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Our small allocation of 2014s from Sylvie Esmonin has just arrived and the wines are full-bodied, complex and quite beautiful with the perfect balance of ripe fruit and acidity often found in this excellent vintage in Burgundy. During our visits to the estate many years ago, the importance of plowing and good farming to create deep root systems was emphasized frequently, especially in a vintage like 2003 when her vines suffered less than others from the heat and dryness. Though not certified organic, the use of herbicides was stopped in 1990 which led to cutting out sytemic fungicides and pesticides as well. This was a change from her father's methods as was the use of whole-clusters in fermentation, approximately 70% in the Gevrey VV and Clos St. Jacques, which came from tasting old wines and wines from DRC that were vinified without de-stemming. "So I tried it for myself, and I think you really gain more complexity, specifically floral aromas." Sylvie feels that the current use of total de-stemming and cold macerations blurs the distinction between wines by exaggerating a one-dimensional fruitiness. More controversial, perhaps, is the estate's use of a high percentage of new oak. Sylvie feels, however, that the quality and type of oak she uses does not mark the wine excessively and that a ripe vintage, especially, necessitates it's use. The quality of the vineyard work, the age of the vineyards, the use of whole clusters and the judicious use of new oak at Domaine Esmonin create distinctive and substantial Burgundies. The 2014s are unique and delicious wines that show the success of the estate's philosophies, in their complexity and elegance and their certain ability to age beautifully - we encourage you to put a few in your cellar...
From 65 year-old vines in Pressonniers, south of the village. 100% de-stemmed, no new oak. The 2014 is a beautiful example of the Cuvée Sylvie, showing a bright, deep red/black color with aromas of ripe cherry and blackberry, with earth and violet. The palate is both lush and bright, nicely balanced between meaty ripe fruit and tart acidity, with outstanding density and length. Delicious now, perhaps best 2020 to 2025.
From 50 to 85 year-old vines in "La Croix Violette" and "Les Vignois," mid-slope in Brochon, close to Fixin. 30% whole cluster fermentation in 30% new oak. The 2014 Cote de Nuits-Villages is a dense and well-structured wine with deep aromas of strawberry confit and ripe cherry with earth, violet, oak and game. The palate is braced by firm acidity and supple tannins with dark berry fruits, sous-bois, spice and wood. Fabulous length and density in this rather brawny Burgundy which is enjoyable now but best perhaps 2020 to 2030. (Readers should note as well the Jane and Sylvain Cote de Nuits-Villages "Queue de Hareng," a similarly dense and structured wine from the top of the slope on the Brochon/Fixin border.)
From 45+ year-old vines from 4 hectares in many parcels. 30% whole cluster fermentation, aged in 20% new oak.This is a beautiful Gevrey that can be enjoyed in its youth, showing very floral and bright aromas of morello cherry and wild strawberry with spice and earth, really quite pretty. The palate is beautifully balanced and bright with supple cherry and strawberry fruit, showing lovely ripeness with a finish that is long and pure with berry fruits and stony acids. A lovely wine that is delicious now, best 2020 to 2030+.
From the oldest vines, up to 95 years-old, 60% whole cluster fermentation, aged in 60% new oak. The 2014 Gevrey Vieilles Vignes is ripe, dark-fruited, spicy, and densely perfumed, offering aromas of violets, ripe plum and soil. Palate is sturdy, vigorous and concentrated, balancing vivid flavors of black fruits and earth with notes of game and spice on a robust and energetic mid-palate and long finish. This is a broad, strapping Gevrey-Chambertin, soil-driven and full of old vine minerality and detail and will need a few years to resolve its structural elements. A classy expression of the village and a fine candidtate for the cellar. John McIlwain
From 45 to 55 year-old vines in 1.6 hectares with parcels at all three levels of the slope, 70% whole cluster fermentation, aged in 90% new oak. Always the class of the Sylvie Esmonin lineup, the Clos St. Jacques consistently illustrates why many consider the vineyard to be of grand cru breed. The 2014 is floral and effusively perfumed with aromas of violets, ripe black cherry, sweet spices, and a hint of game. The sophisticated palate offers flavors of plum, blackberry, iron, and a savory touch of crushed herbs deftly framed by some new wood, on a dense, detailed, layered, and lifted finish. Give this a few years in the cellar and check in from 2027 and beyond. This is truly lovely and a fantastic expression of Clos St. Jacques! John McIlwain