Not the biggest and not the greatest, but perhaps the most refined, delicate, and hedonistic of the Puligny 1ers crus. I am of course talking about the expressive, filigreed and poetic Les Pucelles.
In Pucelles there is a clos, which is strangely not very well known to many collectors, despite the fact that it actually constitutes the northern end of the Pucelles vineyard.
That clos – the Clos de la Pucelle – is a holding of Domaine Jean Chartron, an estate of clos it seems, as it also owns walled vineyards in Cailllerets and Chevalier-Montrachet.
But let’s go to the northern end of Pucelles.
The history of Les Pucelles
While today we consider Pucelles a fabulous place for producing white Burgundies, it was actually producing reds 100 years ago when Rodier wrote his famous book.
The list of owners producing red Puligny Pucelles (apparently) included Domaine Leflaive as well as Domaine Chartron. Both still have large plots in the vineyard today.
Rodier’s classification of Puligny’s vineyards is rather complex; one must assume that the rankings are based on the wines produced in the individual vineyards at the time. Hence it would be natural to assume that Pucelles was classified as a red vineyard, with no reflection on its white potential.
Chartron acquired its plot in 1917, three years before Rodier wrote his book, and in 2017 the domaine celebrated its 100-year ownership with three Vieilles Vignes cuvees from the clos.
The Chartron plot
Pucelles is located just below Les Caillerets, between Batard-/Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet and Le Clavoillon (see below).
Chartron owns the northern part of the vineyard towards Le Clavoillon. The plot acquired in 1917 has an area of 1.1638 ha in total (outlined on map below).
There are three parcels in the Chartron section – plots 140, 141, and finally the small plot 18.
Pucelles is perhaps not quite as good as Caillerets, but to be honest, the difference in quality is minimal.
The best Pucelles I have tasted from Chartron is the 2017 Centenaire Cuvée made from the oldest vines, presumably – at least partly – from the Clos des Meix plot (#18) which was planted in 1953-54.
It should be mentioned that Clos des Meix is a 1.63 ha Clos located in the bottom part of Pucelles … mainly owned by Domaine Leflaive – who owns 26 ouvrées. Leflaive is not bottling Clos de Meix separately.
Three times Clos Centenaire .. 1917 to 2017
The pride of the Chartron estate are the three Clos .. Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Pucelle, Puligny-Montrachet Clos du Caillerets and Chevalier-Montrachet Clos des Chevaliers.
These vineyards were acquired in 1917, and in order to celebrate this Chartron has produced three special 2017 cuvées from the oldest vines of these vineyards – and these will be bottled as Magnums. The centenaire cuvées were selected amongst the best barrels produced from the old vines.
I tasted the Vieilles Vignes barrels – so presumable wines that were bottled as Centenaire cuvées.
Domaine Jean Chartron, Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Pucelle 2017
The 2017 centenaire cuvée is located in the northern end of Pucelles – around 1 ha, with the oldest part planted in 1953/54. This is also a very elegant cuvée – tremendous purity and with a lovely floral element – Classic Pucelles .. long, intense and filigree – what a lovely wine – matching the magnificent Caillerets…
(Drink from 2028) – Very Fine+ – (93 – 95p) – Tasted 31/05/2018
References & Sources:
- Jules Lavalle, Histoire et Statistique de la Vignes et Des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or (1855)
- M.R. Danguy et M. Ch. Aubertin, Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne (1892)
- Camille Rodier, Le Vin de Bourgogne (1920)
- Clive Coates, Cote D’Or (1997)
- Clive Coates, The Wines of Burgundy (2008)