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About the Vineyard: Chassagne-Montrachet lies towards the southern end of the Côte de Beaune and is famous for its white wines, although half of its total plantings are in red. In addition to the Grand Crus, Blain-Gagnard’s holdings in Chassagne-Montrachet include two red premier crus and four white premier crus along with small holdings in Volnay and Pommard. The vineyards are farmed by lutte raisonée (“reasoned struggle”).
Wine Production: In 1999, Claudine and Jean-Marc received a 13-row parcel (0.2 acres) of Le Montrachet from Claudine’s father, Jacques Gagnard. From the 2000 vintage on, Le Montrachet from this parcel is made at and bottled as Domaine Blain-Gagnard. Only one or two barrels of this wine are produced each vintage, from vines planted in 1934.
Tasting Notes: Montrachet is Chardonnay at its most perfect with all of it components in perfect balance. Montrachet has power, concentration, and firm structure and is destined for long aging. Montrachet also has more weight and richness than the other Grand Crus and yet is somehow also the most finessed. It is shared almost evenly between the two villages of Puligny and Chassagne and may be labeled “Le Montrachet” in Chassagne and simply “Montrachet” in Puligny.
Food Pairing: White Burgundy, with its rich texture and toasted flavors, pairs well with white fish and shellfish, and its naturally high acidity can counterbalance cream-based sauces. Oak-aging lends itself well to grilled fish, starches, butter, and toasted nuts.
Background: Domaine Blain-Gagnard was formed in 1980 when Jean-Marc Blain married Claudine Gagnard, youngest daughter of Jacques and Marie-Josèphe Gagnard of Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange. The couple runs this venerable domaine with the help of their son Marc-Antonin. They now control 20.5 acres of vines in Chassagne-Montrachet, including holdings in three grands crus: Le Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet, and Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet.
An indifferent spring caused uneven flowering and mildew risk. At the end of June the weather changed for the better, continuing into July. Apart from local hail in the Côte de Beaune at the end of July, the summer began well. August arrived fairly cold and variable, but fortunately the last week of the month brought fine, warm weather. The lead-up to harvest saw sunny skies, apart from two days of rain in mid-September. A challenging vintage.
From day one the red wines have had a rich, pure fruit character with fine, silky tannins. The whites offer a good balance between ripe fruit and vibrant acidity. A vintage not to be overlooked because the wines deliver potential and pleasure.