Despite what you might think, work trips to Burgundy are never an easy job. Of course I revel in tasting new wines, but fitting as many tastings into one week as possible takes some of the fun away. The packed schedule (4-5 visit per day, tasting at least 10 wines in each domain), while maintaining a clear mind to concentrate on each wine and how the styles reflect the performance of the domains is balancing act. Exhausting as it may be, it’s an incredible and unforgettable experience, tasting about 250 wines in a week!
Domaine Paul Pillot
Visiting a white wine producer who produces top rated Chassagne-Montrachet, will always be enjoyable, despite my personal admiration for the wines of Domaine Paul Pillot!
The handsome Thierry Pillot received us on a cold morning at his winery in Chassagne-Montrachet, where we were also greeted by his father Paul, who is still advises his son on the production of the wines. Paul was known for consistently making great wines in his time, however Thierry has been bringing the estate to new heights, with the use of oak further decreased to make vibrant, pure and clear whites. The range of tasting covered all premium cuvees of the estate including the 1er Crus La Romanee, Clos St Jean, Les Grandes Ruchottes, Les Caillerets, La Grande Montagne, and his Aligote.
Through his wines, Thierry excellently displayed the characteristics of each vineyard which is not easy at all with the 2016s, given that they are still very new. Despite La Romanee being the most well known, my personal favorite is Les Caillerets, which has so much personalities speaking through the limestone and white bouquet scents. That said, I don’t believe any of Pillot’s cuvees would disappoint.
Domaine Sirugue had been sitting quietly in the village of Vosne-Romanee for five generations, until one day it appeared in the famous Japanese comic, The Drops of God – bringing this domaine into the spotlight. In France, wine lovers have been following the estate since the 60s, for the great quality of their wines and interesting family background.
Marie-France led the tasting of her 2016s in Arnaud’s absence, her nephew who helps making the wines, and also transformed the process by introducing 100% destemming to give more vibrancy and elegance, as well as using more stainless steel tanks at the estate. They have adopted a more traditional style to wine making, and the result is very good, as evidenced from the entire range, from her Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Vosne Romanee village, Chambole Musigny village right up to Les Petits Monts! We didn’t try her Grands Echezeaux this time considering the painfully low production (only 2 barrels i.e. 600 bottles produced) but I have no doubt that it will be as amazing as it has always been.
Marie-France finished the tasting by driving us to her plot of Les Petits Monts , just above the Romanee Conti, where we had the advantage of a breathtaking view over the whole commune of Vosne Romanee village. For anyone thinking of touring the Burgundy vineyards, this spot is definitely on your must-go check list!
– Jessica Chan