Jean-Noël Gagnard 2016 'Sous Éguisons' Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc, Burgundy, France - DECANTsf

Jean-Noël Gagnard 2016 'Sous Éguisons' Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc, Burgundy, France

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Jean-Noël Gagnard 2016 'Sous Éguisons' Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc, Burgundy, France

  • Winemaker: Caroline L’Estimé
  • Variety: Chardonnay
  • Farming: Certified organic (biodynamic methods)
  • Variety: Chardonnay
  • Terroir: 0.41 ha (1.02 ac) Medium-gradient slope, facing southeast, 430-450m altitude, limestone soil with colluvial deposits from the cliff. Planted in 2002, 2004, 2005. This parcel is in La Rochepot, on an embankment overlooking and bordering the western part of the Saint-Aubin appellation Le Ban. The name "Sous Éguisons" refers to the cliff above the vineyard. The cliff offers protection from the north winds, which is a significant advantage given how harsh the climate is and how bitter the spring frosts are at this altitude. The natural growth cycle of the vines is also slower and the grapes mature a full week later than at lower levels. These vines are planted at a density of 10,000 vines per hectare.
  • Vinification: Delicate pneumatic pressing, indigenous yeast and malolactic fermentation in 228L oak barrels at 18°C.
  • Aging: Aged for 12-15 months on lees in barrel (1/3 new).
  • Notes: Even if the vineyards of the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune are 80% Pinot Noir, it's the Chardonnay variety that is predominant in the best communes of the appellation: Nantoux, Echevronne, Meloisey and La Rochepot. 
Importer Notes:

In 1989, after returning from business school in Paris, Caroline L’Estimé took over the winemaking and vineyard direction from her father, Jean-Noël Gagnard. The style at this Chardonnay focused domaine is one of subtlety led with gentle sweet golden earth tones. Often found in Caroline’s range of whites are beautiful wild mushrooms scents of chanterelles and porcinis, brown butter, dried herbs and always some kind of citrus tones, often like a Meyer lemon or the unique purity of an Amalfi Coast lemon grown on steep limestone terraces overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s hard to know exactly why her style is unique in this way—in fact I can’t find one that I would say is a mirror image—and even to ask her why her wines are the way they are brings her to a full smile, often bursts of laughter, followed by little explanation except that it’s just the way she does it.e been called “the Batman and Robin of Marsannay”), Bruno produces wines that are loved for their purity of expression. They show no ego or even style, but just seem to be true to the essence of each individual vineyard.

In the cellar, the wines are made in a straightforward style, and thankfully gimmick-free within a white Burgundy world of too much of one thing, or not enough of another. There are no games with reduction, so the perception of mineral nuances is textured and aromatically present and finely tuned. Flashy wood techniques and other fooling about simply aren’t her style either, just a confidently crafted set of wines that demonstrates—and concedes to—the differences between their terroirs with striking clarity. When one does organic farming like she does (along with certification for it), as well as following many biodynamic principals and treatments, a soft touch in the cellar seems the logical approach.

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