A new star is born? Perhaps. In any case, without doubt a bright new talent has emerged!
While I try to find new names and producers all the time, I frequently find that new producers and talents need some time to hone their methods and refine their style, without having pressure from journalists and consumers to perform at 100% from day one. They need room to learn and try.
That being said, Pierre-Vincent Girardin is tremendously talented and actually already has a clear vision of what he wants, and to be honest he gets there with great success, even in his first vintage: 2017. That is truly impressive, as all seems to be under control and well planned at this new estate.
Perhaps demands and expectations for the work of Pierre-Vincent are higher than usual for a new producer – but somehow I think he is up to the job.
Background … yes, you guessed correctly
Pierre-Vincent Girardin is the son of Vincent Girardin, who sold his estate in 2012 and retired at a relatively young age.
Pierre-Vincent Girardin does have the family background and what I assume is the usual support from his parents. But it only takes a few minutes with the young man himself to convince you that this is his project. Hearing his mission statement makes it clear that the wines you are going to taste are something unique, and not comparable with the wines produced by his father.
This is a bright new start – his own style – with a lovely set of own-fruit and negociant grapes that together demonstrate very high quality.
So with no further ado … on to the wines!
The style of the whites
Let’s be clear: This is a Meursault estate – the winery is located on the RN974 in Meursault.
The white lineup is exciting, with some interesting village terroirs and culminating in Corton-Charlie.
The terroirs are important, as Pierre-Vincent Girardin is a man of terroir. He wants his wines to express the mineral side of Burgundy rather than producing overly concentrated and dense wines.
Expressing terroir is not easy, but producers like Roulot really excel in bringing out the individual character of the village terroirs – showing how different they are – and what they can offer in terms of enjoyment and pairing with food.
To find a 21-year-old vigneron with the same ambitions – and the talent to match – is rare indeed.
The style is very much geared to expressing the terroir, and trying to find the sweet spot where the vineyard is showing its best mineral side and balance.
As with other new producers, finding the barrels (older, good-quality barels can be a problem to find) and the perfect balance of oak given the vintage is a process that takes years to optimize, as can determining the elevage time of the individual cuvées.
I think that the first vintage – 2017 – is a big success for Pierre-Vincent Girardin, and he has done very well indeed. If you ask him, he would probably say there is room for improvement here and there, yet this what it’s all about, being a true vigneron.
Tasting the white 2017s from Domaine Pierre Girardin
Domaine Pierre Girardin, “Ecalt de Calcaire” 2017
A Bourgogne Blanc from the lower part of Meursault and Volnay. Fermented in wooden casks, with an eight-month elevage in stainless steel. It’s a fresh, vivid and mineral wine – some reductive notes – with white peach and limited exotic-fruit aromas. Fine and energetic fruit with nice acidity to give the wine a lovely balance. A good start, and drinking well at this stage.
(Drink from 2019) – Good+ (86p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Now to a series of three Meursault village wines, and one Puligny-Montrachet village:
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Meursault Les Grands Charrons 2017
A Meursault from the area just above the village at the beginning of the slope. A quite intense and aromatic Meursault village – rich aromatic profile with a lovely density. Fine acidity gives the wine a delightful lift; a classic Meursault from the lower and richer parts of the appellation, and a fine expression of terroir. 30% new oak in this cuvée.
(Drink from 2025) – Very Good (88 – 89p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Meursault Les Tillets 2017
Higher on the slope, Les Tillets offers a more firm mineral note, with 50% new oak in this cuvée apparent. Somewhat reduced on the nose, yet with a lovely citrus-infused minerality filling the glass. This is a lovely, mineral-driven Meursault with good energy driven by the fine acidity. Love the saline notes of this wine – definitely a lovely terroir. This is a delicious wine.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good (90p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Meursault Les Narvaux 2017
The Meursault Les Narvaux is a gorgeous compromise betwen the two previous, and also with 30% new oak. The Narvaux terroir is located just below Les Tillets, and offers lovely complexity and intensity. This has a slight sweetness on the palate, giving the wine a charming extra lift. Lovely energy and complexity – very balanced and refined village Meursault.
(Drink from 2028) – Fine (91p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Puligny-Montrachet “Les Folatieres” 2017
The Puligy-Montrachet Les Folatieres is a village wine from a small village-classified part inside the 1er cru vineyard of Les Folatieres. This is a tremendous wine, showing refined and airy minerality. A refined and very effortless wine, with a pure and lovely expression of the Puligny minerality. A rare bird: This is surely notching 1er cru territory – in more than one sense of the word.
(Drink from 2028) – Fine (91 – 92p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Finally we reach the top of the whites: the slope of the Corton hill.
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Corton Charlemagne 2017
The Corton Charlemagne 2017 is a true beauty – this is a fine year for Corton it seems. The nose is fresh and vivid with quite some reduction at the moment. One-third new oak, and only 880 bottles made. This cuvée is from the Aloxe side of the hill, yet it’s very well balanced with plenty of grip and with a lovely acidity. The palate offers intense fruit and depth, with impressive length and lovely focus. This is a delightful Charlie in the making.
(Drink from 2029) – Very Fine+ (94 – 95p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
The reds – mineral-driven, low sulphur and low extraction
Along with the whites, Pierre-Vincent has made a delightful collection of reds from Volnay, Pommard, Beaune and Aloxe-Corton.
The style is fruity and forward, yet with a lovely focus and intensity. And like the whites wines, they really express the mineral side of the terroirs.
Some whole cluster is used in some of the wines, but otherwise there is a gentle destemming, yielding a large proportion of unbroken berries for the fermentation. The amount of new oak can reach 50%, and the extraction is light, with few or no punch-downs – mainly pumping over. Free sulphur is dosed to 15 mg/l at bottling for the reds, which is low.
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Rouge “Ecalt de Calcaire” 2017
A Bourgogne Rouge is from the lower parts of Pommard and Volnay. It’s vivid and fresh with fine acidity and lift. Lovely fresh fruit flavours – nice mineral note – good length and depth for this level. A fine glass.
(Drink from 2019) – Good+ (86p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Volnay 2017
The Volnay is showing very well, with fresh and vivid fruit. It has a lovely, airy feel, showing good Volnay elegance. Medium weight, fine focus and liveliness – an enjoyable wine.
(Drink from 2025) – Good+ (87 – 88p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Volnay, Clos du Chenes 2017
Quite a step up from the village Volnay, and with slight dose of whole clusters (10%), it has both vivid freshness and a slightly silky feel – this is showing very well indeed. It’s an energetic and vivacious wine with a lovely mineral tone; very enjoyable with its relatively light, mineral style, and very good intensity.
(Drink from 2028) – Very Good+ (90 – 91p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Pommard 2017
Airy and elegant – the light extraction has paid off – and in a light-footed and elegant Pommard style. Medium intensity and concentration, giving an enjoyable wine made for consumption within the first five to 10 years.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good (87 – 88p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Pommard Vaumuriens 2017
This is a Pommard from an area above Rugiens .. an intense and concentrated wine although slightly reduced. On the palate, quite energetic and vivid showing a lively and mineral expression – delicious Pommard in the making. The relatively low sulphur is helping quite a bit here.
(Drink from 2031) – Very Good (89 – 90p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Pommard Les Charmots 2017
Stepping up – in more than one sense – to the highest 1er cru in Pommard: Les Charmots, located just north of Clos de la Commaraine. This a lovely wine – 10% whole cluster give us this silky and vivid mouthfeel – with delightful mid-palate fruit and lovely intensity. A very interesting terroir.
(Drink from 2032) – Fine (90 – 92p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Pommard Epenots 2017
To the final Pommard – Epenots. Clearly a bigger wine offering a lovely deep and energetic fruit. Delightful intensity and concentration, but still with a fine liveliness and a vivid energy. Quite an intense and powerful wine that clearly needs more time to unfold.
(Drink from 2035) – Fine+ (92 – 93p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Beaune Epenottes 2017
On the Beaune side of Epenots we find Epenottes (no wonder these wines are not natural born sellers, although they should be). The Beaune Epenottes is quite a hit in this portfolio; the 15%-20% whole cluster – as far as I recall – is giving this wine a truly silky, velvety mouthfeel. Very charming and intense; this not a little wine. A truly delightful glass – chapeau!
(Drink from 2029) – Very Good+ (90 – 91p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Aloxe Corton Fournieres 2017
The Aloxe-Corton Fournieres is medium weight and somewhat overshadowed by the Pommard/Beaune cuvées. Still, it is energetic and light-footed, although perhaps the 50% new oak is a bit overwhelming. A very good wine, but not quite showing its best at the moment.
(Drink from 2027) – Very Good (88 – 89p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Domaine Pierre Girardin, Le Corton 2017
Last but not least of the reds: Le Corton – or actually Corton Pougets: almost directly south on the Corton hill. A lovely, vivid wine, intense and mineral with plenty of power and delicate fruit. Whole-cluster inclusion (15%) has again provided a liveliness and silky feel to the wine. A delightful Corton in the making.
(Drink from 2034) – Very Fine (93 – 94p) – Tasted 06/06/2019
Favourites … what I prefer!
The portfolio of Pierre-Vincent Girardin is very interesting, and in my view this is a very strong first vintage, especially considering Pierre-Vincent’s young age – impressive.
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