This is one of three Santenay premiers crus that Justin makes, and in 2017 it was yet again our favourite. The cherry coloured wine has a fresh, bright attack of black and red berry fruits. There is some considerable structure beneath the juicy palate, with some ripe but firm tannins carrying the medium body of the wine. It has a grippy, salty finish.
The Girardin family have been establish vignerons in Burgundy for centuries. Justin Girardin has recently taken up the reins from father Jacques (brother of famous négociant Vincent Girardin) at the family’s 17 hectare domaine. Their holdings stretch from Santenay to Savigny lès Beaune, through Chassagne Montrachet and Pommard. The estate follows organic practices, although it is not certified. Justin is a modest young man with an endearingly quiet approach to wine – he gingerly crafts the wines in the vineyard, and makes minimal interventions in the cellar. As a result his range of Santenays are a fascinating portrait of one of the Côte D’Or’s lesser known villages, and well worth exploring. It is so exciting to discover a domaine following the transition from one generation to the next, when ambition and quality are on the up. Justin’s wines offer excellent value with no compromise in quality.
Santenay is a village and thermal resort in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy and is where the Côte d'Or begins in the south. 90% of wine from Santenay is red made from Pinot Noir and therest is white wine made from Chardonnay. The most noteworthy Premiers Crus are La Comme (on the border with Chassagne), Les Gravières (south of La Comme), Beauregard (to the west of Les Gravières) and Passetemps (to the south of Beauregard). The soils are varied with La Comme and Les Gravières, on the northern slope of Santenay, having a topsoil of gravel over marly-limestone. On the south side of Santenay, the soils are either brown limestone or deep in character, and the wines are more earthy. Red wines are generally well built and can be marked by a rustic and ‘terroir' quality. They are often tannic and hard in youth with earthy aromas and hints of violets,strawberries and almonds. Older wines tend to be characterised by chestnut and dried plum flavours and often have a smoky character. Premiers Crus have more noticeable floral notes. It is often said that Les Gravières has the greatest finesse, while La Comme is more robust. Santenay whites can have a youthful bouquet of hazelnuts and ferns. Within Les Gravières there is a plot producing white wine, including the very good Clos de Gravières. One of the best ambassadors for the region is Vincent Girardin.