfully balanced.

Criots Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2011
Quite complex and intense, very deep and brooding, still quite charming with floral and nice ripe stone fruit characters, but showing very assured minerality. Astonishingly subtle, deep complexity, exceptional length, expressive but elegant, some freshness but much more serious, and more deserving of cellaring.

Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2011
Not as expressive and open, certainly not in a floral vein, brooding and complex, quite stoic in fact. Just a hint of salty caramel and some green elements. More subtle and complex but without the same structure, less intensity of minerals, fresh but very quiet and lacking a little character. All on the mid- and back-palate.

Le Montrachet Grand Cru 2011
Very seductive but also very mysterious, lots going on all in harmony so nothing really stands out, there are some interesting lanolin characters though. Intense balanced broad yet focused, the best length of all. Really not expressing much at all, extremely mysterious and slightly confusing wine. Amazing though, needs time.

2011 Chassagne Montrachet
Lovely bright red fruits some spice and a little earthy. Wonderful purity and minerality, freshness and acidity but all about the red fruits, soft fresh tannins.

2011 Clos St Jean Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru
Bright fresh red fruits on the nose but also a little smoky and stalky, on the brown characters, Soft round opulent and silky tannins.

2011 Morgeot Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru
Slightly darker in colour but still very light and pure. A little more savoury and ripe vegetal characters. Fresh but more intense and rustic, density and better for aging, more masculine and robust. Expressive but the tannins are pretty strong now, the fruit isn’t expressing very much.

2011 Pitures Volnay Premier Cru
Bright fresh and intense, red fruits with a little but of blood orange as well. Dense and a little tannic, perhaps needs a little more ripeness in the fruit, certainly more time in bottle. On the rustic side, certainly long.

2011 Champaux Volnay Premier Cru
Much darker fruits; blackcurrant black berry blueberry, black olives on the nose as well. Better structure fuller and rounder, soft but firm tannins, much better balance and expression.

2011 Pommard
Nice fresh bright clean expression of the dark fruits and earthy masculinity rusticity of the appelation. Nice and soft and generous which has a lot to do with the vintage.

Domaine Blain-Gagnard

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