There is something very special about the famous family domaine of Chandon de Briailles in the heart of Savigny lès Beaune. For me it epitomises everything that is exciting about great Burgundy. At a wonderful dinner last night hosted with Claude de Nicolay we tasted an exceptional range of their wines.
The cellars, which form part of a stunningly beautiful Louis XIV Chateau built in 1704 and surrounded by beautifully designed Le Notre gardens, have been under the ownership of the de Nicolay family since 1834. Today the estate is managed by the dynamic sister and brother team of Claude and Francois de Nicolay, the current generation, who continue the strong family values of great quality and appellational style.
The estate itself consists of 13.7 hectares just outside Beaune covering 15 different appellations (red and white) in Savigny lès Beaune, Pernand Vergelesses, Volnay and Corton. The house style is very much for making wines of great purity and refinement. To this end they follow as natural practices as possible both in the vineyard and winery and have been following biodynamic growing practices since 2008.
The 2012s released this January have a wonderful poise and balance and will give extraordinary pleasure from a very early age. The 2011s are a beautifully restrained style and suffered from following the two outstanding years of 2009 and 2010. The 2009s highlight the amazing weather conditions creating wines full of warmth and ripeness, whilst the 2010s are possibly the most classically Pinot and pure in style of any vintage in recent times.
Slightly older and approaching a peak of drinking but very different in style are the gentle 2007s and the deeply structured 2006s, the latter highlighting the great earthy intensity that the best wines from the villages of Corton, Pernand and Savigny can achieve.
Here are my tasting notes from the dinner:
Pernand Vergelesses Blanc 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses 2011
Lime green colour, this has lovely delicate peach fruit aromas, a very creamy attractive palate, with bright zesty freshness. Ideal for current drinking and over the next 2-3 years.
Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses 2010
Delicate spiced wild strawberry aromas with hints of pepper and spice. This is a wine of great refinement and purity with lovely fresh crunchy fruit tannins and a drive of minerality on the finish. Oodles of class.
Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru Ile des Vergelesses 2009
Deep dark currant fruit colour. This is full of rich, warmth and opulence with its strong black cherry flavours, with lots of sweetness. A full and warm wine with a long generous finish.
Corton Bressandes Grand Cru 2010
Delicate red cherry colour, with soft delicate red cherry fruit aromas. In the palate this has lovely soft raspberry fruit flavours, with fine lines of grainy tannins. A composed and pure wine with lovely subtle length.
Corton Bressandes Grand Cru 2009
Dense opaque colour, with strong aromas of dark currants and loganberries. A real mouthful of a wine focusing on the volume and richness that is very typically Bressandes. Structured tannins and a lovely sweet warm fruited finish highlighting the south easterly exposure of this fine vineyard.
Corton Blanc Grand Cru 2007
Golden yellow colour. A little reserved on the nose, but really opens out in the palate with its lovely nutty, grainy fruit flavours. A very layered and textured palate with a long weighty finish.
Savigny lès Beaune 1er Cru Aux Fourneaux 2005
This vineyard from the village of Savigny highlights the strength of the great 2005 vintage. Stunning rich wild forest fruit flavours, a broad and fleshy wine with balancing weighty ripe tannins, finishing with power, length and freshness.
Savigny lès Beaune 1er Cru Les Lavières 2006
Mature wild strawberry aroma’s, there is a touch of rusticity with its earthy wild fruit flavours. A wine with strong backbone and beginning to enter its peak of drinking.
Corton Bressandes Grand Cru 2006
Very perfumed floral aromas with hints of spiced cinnamon. A very composed style balancing its natural weight of fruit with an uplifting freshness and long pure classy finish.
Corton Clos-du-Roi Grand Cru 2000 (in magnum)
Mature brick red colour, this has sweet truffley flavours showing some fine maturity. A poised wine with real elegance and finesse. A real treat.