In the the vines in Quintaine...

Guillemot-Michel's Fabulous 2020s

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A couple of weeks into lockdown in 2020, my friend and former colleague John McIlwain very kindly sent me some bottles to help tide me through the grimmest days. They were uniformly excellent (John is nothing if not a man of taste). But even among this prime crop of wines, a bottle of 2017 Viré-Clessé 'Charleston' from Guillemot-Michel, a producer I'd never heard of, stood out. It was magnificent, full of juicy white and yellow fruit, incredibly fresh and mineral, with a delicacy I didn't associate with the appellation. A few months later I came to work here and found out that Chambers Street Wines worked with the wines directly and that I could continue to buy and drink the wines with ease (and relish!)

Viré-Clessé is a fascinating appellation in the context of Burgundy as a whole. Not only is it quite young (officially established in 1998) but historically the area was best known for lush ripe wines.  Grapes were picked late enough to show signs of noble rot, and the resulting wines may spend between two and four years in barrel and bottled with some residual sugar. The best known example of this classic style are the wonderful wines of Jean Thevenet and his Domaine de la Bongran. However, the area is home to many estates producing outstanding dry wines that feel more classically Burgundian and Guillemot-Michel should be amongst the very best of these.

The Guillemot-Michel team

Pierrette Michel and Marc Guillemot established the estate in its current form from Pierrette's family's vineyards in 1982 and bottled their first wines under the label in 1985. They farmed organically from the beginning and converted to biodynamics in 1991. They have been Demeter-certified since 1992. Today they run the estate with their children Sophie and Gautier, farming just under seven hectares. They are committed to maintaining vibrant living soils, and vines that produce living wines.

I visited in May and was impressed with the natural vigor of their old vines and the rows full of clover and radish. Not only the vineyards, but the family garden brimmed with life. The wines themselves were pristine, with terrific focus and transparency. Furthermore, whenever I mentioned to another grower that I was visiting Guillemot-Michel they were immediately impressed and respectful. Each one made some comment that the quality of both wine and viticulture at the estate was unimpeachably great and a benchmark for what can be achieved through biodynamics.

In addition to the brilliant 2020s that are available today, we are very excited to be able to offer out some 2015 Quintaine. Do not allow the vintage's reputation put you off - while there is certainly some richness from this famously hot season, the finished wine has a finished pH of 3.07! The minerality and freshness in the wine is astonishing.   Sam Ehrlich

 

**All the wines on today's offer are in the warehouse and will be available for pick-up or delivery Tuesday 8/2**

Guillemot-Michel 2019 Viré-Clessé Une Bulle (Arrives 8/2)

(arrives 8/2) The Guillemot-Michel "Une Bulle" comes from a tiny parcel of old vines on limestone with red clay, high in iron. The wine is a Pet-Nat (Methode Ancestrale) that is bottled after a short period of fermentation, leaving enough sugar in the wine for the fermentation to continue and create the desired bubbles. The wine is aged in bottle on the lees for around 18 months, then riddled and disgorged and re-bottled with a bit more "Une Bulle."  The result is a very delicious aged Pet-Nat showing honeyed aromas of pear and white peach with hints of almond, marzipan and brioche. On the palate the mousse is soft and creamy with flavors of peach and quince  with lime-flower and minerals and a long finish of white fruits, citrus peel and firm acidity. This is a delightful wine to sip by itself or pair with mild cheeses, patés and terrines, fruit desserts..  David Lillie

  • white sparkling
  • 3 in stock
  • no discount
  • $28.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Guillemot-Michel 2020 Viré-Clessé Quintaine (Arrives 8/2)

(Arrives 8/2) Quintaine is Guillemot-Michel's flagship wine and the 2020 is truly lovely. There is a touch of reduction that lends complexity rather than hiding character. On the nose and palate, the wine shows pear and apricot fruit and a touch of orange blossom. The wine has terrific energy and length, with an intensely stony finish and plenty of dry extract. For a wine at this price, the potential for mid-term cellar aging here is tremendous. An outstanding value and not to be missed. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Guillemot-Michel 2020 Viré-Clessé Retour a la Terre

(Arrives 8/2) Retour A  La Terre (Return to the Earth) is named for the parcel and the aging process. The vines come from a piece of the vineyard heavy with clay. They are on average about 65 years old, on a very old strain of rootstock that produces tiny but brilliantly ripe clusters of chardonnay. The wine that results is aged in three large clay amphora, allowing the wine to breathe without the influence of oak. The 2020 is excellent, with juicy white and yellow fruit, and the same feeling of purity and clarity as Quintaine. No shortage of finesse here. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $45.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Guillemot-Michel 2020 Viré-Clessé Charleston

(Arrives 8/2) Charleston is the most recent addition to the Guillemot-Michel range. Sourced from a single parcel of vines planted in 1922 in blue marl soils and aged in 600L barrels. There is more stone fruit here, accented with little hints of Meyer lemon and tangerine. The texture here is beguiling, with more roundness but also more density of material. There is terrific salinity here in the finish and lots of structure. If you like Chassagne (and who doesn't) you should seriously consider this wine for your cellar. Outstanding. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $56.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Guillemot-Michel 2019 Viré-Clessé Retour a la Terre (8/2)

(Arrrives 8/2) Created in 2017, this cuvee is issued from grapes in the "Champ-Rond" vineyard, vinified in amphora of 800 liters. The 65 year-old vines are grafted on "Riparia Gloire de Montpellier" an old root-stock obtained in 1880, giving very low yields with magnificent small grapes, of a deep gold color. The Retour a la Terre presents the exotic notes typical of the domaine with an extra dimension of expression due to the respiration of the amphora. The small grapes of "Champ-Rond" ripen beautifully without a high degree of alcohol -  they are picked on the last day of the harvest, and the elevage in amphora gives the wine a great purity.  The wine shows elegant floral, white fruit, apricot, lemon and stone aromas. The palate is round, dense and silky with fabulous length. This is a superb white Burgundy that is delicious now and will cellar beatifully for fifteen to twenty years. Highly recommended!

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Guillemot-Michel 2015 Viré-Clessé Quintaine (Arrives 8/2)

(Arrives 8/2) This is a cellar release this year. Picked in two passes on August 30th and then September 18th, to produce a wine that shows richness and freshness in equal measure. The primary fruit here has begun to develop into something a little earthier and more complex, toasted almond and hazelnuts and salty notes muscling in alongside apricot and yellow apple. Incredible acidity here for such a hot vintage. This has so much life in it, no doubt in part to four decades of dedication to organic and biodynamic farming. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $34.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic