Capitain-Gagnerot Echezeaux Grand Cru 2010
Grand Cru Echezeaux is mythical and rare, and in the right hands can reach near perfection. Intense and alive with black cherry and cocao, it is fine and velvety and finishes on dark bitter chocolate. The vineyard is relatively new to the Maison Capitain, but their long experience with a classy holding in the Clos Vougeot puts them in the neighborhood. It's a jewel in the Capitain crown. Never a hesitation!
Anybody who has followed us since our start in early 1996 knows the Maison Capitain-Gagnerot in Ladoix-Serrigny. We have seen three generation now. Roger Capitain was our first mentor in Burgundy, and we learned our craft leaning against a wine barrel, soaking up his wisdom and discussing his inimitable wines. His sons Patrice and Michel, and now Patrice's son Pierre Francois (the whole family, really), carry on a tradition that is most easily described as a style. There is no mistaking a Capitain wine. Once you know it, you can pick one out just in the bouquet. It's a purity. And it's our benchmark in Burgundy.
BURGUNDY 2010 VINTAGE
Burgundy 2010 is a small harvest, even smaller than expected. Uneven flowering and a subsequent cold snap in early summer meant that all but the best-exposed vineyards gave greatly diminished yields. The exceptions are…exceptional. Michel Arcelain in Pommard (who completed his 64th harvest that year!) told us that while his village Beaune ‘Siserpe’ was down a third in quantity, his Beaune 1er Cru ‘Clos des Mouches’ gave him the same as last year. It’s the exposition, he says. And that, in short, is what makes it a premier cru.
A hot and cold summer combined with (in the Côtes) too much moisture brought the threat of rot, and meant that the growers had to be particularly vigilant with their treatments, and then again at the sorting tables. Meaning even less crop. Most unusual of all, the harvest did not come to maturity by color. Usually it's red and then white. In 2010 growers alternated harvesting between Pinot and Chardonnay as the parcels reached maturity. Some even sent their pickers home for a few days in mid-harvest.
But the good producers did not complain (much), because the quality is there. With good natural sugar levels, and remarkably tame acidity, the wines were promising right from the outset. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like to come to maturity slowly, and 2010 gave them this opportunity. So if the phyto-sanitary side was seen to (which is what it means to be one of the good producers), we are looking at rich bright voluminous wines, both red and white, and from south to north.Chardonnay
2010 is a year for whites. From the north to the south of Burgundy, the whites show the whole range of expression of Chardonnay. These are balanced wines with freshness and purity, and refined minerality. This is a Chardonnay as the Burgundians like it. The Chablis are superb!
Delicious reds in a classic style, with excellent balance between fruit, acidity and tannins.
Compared to 2009, the 2010s are less rich but more precise. Compared to 2008, they are richer and more balanced. Precision and purity, character and depth; and above all elegance. Many producers have told us that they prefer their 2010s to their 2009s. Again, 2010 is Burgundy as the Burgundians like it.
ECHEZEAUX and GRANDS ECHEZEAUX
COTE DE NUITS
The village of Flagey-Échezeaux lies in the plain between Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée in the Côte de Nuits. Facing east, the Grands-Échezeaux vines are a prolongation of Musigny following the axis of the Côte. At the bottom end, the Combe d'Orveau separates them from Musigny. The Échezeaux vineyards divide the Clos de Vougeot from the premiers crus vines of Vosne-Romanée. Like the Clos de Vougeot (from which they are separated only by a wall), these vineyards were founded by the monks of the abbey of Cîteaux and date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Producing commune: Flagey-Echezeaux.
Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux are red wines only. Generally ruby in color, with darker purpley tones in youth. Classic Cote de Nuits spice and undergrowth aromas, with concentrated plum notes, almost prune, that evolve as musky, leathery and mushroomy. When young it is floral with fresh fruit cherry. These wines can be dense and tight to start out, giving way as the tannins soften (usually 4-5 years) to full round flavors.
Geologically jurassic, the Grands Echezeaux vineyards are fairly homogeneous and lie close to the upper part of the Clos de Vougeot at 250 meters and on a slight gradient. The soil is clay-limestone overlying bajocien limestone. The Échezeaux climats have more diverse soils (largely bajocien marls with pebbly overlay). Altitudes vary from 230 to a little over 300 meters with a 13% gradient at mid-slope. The upper slope soil is deep (70-80 cm). Gravel, red alluvium and yellow marl make up a complex sub-soil.
Red wines only - Pinot Noir
Production surface area :
Area under production* :
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Echezeaux : 34.79 ha
Grands Echezeaux : 7.53 ha
Wines so full and powerful should be served with full and powerful dishes. Autumnal and winter dishes of game and roast meats will match the meatiness of these wines. Soft-centered cows' milk cheeses will work well.
On the label, the words Grand Cru must appear directly below the name of either appellation in letters of exactly the same size.
The following specific vineyards, known as climats, are classified as Echezeaux Grand Cru:
Echézeaux du Dessus
Les Beaux Monts Bas (partly premier cru)
Les Champs Traversins
Les Cruots ou Vignes Blanches
Les Quartiers de Nuits
Les Rouges du Bas