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A Burgundy Story

John Tilson • 6/10/10        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

One of the challenges of Burgundy is to simplify it. Many owners of parcels within the same vineyards makes generalization difficult. For with Burgundy, you need to know the vineyards and the producers.

Here is a story of the creation of four great Domaines in Chassagne Montrachet and the creation of a great Montrachet and its history.

Domaine Delagrange-Bachelet

This Domaine was created by Edward Delagrange-Bachelet in the 1930s. Over the years, parcels were purchased in Batard Montrachet in 1952 and in Montrachet in 1978.

Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange

This Domaine was created in 1959 with the marriage of Jacques Gagnard to Josephe Delagrange, the daughter of Edward Delagrange. This Domaine originally included the Grand Cru Batard Montrachet and Premier Crus Boudriotte and Morgeot in white with Clos St Jean and Morgeot Red as well as a Premier Cru Volnay Champans. In 1978 a small parcel of Montrachet was purchased from Paul Fleurot by Jacques and his father-in-law, Edward Delagrange-Bachelet. The first vintage was 1978 and was made half by Jacques and half by Edward and blended together before bottling and sold under the name of both Domaines. (Approximately 900 bottles split evenly between Domaine Delagrange-Bachelet and Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange. )

This arrangement continued until 1996 when half of the Montrachet from Domaine Delagrange Bachelet went to Domaine Fontaine Gagnard formed with the marriage of Jacques daughter, Laurence in 1985. From then until 1999, half of the Montrachet was made at Domaine Fontaine Gagnard and half at Domaine Gagnard Delagrange. As was the practice before, the wines were blended before bottling and bottled half under the Delagrange Bachelet label and half under the Fontaine Gagnard label or 450 bottles each. In 1999, Jacques gave his parcel of Montrachet to his other daughter Claudine who had married in 1980 to form Domaine Blain-Gagnard. In 2009, Jacques passed away, but the Domaine continues under the same name with his widow now in charge.

Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard

This Domaine was created in 1985 with the marriage of Laurence Fontaine Gagnard, the daughter of Jacques Gagnard-Delagrange and granddaughter of Edward Delagrange-Bachelet. The vineyards in Batard Montrachet and Criots Batard Montrachet were inherited in 1978-79. The Domaine also has parcels in Morgeot, Maltroie, Vergers and Cailleret as well as red Premier Cru Volnay Clso des Chenes and Pommard Rugiens. In 1996 a parcel of Montrachet was added as a gift from Edward Delagrange-Bachelet. From 1996 to 1999, the Montrachet was made here and blended with the Montrachet made at Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange and bottled half with each Domaine. Since 2000, the Montrachet is made and bottled at Fontaine-Gagnard.

Domaine Blain Gagnard

Claudine Blain-Gagnard is the daughter of Jacques Gagnard-Delagrange, granddaughter of Edward Delagrange-Bachelet and sister of Laurence Fontaine-Gagnard. The Domaine was created with her marriage in 1980. The Domaine consists of parcels of Batard Montrachet and Criots Batard Montrachet, gifts from her grandparents the Delagrange Bachelets in 1978-79. Other wines include red Premier Crus Chassagne Montrachet Clos Saint Jean and Morgeot, white Premier Crus Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot, Boudriotte and Cailleret and red Volnay Premier Cru Chanlin and Pommard La Croix Planet les Combes. In 1999 they received a parcel of Montrachet from Jacques Gagnard. From 2000 on Montrachet from this parcel is made at the Domaine and bottled as Domaine Blain-Gagnard.

Montrachet Tasting Notes

The following wines were released from the Domaine last year. I have most of them in my cellar and these notes are consistent with my experience with the wines over the years. These are great Montrachets as are the Delagrange-Bachelet Montrachets.

Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange Montrachet

1980
Golden color, with a deep perfume of hazelnuts and honied nuances. The flavors are lovely, faintly honied with notes of tropical fruit and hazelnuts and ending with a long finish – at a peak, drink soon. 3-yellow-stars

1985
Light gold in color, this wine has a stunning honied, citrus-etched perfume. With rich, gorgeous flavors, the wine is creamy and honied with citrus tinges. Very long on the palate, the wine is impeccably balanced. I have drunk several bottles of this wine over the last 15 years and all have been absolutely stunning. The wine shows absolutely no sign of decline. I still have quite a few bottles which I think will have no problem lasting another 10 years. 4-yellow-starsyellow-half-star

1986
Light golden in color, the wine has a honied, citrus-tinged perfume. Well-structured with subtle honied flavors, hinting of citrus and spice, it is lovely on the palate. A delicious wine, it should continue to age gracefully for many years. 3-yellow-starsyellow-half-star

1988
Wow! What a stunning wine! Light golden yellow in color, the nose is faintly honied with citrus and an intriguing hint of coconut. The wine is absolutely gorgeous with a magnificent combination of richness and depth, backed by a firm backbone. It is honied with a citrus-tinged flavor, very long on the palate, with just a touch of coconut and citrus on the finish. The wine is still on the way up. It should be perfect in another 3-5 years or so! 4-parentheses-stars

1990
Light yellow gold in color, the nose is deeply perfumed with citrus, honey and spice nuances. It has a great integration of flavor, finesse and complexity. Citrus, honey and spice flavors are matched by a long, lingering finish – superb! I have enjoyed this wine many times over the years and have always found it absolutely stunning and still evolving. There is no hurry on this. At least a 10-year-life from here should be expected. 4-yellow-starsyellow-half-star

1992
Another great Montrachet, with a light golden color, it has a gorgeous perfume of honey, butter and spice. It is honied, rich, round and creamy with a faint tropical nuance and long, lingering finish. This is a very great wine. Now at a peak, but I would expect it to last many more years. 4-yellow-stars

1999
Light gold in color, this wine is perfumed with honied citrus notes and a faint smokiness. It is round, yet firm underneath and has honied citrus and faint smoky flavors that carry through on the finish ending with a citrus tinge. It seems to have peaked, but probably will keep for some time. 3-yellow-stars

 

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One comment so far for “A Burgundy Story”

  • Denman Moody says:

    Just when I thought I knew something about wine, you hit me with this perfect question for the Master Sommelier or Master of Wine Quiz. Seriously, this is one of the most interesting things about the world of wine. No matter how much you know, you can (and should) learn something new every day! I got so excited reading this article, I got my 2002 Blain Gagnard Le Montrachet out of the cellar and put it in the fridge (I’m not one of those guys who likes my whites, even Le Montrachet, at 50 or 55 degrees). Will drink soon!

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