Fame and glory is sometimes not fairly distributed in Burgundy – and especially estates outside the main appellations seem to struggle to get the acclaim they deserves.
One of these estates is Chandon de Briailles in Savigny Les Beaune .. a biodynamic domaine owned by the Count and Countess Aymard-Claude de Nicolay and their children and have been owned by the same family since 1834. The Count inherited the estate from his grandmother – the Countess Chandon de Briailles, who herself was related to the famous champagne house of Moët et Chandon.
The Countess Nadine de Nicolay took over the management in 1982 and today her children Claude and François de Nicolay manages the estate together.
This is a rather large estate – 13.7 ha in total – located in a beautiful chateau in Savigny Les Beaune. We were received by Claude de Nicolay on a lovely March day and also briefly met her brother François de Nicolay on the way to taste the wines in the old cellars of the estate.
Claude and Francois run the estate as a team work, and all decisions and tasks are shared. The estate has been organic and biodynamic since 2005 – and is Demeter certified (certification process began in 2008 and the estate has been fully certified since the 2011 vintage) as one of the relatively few estates in Burgundy.
They are taking biodynamics very seriously at Chandon de Briailles – and judged from the tasting with a very fine result indeed.
The wines and vineyards of Chandon de Briailles
Chandon de Briailles have 13.7 ha of vineyards mainly located in the appellations surrounding the village of Savigny Les Beaune.
- Les Maréchaudes – 0.40 ha
- Les Bressandes – 1.12 ha
- Clos du Roi – 0.38 ha
- Corton Blanc – 0.60 ha (85% Bressandes, 15% Corton Chaumes)
- Corton Charlemagne – 0.28 ha
- Les Valozières – 0.28 ha
- Les Vergelesses – 1.22 ha
- Île des Vergelesses Blanc – 1.00 ha
- Île des Vergelesses Rouge – 3.13 ha
Savigny Les Beaune
- Aux Fourneaux – 1.68 ha
- Les Lavières – 2.61 ha
- Savigny-les-Beaune – 1.07 ha (Aux Fournaux) + 0.6 ha (Les Saucours)
The main holdings are the Grand Cru areas on the Corton hill, but as always one should not overlook the qualities of the wines from the so called lesser appellations – Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses and Savigny Les Beaune.
Style of the wines
The style of the wines is as how the describe the vinification – neo-classical Burgundian.
The wines have lovely detail and expression of terroir – the fruit has a lovely intensity – but is by no means forced or strongly extracted. One quality I would like to highlight is “effortless” – as with other Biodynamic wines the wines seem to be in equilibrium and balance … and not forced or restrained. This often translates into a lovely drinkability … more so than one would expect from the appellations in question – so to speak.
The wines have a organic and natural feel – and a very fine balance – in my mind due to a fine contribution from the Biodynamic viticulture employed over the years.
Tasting notes from March 29th 2017
Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Savigny les Beaune Aux Fournaux 2015
The Savigny Aux Fournaux 2015 is a ripe and generous wine – this 1er cru is located on the Pernand side at the start of the slope. The vineyard is facing east and the result is relatively high ripeness – but supported well by the fine minerality. The nose is offering red and dark berries, and a nice impression of minerality – slightly closed currently. On the palate rich and generous – without being dense … offering a lot of juicy fruit. Very Good (87 – 88p).
Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Pernand-Vergelesses Île de Vergelesses 2015
The Pernand-Vergelesses Île de Vergelesses 2015 from the 1er cru located on the Savigny-les-Beaune side of the appellation. This is offering more detail, refinement and balance. The nose is offering a nice collection of red and dark berries infused with a quite filigree minerality On the palate more airy and focused than the Aux Fournaux – offering a very elegant display of terroir. It seems cooler and more refined – a lovely glass. Very Good (88 – 90p).
Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Corton Les Maréchaudes 2015
The Corton Les Maréchaudes is a big and rather velvet wine – coming from the Ladoix side of the Corton hill – quite low on the slope. The bouquet offer plenty of ripe and juicy fruit – supported by a earthy mineality. On the palate quite sumptuous and softly structure .. plenty of fruit but somehow lacking a little of the focus and airiness found in the Corton Bressandes – from the terroir just above on the slope. Fine+ (92 – 93p).
Domaine Chandon de Briailles, Corton Les Bressandes 2015
The Corton Bressandes 2015 is quite a step up from Les Maréchaudes, as it offers a more detailed and focused expression of terroir to balance the generosity of the vintage. The nose offer a fine selection of red and dark fruits – seem cooler than Les Maréchaudes and more vibrant. On the palate more powerful with the tannins more present in the wine – finely grained and refined – offering a lovely support. A Very Fine Corton in the making. Very Fine (93 – 95p).