At first glance this is a little surly, complex but brooding with faint suggestions of struck stone, the palate boasts enveloping ripe flavours; if not totally expressive now there are certainly many layers to this that will need unravelling. Aeration reveals a fabulous minerality and intensity, incredibly long echoing flavours of limestone, citrus rind and chalk. Stunning. The Cailleret vineyard comprises some of Caroline Lestimée’s oldest vines (over 60 years old).
Although Jean-Noël has officially retired, he always seems to find some work that needs to be done in the cellar whenever we visit! However it is his daughter, Caroline Lestimé, who takes control of vineyard, cellar and office at Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard. There can be no doubt that Jean-Noël is proud of a daughter who is producing Chassagne of such outstanding quality. The Domaine’s boundary encompasses some superb vineyards including Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets and Bâtard-Montrachet. The white wines are made in the traditional way, being kept in barrel for at least 18 months, only about a quarter of which will be new, and are bottled with only the very lightest of filtrations. They are expressive, impressive Chassagnes that display the complex nuances of their terroir.
A village and appellation at the southern end of the Côte de Beaune covering over 300 hectares, that is now widely acclaimed for its white wines, though was once very much a red wine village. Plantings of Pinot Noir are still relatively high when compared to Puligny or Meursault, however it is the white wines that enjoy international acclaim. Within the commune sit part of Le Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards as well as Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru in its entirety. There are a total of 51 Premier Crus vineyards, though many of these are part other larger, better known vineyards and carry that name on the label, Morgeot being a good example of this. The wines are plump and racy, less elegant and refined than Puligny, full bodied but less fat and more vitality than a Meursault.