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At Chambers Street Wines, we have had the great fortune to work with a number of fabulous organic growers over the years. With our mandate of supporting good farming and traditional wine-making, offering the Burgundies from Domaine Chandon de Briailles is a distinct pleasure. Based in the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune with vines in Corton and Pernand-Vergelesses, the estate has roots going back to 1834. Claude de Nicolay, along with her brother François de Nicolay, fashion pure, old-school, age-worthy Burgundy. The vineyard work has been organic since the 1980s and certified biodynamic since 2005 with vines replanted with massale selection. Yields are kept low to express the terroir of each vineyard. In most vintages the estate uses whole cluster fermentation to add a layer of structure to ensure ageability, though the regimen can be modified depending on vintage character. Winemaking is ultra-traditional with fermentations begun with native yeasts in tank, long élevage, with minimal influence of new oak, and bottling without fining or filtration. This light and deft hand brings out the distinctive character of each vineyard. In a new development, as of the 2016 vintage, the domaine has begun using a vertical press (with a second one added), which lends an even greater level of finesse to the wines, with seemingly better integration of tannins and a less overtly stemmy character than before. The wines have always been excellent, but there is an even greater level of refinement and harmoniousness than previously and the wines are highly recommended.
After too many years of difficult and short vintages, 2017 has been kind with a clement growing season and an excellent (in terms of quality, and normal in terms of yield) harvest. The resulting wines are floral, show bright pure fruit, well-intergrated structure, great freshness, and excellent terroir delineation. In short, a classic Burgundy vintage. And while the 2017s may not display quite the linearity of the 2016s nor the power (and density) of the 2015s, the vintage offers impeccable balance and verve. The wines should drink on the earlier side and express the delicacy of Pinot Noir fruit and terroir, while having the structure to age beautifully for the patient. We hope you'll give these a look and add some to your cellar. -John McIlwain
Wines arrive 5/28.
From 50-year-old vines located mid-slope. 50% whole cluster. The shallow soils overlay flat limestone rocks, giving way to clay subsoils. The 2017 has a deep ruby robe. The nose is redolent of violets, hedge fruits and spice. The mid-weight palate shows good ripeness and punch with juicy blackberry and cassis flavors and sauvage notes with a pungently mineral—verging on salty—core, finishing with a burst of spice on the long, detailed, lip-smacking finish. This is earthy, though by no means rustic and shows great flair. There is sneaky structure and while this is delicious now, this will benefit from 5-8 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
3.13 hectares of vines dating from 1938, with an average age of 40 years, in limestone clay soils, well exposed to the east. Île des Vergelesses is considered the finest climat in Pernand-Vergelesses, producing elegant wines that age effortlessly for 20+ years, as a recent tasting of the 1990, 1999, and 2002 vintages showed. The 2017 has a dark ruby robe with an exuberant nose offering bright floral and red and black fruit aromas. The deep-pitched palate offers a fine array of juicy red berry and black cherry flavors with notes of crushed herbs and soil notes framed by ripe, fine-grained tannins and brisk acidity, and a bit of the peacock's tail on the vibrant, layered, expansive finish. Decant now or cellar for 7-10 years and beyond to allow the fruit and structural elements to integrate. John McIlwain
From a .4 hectare plot, located beneath Corton Bressandes. Ferruginous clay over limestone. Les Maréchaudes was planted between 1974 and 1979 and plowed by horse. Typically the most precocious of the red Corton grand crus at Chandon de Brialles, Les Maréchaudes can be enjoyed after just a few years in bottle, though it will improve over 12-15 years and beyond. The 2017 has a lovely nose offering aromas of crushed strawberry, red plum, black currant, and game. The palate shows a sweet ripeness and expressiveness with pretty flavors of stone fruit, wild raspberry, mustard seed, underlain with a tactile sense of earthiness and Corton spice. The supple fine-grained tannins lend a sense of gravitas and well-integrated acidity offers lift and brightness to the long, lingering finish. A buoyant and vibrant Maréchaudes! John McIlwain
From 1.12 hectares spread across four parcels situated mid-slope above Les Maréchaudes with vines averaging 35 years. Deep limestone clay soils give classic Corton density and structure to the wines from the climat. The 2017 has a dark ruby robe and fine aromas of violets, wild strawberry, and raspberry with bosky notes of underbrush and freshly-turned earth and a bit of the classic Corton spice. The dense but expressive palate offers a mélange of ripe forest fruits, sour cherry, wild blackberry, blood orange peel, mustard seed and forest floor on a deeply mineral and coiled mid-palate with pungent soil notes driving a long, tangy, vibrant finish with a bit of the peacock's tail. Though young, this is displaying nascent complexity and bodes well for long aging. When the elements knit, this should be sensational and drink beautifully for the better part of two decades. John McIlwain *Pre-arrival, wine arrives 5/28*
From .38 hectares of biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and long-lasting of the stable of red Corton lieux-dits at Chandon de Briailles. Plummy black fruit, animale funk, wood smoke, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the racy fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain