A Snapshot of Burgundy
At the end of a bustling Padstow Summer at BinTwo I was rewarded with an unexpected trip to Beaune all thanks to our suppliers Hatch Mansfield, wine producers Maison Louis Jadot and Mike who generously gave up his place. Three days crammed full of winery and vineyard tours, tastings, great food and company, sheer hell as you can imagine!
What better first port of call than the Cadus Cooperage where the all important wine barrels are made. Watching the barrel makers at work you truly appreciate the skill and craftsmanship of this trade, an art from start to finish. For each barrel the origin and grain of the oak are carefully selected and are toasted according to requirements to impart tannins, aromas, flavours, structure and complexity to the wine.
Cadus Cooperage currently produces an astounding 30 thousand barrels a year. However despite the output there are concerns that this is a dying trade with a dwindling number of youngsters training to become barrel makers. We can only hope that the incentives and changes that Burgundy are currently implementing will keep this crucial profession alive.
Off to the vineyards
Here the complexity of Burgundy unfolded, a beautiful patchwork. As our guide showed us around Maison Jadot’s top vineyards producing the highest quality wine (Premier Cru and Grand Cru) I gained a true understanding of the myriad of this wine region. In Burgundy it is rare for a single vineyard to be owned by one person alone, a single site will be split into parcels owned and tended to by different wine producers and creating wines with individual style.
Burgundy’s vineyards spread over slopes whose soil properties, aspect, steepness and even aspects of climate can vary from one small area to the next. It is therefore no wonder that the Burgundian buzz-word is ‘Terroir’, one word encompassing all of these environmental elements, and that the aim of every Burgundian winemaker is to produce wines which express this terroir, the true origin of the fruit.
Photo: Vineyards in the Cote d’or, the golden slopes named after the golden leaves of the Chardonnay vines and the burnt red and orange of the Pinot noir.
Maison Jadot, founded in 1859, has grown to own 225 hectares of vines dispersed over this varied terrain and to produce wines which showcase Burgundy’s diversity. Such is the prestige and reputation of this region that today people pay a whopping 12 million euros per hectare for Premier Cru sites. With land at such a price, division of estates has no doubt been the cause of one or more family feuds in its time!
The Maison Jadot Winery
Stepping into the immense Maison Jadot winery, delicious jammy and yeasty aromas filled the air. With 2015 being an early harvest the grape-picking was completed by the 4th September and Jadot’s vast wooden and steel winemaking vats stood empty and ready for the next vintage. Whilst down in the cellars it was all happening, rows of barrels full of 2015 vintage were fermenting and ageing.
It was here that our tasting began first with the 2014 vintages, some ripe and tasty soon to be enjoyed whilst others ready for a few years rest before opening. Then later moving on to earlier vintages Meursault 2004, Gevrey- Chambertain 2007, Pommard 1995 to name a few. An education to say the least and an exciting challenge for my continually developing palate.
Domaine Ferret Pouilly Fuissé:
Visiting this Domaine was indeed the icing on the cake, not only for my love for this Pouilly Fuissé but for the natural beauty of the location and the inspiring story behind the Domaine. From the brow of the last hill before arriving at our destination the natural amphitheatre of Pouilly Fuisse opened out before us, a simply stunning panorama even on what was a grey and misty morning. An incredible terrain found to be one of the most varied in Burgundy with prominent rifts and slopes and a spectrum of soil types, across all of which we find the vineyards of Domaine Ferret, each parcel an ambassador of their unique terroir.
As for the history of Domaine Ferret it was the women of the Ferret family who were at the forefront of the Estate. Hardworking, passionate and determined, they developed their forward thinking winemaking methods including parcel vinification, bottling at the Domaine and maturation methods and consequently played an important role in developing the renown of the appellation of Pouilly Fuisse. Today the Domaine is owned by Louis Jadot with another female protagonist at the helm. Audrey Braccini continues the work of her predecessors with the same passion, diligence and dedication to excellence, the Ferret Pouilly Fuisse 2014 is testament to this, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying this nectar pop in to BinTwo where you will find it by the glass!
Such a fabulous trip and insight, 3 Wineries, 15+ vineyards and 50 wines later and i had only just scratched the surface of the variety and complexity of Burgundy. An adventure to be continued…