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Jane et Sylvain Raphanau (their estate is simply called "Jane et Sylvain") produce tiny quantities of lovely terroir-expressive wines on their four hectares in and around Gevrey, certified organic since 2003. They take great pride in the quality of their vineyard work and the purity of their wines, which are produced with minimal SO2, and which show an old-fashioned earthy character sadly lacking from most modern Burgundies. The first stop in our winter "tour de France" was their cosy kitchen where we tasted their 2017s - arriving this week are the Bourgogne Passetoutgrain and Bourgogne Rouge, both of which are particularly delicious in this vintage. The 2017 Passetoutgrain is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay, showing very perfumed aromas and ripe, lovely fruit on the palate - it's a sensational value in Burgundy that will pair beautifully, served cool, with with chicken and lighter meat dishes. Produced from 20 to 30 year-old Pinot Noir vines that have alway been organically farmed, the 2017 Bourgogne Rouge is an outstanding Pinot at a very modest price that will drink beautifully over the next five years - try it this spring and summer with grilled chicken, pork and lamb.
The estates 2016s arriving in this shipment are superb wines that will need more aging than the 2017s that will be released next year. The Côtes-de Nuits Villages, from the Lieu dit "Queue de Hareng," the Gevrey-Chambertin, mostly from old vines in "En Pallud" (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux) and the Gevrey 1er Cru "Fonteny" (their parcel directly abuts Ruchottes) are all great choices for cellaring and offer excellent value. This low-yielding vintage, with small berries, gave dense, well-structured wines that are elegant and long - please give them five to ten years in the cellar if possible!
A few days later we arrived in the Beaujolais and were able to retaste the remaining inventory at Domaine Pignard with Roland and Joëlle. The Pignards have retired and are happy to have found a capable young vigneronne to take over, working the vines with the same Biodynamic methods. We'll be taking their remaining inventory over the next few years - in the shipment arriving this week, we are happy to offer more of their lovely 2014 Regnié - it's still a young wine, subtle and very pretty, that will be opening nicely over the next three to five years. 2016 was a pariculary great vintage chez Pignard, with the wines showing beautful dense fruit, firm acidities and fabulous terroir expression. These are big wines, drinking beautifully now, that will soften and gain complexity over the next five to eight years.
All wines arrive Friday 4/26. Enjoy!
(Our note from 2018) We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. From high-elevation 50 to 60 year-old vines in the commune of Saint-Joseph north-west of Villié-Morgon, in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes. Biodynamic farming, no SO2 until a minimal dose before bottling, with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The wine shows a bright medium red color with elegant aromas of black raspberry, black chery and earth with rose and violet. The palate is deep and ripe with firm acidity but stays light on its feet at 12.5% alcohol, with black and red fruits and mineral flavors that continue in the long finish. The "Tradition" cuvée is slightly rounder and deeper, but there is little difference between the wines in this super vintage for the Pignards. Serve cool with chicken and pork dishes, and put a few bottles away for five years as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
(Our note from 2018) The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is simply superb in 2016. Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from steep hillside vineyards, the wine ferments naturally, with approximately 10mg of SO2 added and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The 2016 vintage was a difficult one for the growers, resulting in low yields, but with a sunny late season that produced beautiful wines with pure fruit, light to medium body and firm acidity. The 2016 Morgon Tradition is a superb wine, showing a deep red color and aromas of ripe morello cherry, strawberry and black raspberry liqueur, with violet, rose, orange peel and earth. There is berry liqueur on the palate which is dense and long but not heavy. It's well balanced and bright at 12.5 % alcohol, finishing with sappy black fruits, citrus and earth. Serve in it's vibrant youth with steak frites, charcuterie, coq au vin and cow cheeses. This will be worth cellaring, best perhaps 2022 - 2030. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Jane and Sylvain have done it again! Another beautiful Passetoutgrain, in 2017 from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay, grown in and around Gevrey-Chambertin, organically farmed and quite delicious! The 2017 shows a deep black/red color and very perfumed aromas of black raspberry and strawberry liqueur with earth and violets. The palate is ripe and bright with deep morello cherry and blackberry, quite sapid and round. Really a refreshing and delicious wine, perfect for picnics and barbecues, served quite cool. This is a fantastic value and highly recommended.
Jane et Sylvain: A refreshingly unpretentious name for a small organic estate in Gevrey-Chambertin. Their Bourgogne Rouge is from 20 to 30 year-old vines in a parcel that has never been chemically treated and always tended organically. The 2017 Bourgogne Rouge shows a brilliant red/black color with elegant, floral, tart cherry, raspberry, citrus and violet aromas. The palate shows the ripeness of 2017 with chalky strawberry and cherry fruit, earthy and very long, finishing with refreshing citrus, mineral flavors and red fruits. Serve this lovely Pinot Noir quite cool over the next five years - it's a delicious wine and a great value!
The vines are in the lieu-dit "Queue de Hareng" below an old quarry at the top of the slope in Brochon, next to Fixin 1er Cru "la Perrière," on shallow red/brown soils of mountain silt and limestone pebbles over the limestone bedrock. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentations with minimal SO2. The 2016 Jane et Sylvain Côte de Nuits-Villages is a bit denser than the previous vintages from this site - it's a superb and unusual Burgundy showing intense aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry with rose leaf, brown spice and herbal notes as well as dusty stone and mineral scents which are typical of this vineyard. With aeration the aromas become more pure and fruit-driven and the palate shows lovely black cherry, strawberry and red currant fruit, quite dense and ripe, with firm tannins. Decant 4 to 6 hours in advance if drinking now, or cellar for 3 to 5 years and drink till 2030. Highly recommended for those who enjoy some minerals in their Burgundy!
From 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The low yields and small berries of 2016 really show in this dense and well-structured Gevrey. The aromas are elegant and deep with chalky black raspberry and black cherry, the palate is dense and concentatrated with fabulous length of black fruits and minerals, Carafe many hours in advance if drinking now, best to cellar five years and drink until 2035+. This will be a superb mature Gevrey and is highly recommended.
Jane et Sylvain have a superb, tiny parcel of Gevrey 1er Cru "Fonteny," high up in the southwest corner, separated from Grand Cru Ruchottes by a dirt track, certified organic. We have 36 btls of Fonteny for the vintage - given the structure of the "regular" Gevrey from Jane et Sylvain, the Fonteny will benefit from ten years in the cellar and should become a profound wine when mature. In January of 2014, I tasted the 2002 Fonteny in the cellar with Jane and Sylvain.Their eldest son was born in 2002, so they saved a bunch for him, but were generous enough to share one with my father and me. It was transcendental - what I refer to as my "religious experience" with red Burgundy, and possibly one of the most memorable wines I've ever tasted. Flowers, stones, dried fruit, the subtle touch of tannin...truly a blissful experience. Jane says the wine has "la finesse du Ruchottes," referring to the Grand Cru vineyard that is literally feet away from the edge of their vines. Eben Lillie
The Pignard's Beaujolais-Villages is from a high-elevation parcel with 40 year-old vines in sandy clay over decomposed granite. There is a very short carbonic-maceration to preserve the fresh fruit and only a tiny addition of sulfur before the bottling. The 2016 is a subtle, elegant and well-structured Beaujolais, hosting aromas of cherry, blackberry, and red apple skins, with a light presence of dark flowers. On the palate, there are flavors of dark cherry and essences of fresh, woodsy earth. The structure is lean, with clean minerality. This is a real Beaujolais of terroir that is elegant and delicious now and will improve over the next few years.
(Our notes from 2017) We are big fans of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais and we were very happy to get another shipment of the lovely 2014 Regnié from Joëlle and Roland Pignard. The wine is opening up nicely with pretty aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry mingling with earth, rose, truffle and brown spice. The palate has softened a bit with bright strawberry, cherry and red currant over the saline minerals and earth with citrus and herbal notes. The wine is subtle and perfectly balanced at 12% alcohol - a real Regnié of terroir that will continue to improve over the next few years. Delicous wine! (Notes from August 2016 below)The Pignards' Regnié is from 50 year-old vines on alluvial clay soils, always giving a well-structured wine. The 2014 shows subtle aromas of ripe red currant and strawberry, very floral and pure. The palate is less fruity, showing stone and mineral flavors with lighter raspberry/strawberry fruit, quite elegant, and finishing with stony acidity. This will need a few years to show at its best but is delicious now in its purity and restraint. Decant if drinking now, best probably 2019 - 2023.