Domaine Blain-Gagnard 2009
– Chassagne-Montrachet Red
– Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Red (from parcels in Clos St. Jean and Morgeot)
A few weeks ago we featured a mini-vertical of Volnay across the 2010-2012 vintages with the idea that there is no better way to probe the particulars of vintage than tasting wines from the same plots of earth, and the same producer, across different years. This time we’re looking at the wines of Domaine Blain-Gagnard from different plots during one particular vintage. This is a story of both the 2009 season and the terroir of Chassagne-Montrachet and Pommard.
Burgundy, specifically the Côte d’Or (golden slope), is a 31 mile long escarpment that runs south and west from the suburbs of Dijon. It’s characterized by faults, tilts, and combes, all of varying limestones and marls, for a region with more geological complexity and nuance than any other in the world. Thousands of growers over hundreds of years have tasted differences in their wines based on the parcels they came from. These differences were noted and eventually became the appellation system we know today.
The commune of Chassagne-Montrachet seems to lead a dual existence. It’s recognized for producing some of the best white wines in the world but it has a long history of creating substantial red wines that are quite often compared to the vibrant Nuits-Saint-Georges to the north. The degree of depth and concentration will be even more pronounced in the Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru. In contrast, Pommard at its best has a deep color, richness and power that can’t be confused with any other commune in the Côte d’Or.
One of the top producers in Chassagne, Domaine Blain-Gagnard is run by Jean-Marc Blain, his wife, Claudine Gagnard, and son, Marc-Anthonin. They own land in the most prestigious grand crus in Montrachet but almost half of their 20 acres of vineyards are planted with pinot noir vines. Jean-Marc employs the utmost care in the vineyards and cellars. He blends from young and old parcels to create wines with the fruit and energy of youth coupled with the richness and concentration of old vines. The use of new oak is minimal. His are wines of elegance with all of the subtleties of terroir.
By all accounts, 2009 was an exceptional year for pinot noir in Burgundy. There was hardly a cloud in the sky from the beginning of August to the end of harvest, yet temperatures were not excessive. It was an early and healthy crop, with little trace of the rot that perennially plagues the vineyards there. The broad characterization for 2009 in Burgundy is red wines with ample fruit and the spine to match. It is a vintage for wine drinkers and wine collectors alik