As you might know I’m a big admirer of wines with a strong expression of the terroir. It was therefore a great pleasure to visit Jean-Noël Gagnard in Chassagne on my May 2012 trip to Burgundy.
Jean-Noël Gagnard is one of the most exiting domaines in Chassagne Montrachet, as they are producing the wines according organic principles, and furthermore they make a big range of whites from the different terroirs of Chassagne Montrachet.
Caroline Lestime is the owner of the Domaine, and she’s a modern and visionary winemaker, with a strong focus on terroir driven wines.
The Domaine produces 10 different white 1. cru Chassagnes, three village Chassagnes, thus presenting a lot of the different expressions of the Chassagne terroir. Furthermore the Domaine makes a very fine Bâtard Montrachet, a white Haut Cote de Beaune and 5 different red wines from Chassagne, Santenay and Haut Cote de Beaune.
Organic vineyard management
Caroline Lestime has since 2000 gradually transformed the vineyard management, and from 2010 it’s completely organic. In 2000 they stopped the use of herbicides in the vineyards and started ploughing the soil. The domaine is now in the process of getting certified as a organic, this proces takes three years – and Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard is now in the second year. More info on the certifkation could be found on Ecocert’s homepage.
I’m not religious about organic and biodynamic farming, but plenty of examples show the positive effects of organic vineyard management. The full effect of organic production is normally seen after 5 -10 years, but the wines gradually improve during this period. The main effects are more focused wines, with a more clear and precise definition of the terroir. Secondly the wines seems fresher, as the acidity often is higher – or at least is perceived higher.
The two effects combined gives fresher more crisp wines, and first and foremost a stronger and more precise expression of the terroir.
Jean-Noël Gagnard is trough the conversion to organic winemaking, and this shows in the wines. The expression of terroir is very good, and the difference in terroir is big within the impressive range of Chassagne whites. Tasting the wines is therefore an exciting aromatic journey around the appellation.
The white wines from Jean-Noël Gagnard
As mentioned the Domaine is making 14 different white wines, mostly from the village of Chassagne Montrachet.
Grand Cru – Bâtard Montrachet is the top of the range for this the Domaine. They have a 0,3607ha plot located in the middle part of Batard-Montrachet.
Premier Cru – at the top of the range we have Les Caillerets, followed by Blanchots-Dessus, Morgeot (lieu-dit – Les Petit Clos), La Boudriotte (Morgeot lieu-dit), Clos de la Maltroye, Maltroie, Les Champ Gain, Les Chaumèes, Les Chenevottes.
Village Chassagne – Les Masures, Les Chaumes, Pot Bois.
AOC Bourgogne Blanc – Haut-Cotes de Beaune Sous Eguisons.
Under the management of Caroline Lestime the number of cuvees have been increased significantly – before Les Chenevottes, Champs Gain, Blanchots-Dessus and Maltroie were assembled to make a cuvee of Chassagne-Montrachet 1. cru
Overall impressions of the wines
The wines from Jean-Noël Gagnard are generally of a very high quality, they are a classic expression of the Chassagne appellation. There is a Domaine style in the wines, with a good freshness and minerality, and a quite strong aromatic profile. The wines are pure and well made, with a good balance.
While the Domaine style is present in all the wines, the terroir of each wine is dominant, thus also giving quite different wines within the impressive range of wines. In other words, you are first and foremost drinking a Caillerets, and secondly a Jean-Noël Gagnard wine. Other winemakers have a more heavy Domaine impression – but I rather like this approach – let the terroir speak!
The vintages – 2010 and 2011
We had the pleasure of tasting a selection of both 2010 and 2011. The 2011 wines were still in cask, and had just been racked (Caillerets and Bâtard was in the racking process).
The overall impression of the 2010 vintage is wines with a quite strong aromatic profile, good nerve and a good freshness from the vibrant 2010 acidity. They are quite rich Chassagnes with a very fine expression of the appellation and the single terroir – wines I like to enjoy.
As mentioned the 2011 wines were in the racking process, thus making it hard to draw firm conclusions. The overall impression is however very good, as the wines display a fine acidity balanced by a lovely fruit. The wines have a good nerve and energy and are aromatically very pure. Summing up – I have quite high expectations for the 2011 Jean-Noël Gagnard wines.
The tasting notes from our visit at Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard will appear below as soon as they are published.
- Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard, Chassagne Blanchots-Dessus 2012 July 12, 2014
- Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard, Chassagne Les Masures 2012 July 11, 2014
- Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard, Chassagne Les Chaumes 2012 July 9, 2014
- Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard, Chassagne Les Chenevottes 2012 June 26, 2014
- Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard, Chassagne Les Chaumees 2012 June 23, 2014
- Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard, Chassagne Les Caillerets 2012 June 20, 2014
- Jean-Noel Gagnard, Chassagne Les Chenevottes 2010 August 16, 2012
- Jean-Noel Gagnard, Chassagne Morgeot 1er cru 2008 July 23, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Champs-Gain 2010 May 21, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Clos de la Maltroye 2010 May 19, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumees 2010 May 16, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne Les Chenevottes 2010 May 16, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne Blanchot-Dessus 2010 May 12, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne Les Caillerets 2010 May 11, 2012
- Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne Les Chaumes 2010 May 10, 2012
- Clos Saint-Jean … the red Grand Cru of Chassagne-Montrachet? I have always enjoyed a good glass of red Chassagne as they often offer a very lively and vibrant expression of pinot noir. Often have I been drinking these wines for mere pleasure and without analyzing the wines and taking a closer look at why I adore these somewhat overlooked beauties. Chassagne-Montrachet Clos Saint-Jean – Photo: Google ...
- Collins Corner #2 – the forgotten Santenay This weeks article from C. Robert Collins is about another of the overlooked but great reds of Cote de Beaune: “When history jumps up – the forgotten Santenay” The search for great wine vineyards can involve studying maps or researching list of owners of famous crus, or sometimes a wine just jumps up and grabs your attention ...
- Once Mont Rachet now Blanchot .. the unknown neighbour! The vineyard Blanchot Dessus is located just south of Le Montrachet – the Chassagne part of the legendary Grand Cru Montrachet. Blanchots Dessus seen from south Blanchot Dessus is a small and relatively unknown vineyard with few owners – somewhat overlooked compared to its more famours nighbours Montrachet and Criots-Batard Montrachet. But what is the history of this ...
- Visit at Jean-Nöel Gagnard – tasting of the 2012 vintage Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard holds a special place in the Winehog history, as this was the first Domaine I visited as a official blogger – about two years ago. And what can I say ?… good to be back!. The style of Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard A bit about the style at Jean-Nöel Gagnard. In my view the wines ...
- One year with the WineHog Time really flies … and it’s now exactly one year since I launched WineHog.org in Juliy 2011. During this year I realized that blogging about fine wine is quite a lot of hard work, but fortunately also very rewarding and a lot of fun. I have tasted a lot of good wines during the first year, ...
- Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard – profile As you might know I’m a big admirer of wines with a strong expression of the terroir. It was therefore a great pleasure to visit Jean-Noël Gagnard in Chassagne on my May 2012 trip to Burgundy. Jean-Noël Gagnard is one of the most exiting domaines in Chassagne Montrachet, as they are producing the wines according organic ...
- WineHog rating system – more than points My aim with the Winehog is unchanged, but I have for some time wanted a stronger focus on the hedonistic pleasure and simple enjoyment of drinking Burgundies. I have therefore adjusted my mission statement: “My mission is to help readers find more joy and hedonistic pleasure in Burgundy wines; to help them understand the terroirs and ...