2019 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge "Mes Vieilles Vignes"
2019 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge "Mes Vieilles Vignes"

2019 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge "Mes Vieilles Vignes"

Burgundy, France 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$50.00

2019 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge "Mes Vieilles Vignes"

Astute students of Burgundian history are generally aware that until the early part of the 20th Century the village of Chassagne was more famous for reds (aka Pinot Noir), than whites. Much of the vineyards here are perfectly situated to produce elegant, silky, earthy Pinot of the kind that has captured wine lover’s hearts all over the world. And today’s discovery is all the evidence we need to drive that point home: case closed. Small wonder that it comes from the hands of Chassagne master Jean-Marc Pillot–a SommSelect favorite for his White Burgundy brilliance–who tenderly farms a tiny parcel of 60 year old vines in one of the historically perfect plots of Pinot Noir terroir. From the stupendous 2019 vintage, this beautiful bottle is now fully open and ready to strut its silky, savory, sensuous stuff for any and all who pull the cork. Don’t miss it!

Jean-Marc Pillot’s wines balance impressive soil character and savory minerality with vivid, pure fruit. They epitomize the Chassagne-Montrachet terroir while offering remarkable approachability in their youth and impressive complexity and evolution after even modest cellar aging. Honestly, if we had to list one (affordable) producer that epitomized the unending charm of Chassagne, it’d probably be Jean-Marc Pillot. But of course when most Burgundy fans hear “Chassagne” they think of world class white wines, and for good reason, however you don’t have turn the clock back too far to get a time when Pinot Noir was the dominant grape in this village. What happened? In a word: Montrachet. By the mid 1800s it was becoming clear that the Grand Crus near the top of the hill known as “Mt. Rachet” had the potential to make some of the best white wines in the world. So the villages that shared these vines, Puligny and Chassagne, followed the lead of their counterparts in the Côte de Nuits and affixed “Montrachet” to their village names. Shortly thereafter Pinot vines began to be replaced with Chardonnay, and after a few decades Chassagne had completely transitioned from a red to a white wine centric commune. 

Jean-Marc Pillot is keenly aware of this history, as the fourth consecutive generation of his family to be involved in winemaking, and hailing from many generations of farmers in and around Chassagne. He began apprenticing directly beneath his father, Jean, in 1985. By 1991, he had assumed leadership of the family property, though he was assisted in numerous regards by his wife, Nadine, and sister, Beatrice. Today he is joined by his son Antonin, who has been instrumental in the conversion to organic farming, and has also insisted on using only native yeasts in the cellar. The Pillots own and farm a broad range of vineyards in the villages of Santenay, Puligny, Meursault, Montigny, and Remigny. Still, there is little-to-no debate that the family’s finest wines originate from their Chassagne-Montrachet holdings. This is their specialty. 

The “Mes Vieilles Vignes” is a wine that is near and dear to Jean-Marc. The fruit is sourced from a single parcel that is about 1 hectare in size, and whose vines were planted in 1960. With a bit of red clay mixed in with the limestone bedrock, this site produces a wine of surprising depth and complexity given its “humble” village status. In 2019–a sunny, warm, blockbuster of a vintage–Jean-Marc and Antonin decided to use 100% whole cluster fermentation for the “Mes Vieilles Vignes,” after which the wine was transferred to barriques to undergo malolactic fermentation and then to age for 12 months before being racked back into steel tanks to settle before being bottled without filtration. 

The power of 2019 is balanced perfectly by the finesse of the terroir and the light touch of the Pillot team in the cellar. Serve cool, after a vigorous 30 minute decant, in large Burgundy stems and you’ll be greeted first by a cornucopia of red fruits–Bing cherries, raspberries, currants, cranberries–that is followed by a range of spices, wild herbs, blood orange zest, black truffle, and loads of savory, wet earth. The structure is still very present, but the tannins have begun to soften and the pure minerality of Chassagne is on full display. Serve with your favorite old-school French dish, such as Coq au Vin, and you’ll be transported to a comforting dinner in a bygone era.

2019 Jean-Marc Pillot, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge "Mes Vieilles Vignes"

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