I have always been a big fan of Chanterêves, and like all talented vignerons, I’ve been wanting good grapes and vineyards to come their way. Now they have.
The estate’s party piece is five different aligotés. Five! And they are magnificent offerings from Guillaume and Tomoko, the lovely people at Chanterêves. They are not equal in style or quantity, but the two or three best cuvées really push the boundaries of both quality and expression, they are that good.
The 2020 acquisition
A little background:
This estate has a special place in the ‘Hog’s heart, as I like and enjoy both the wines and the people behind this estate: Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott. They are tremendously nice people, and if anyone deserves success, they do.
I was pleased when I learned a couple of years ago that they had expanded their domaine by 4.7 hectares, adding to the small aligoté parcel they’d acquired earlier. With 5 ha of their own vineyards, they can now proudly use the Domaine Chanterêves label next to the well-known Maison Chanterêves.
The expansion came with 3 ha of Hautes Cotes de Beaune – 50% chardonnay and 50% aligoté – located in the Fussey area on the border between the Hautes Cotes of Beaune and Nuits. That’s a lot of aligoté!
Additionally, the estate includes 0.2 ha of Chorey-les-Beaune in the lieu-dit Champs Longs, located at the northern end of Chorey; as well as 0.85 ha in the Savigny-les-Beaune vineyard Dessus de Montchenevoy, situated north of the village.
The aligotés: 1.5 ha and change
Chanterêves began their collection of aligoté vineyards in 2017 with a plot on the road between Beaune and Nuits-Saint-Georges, just below Domaine d’Ardhuy’s estate.
This aligoté – Les Chagniots – is made from very old vines located east of the D974, as most aligoté plots were back in the day.
In 2020, the aligoté portfolio increased by an order of magnitude, as Chanterêves acquired 1.5 ha of vines around Fussey, between 400-470 metres of altitude.
With an additional 1.5 ha, Chanterêves suddenly had a beautiful new instrument available to explore and display different expressions of this grape. This is quite new.
The five aligotés
Based on experience, soil research, and the nature of the vines on the plots, Guillaume and Tomoko decided on the following five cuvées:
Les Monts de Fussey
Bas des Ees
Miarlons du Bas
All of them except Les Chagniots are around Fussey.
I have tasting notes on four of the aligotés:
Chanterêves Aligoté Les Monts de Fussey 2021
The entry-level wine from the Fussey area, this vineyard is located just below the village. At 430 metres of altitude, the wine is intense, with good freshness and balance. While less complex than the top cuvées, it still has what’s needed to bring joy with its generous, vivid character.
(Drink from 2023) – Very Good – (89-90p) – Tasted 26/04/2023 –
Chanterêves Aligoté Les Chagniots 2021
Les Chagniots is a vinous effort with a clear influence from the old vines. It bears some resemblance to Nicolas Faure’s aligoté, with its grand cru-like character. It has intense, focused acidity, creating quite a serious expression. It is fairly reduced, and will need some time to truly reveal itself. I really like this cuvée, but it does lack some of the vivacity of the Miarlons du Bas.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good– (90p) – Tasted 26/04/2023 –
Chanterêves Aligoté Mainbey 2021
From vines at 450 metres of altitude, this is the most mineral – and currently the most reduced – of the aligotés. It’s amongst the lighter expressions as well, so its aging potential is a bit uncertain in my book, although it will definitely require some time to unpack its beautiful minerality. Refined and elegant below the reduction, I shall wait and see.
(Drink from 2026) – Very Good – (89p) – Tasted 26/04/2023 –
Chanterêves Aligoté Miarlons du Bas 2021
As I wrote of the 2020 vintage, this has it all: minerality, intensity, tremendous acidity, and energy. It shows magnificent depth, though the ’21 does not match the intensity of the 2020. It does, however, have a vivid structure with a light-footedness one rarely finds in 2021. With its lovely delicacy and complexity, this could be enjoyed now. But leave a few bottles in the cellar for several years.
(Drink from 2023) – Very Good – (91p) – Tasted 26/04/2023 –
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