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Burgundy Wine Cellars

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Type
White Wine
Domaine Germain Pere et Fils Saint Romain Blanc 2016 Image

Domaine Germain Pere et Fils Saint Romain Blanc 2016

Appellation
Saint Romain
Region
Côte de Beaune
Vintage
2016
Add To Cart
$39.00
 
SKU: EGER01W-16
Overview

With admirable yields (45hl/ha). This Saint Romain white is taken seriously right from the start. Add 30% new oak and 8-9 months of aging and batonnage, and you get a very classy Chardonnay with the unique and superbly subtle Saint Romain minerality, full, rich and dense, with elegant floral notes, good acidity in its youthful charm. We found this wine on a restaurant list in Santenay and were so impressed we went the next day to meet the producers. An excellent bottle.

Producer

DOMAINE GERMAIN PERE ET FILS

Saint Romain

The Domaine Germain Père et Fils began in 1955 with vineyards situated uniquely in Saint Romain. At the base of its cliff, Saint Romain is a picturesque village, and was one of the earliest settlements and sanctuaries of the vine in Gallo-Roman Burgundy.

Today the Domaine Germain covers more than 33 acres, with wines in Saint Romain, Pommard and Beaune. Arnaud Germain, grandson of Bernard Germain, the domain’s founder, joined his parents in 2009. The three of them together have developed both the vinicultural and the commercial side of their activities, with Germain wines winning awards in France and abroad.

Experience and modern techniques both in the vines and in the cellar combine to produce wines of excellent quality for reasonable prices. Their reasoned, curative approach to their vineyard work, manual weed control through plowing and green harvest to control yields are all key to this success.

Red wines are vinified in a traditional manner:

Harvesting by hand, manual sorting in the vineyard

Complete destemming

Vatting: pulp = aroma, pips = tannin, skin = colour

Maceration (12 to 16 days): extracting the aromas, colour and tannins

Cap-punching and pumping over: Blending the must

Alcoholic fermentation: the sugars turn into alcohol (action of the yeasts)

Devatting: pumping the juice

Transferring to barrels or vats: depending on the wine, the year, the wine we want to produce

Filtering

Bottling, washing, labelling, selling

For our white wines, the vinification steps are:

Harvesting by hand

The whole bunch is pressed

Vatting: for static clarification

Transferring to barrels or vats: depending on the wine, the year, the wine we want to produce

Blending

Tartaric stabilisation: chilling

Filtering

Bottling, washing, labelling, selling

WINES

WHITE

SAINT ROMAIN

ALIGOTE

CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE

REDS

SAINT ROMAIN

SAINT ROMAIN ‘SOUS LE CHATEAU’

SAINT ROMAIN ‘LA PERRIERE’

POMMARD

BEAUNE .MONTAGNE SAINT DESIRE’

BEAUNE 1er CRU ‘LES AIGROTS’

BEAUNE 1er CRU ‘LES MONTREVENOTS’

BOURGOGNE HAUTES COTES DE BEAUNE

BOURGOGNE ROSE

Vintage

BURGUNDY 2016 VINTAGE

If that first taste of the 2016 Burgundy vintage really grabs your attention, count yourself lucky. Lucky in the same way that wine makers in Burgundy consider themselves lucky.

The excellent 2016 vintage was a nightmare for them, running a gamut of emotions from depression to despair, then out the other side towards hope and something resembling jubilation. It’s no exaggeration to say that 2016 took its toll on the collective psyche of the region.

After a very mild winter, April was frigid, with early hail in Macon and (yet again) Chablis. Then, on the night of the 26th, a freak frost descended on much of the Cotes de Nuits and almost all of the Cote de Beaune. I say ‘freak’ because it was a winter frost, not an April frost; meaning that it hit higher up the slopes than a spring frost would, touching vineyards that almost never freeze, notably Musigny and Montrachet.

It got worse. May was cool and depressingly wet, with storms when it wasn’t drizzling. It’s then that the first corridors of mildew appeared. It hailed again in Chablis. The mood was like the weather: chilly and grey. And it continued like this until the solstice, by which time the estimates were for an overall 50% crop loss across the region. It was hard to coax a smile from even the most seasoned winemakers.

Flowering took place in mid-June and was a bit protracted. It forecast a late September harvest, 100 days away. And given what had come before, the small crop looked incredibly vulnerable.

But with the solstice came summer. A magnificent July and August, with heat enough to curb the mildew, brought exceptional conditions for grapes. Talk in the cellars turned from tales of woe to the benefits of low-yield vintages.

As always in Burgundy, September makes the wine. In 2016, the perfect amount of rain fell on September 14th, at the perfect time to counter the heat stress that the vines were starting to show. And the fruit then ripened quickly in impeccable dry and sunny conditions.

What in mid-June seemed like a doomed crop was suddenly being touted as the equivalent of 2015, and maybe even better! Low yield years give intensity and concentration. Cool vintages give good acidity and balance. 2016 was both. Not a lot of fruit; but from serious ‘vignerons’, what there was was beautiful.

The wines, both red and white, are fresh, chiseled, with balanced acidity and concentration. The whites are definitely better than the 2015s, which lacked a touch of acidity. They are cool and energetic. Maybe not to the level of the fabulous 14s, but there are many similarities.

As to the comparisons between 2015 and 2016, many commentators cite 1990 and 1991. Both 1990 and 2015 are considered among the finest red vintages in living memory. And the vintages that followed them were both low-yield vintages that suffered early frost damage. Both 1990 and 2015 were hot years; both 1991 and 2016 were relatively cool. Both 1990 and 2015 were media darlings, and still are. 1991 got lost in the blare; maybe 2016 as well. But both 1991 and 2016 are arguably much more typically Burgundian than their world-stage predecessors. Classy and classic, ‘typical’ (in the best sense of the word), the greatest fault of the 2016 vintage could be its irregularity.

Remember, this was a tough one for Burgundy. For some producers, it was the fourth consecutive year that their vineyards were damaged and their yields were low. There had not been a ‘normal’ crop since 2009, so their cellars were empty. And when we talk of 50% crop loss, that’s an average across the region. Some areas had zero crop.

So when we get excited about the quality of the 2016s, we need a little restraint as well. Not everyone did the meticulous vineyard work that was necessary to get through the horrible start. As always, if you want to find the best wines, you need to know the best producers. Another important consideration in a low-yield vintage is the shortage of grapes, which means that the big negociant houses can have trouble sourcing fruit. Be careful with negociant wines in 2016. Buy from tried-and-true producers.

Appellation

SAINT ROMAIN

COTE DE BEAUNE

Saint Romain stands at the foot of an impressive rock outcrop, with a magnificent view out over the Saone River valley and across the vineyards below. Because of this commanding position, there have been settlements on this spot since early pre-historic times. And so some of the earliest plantations of vines were in this protected narrow valley, just off-line from the main escarpment of the Côte d’Or to the west of Auxey-Duresses. Above and beyond the village are vineyards classified Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Appellation Saint Romain can be either white or red, and the grapes are the traditional Burgundian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Produced in the commune of Saint Romain, the appellation Saint Romain has no premiers or grands crus. However, many wines mention the name of the single-vineyard (climat) from which they originate.

Wines

There are several distinct soil zones in the valley leading up to the village of Saint Romain. Coming up the valley from Auxey-Duresses, vines on the left are apt to be Pinot Noir. On the right in a south-facing amphitheater, you find the majority of the village vineyards. And here there is a distinct difference in soil make up, with the hills flanking to the left being better for Chardonnay. Traditionally, Saint Romain was white, but producers have found parcels that work well for Pinot, so that today white accounts for about 55% of the production.

Chardonnay benefits from a rich vein of limestone here (calcaire actif) that gives Saint Romain whites a distinctive freshness in their minerality. Lemony notes are frequently lime tinted. And white floral notes are common.

Pinot Noir shows itself as ruby red in youth with red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry. These wines drink well young, especially in riper years, with forward fruit and spicy mineral notes. They have aging potential up to 10 years.

Terroirs

Notably higher (at between 350-410 meters) and cooler than the rest of the Cote d’Or, these vineyards have the potential to produce a style of Burgundy all their own. With a very interesting mix of geologic strata based on lias from the earliest Jurassic period, we get swirls of limestone and marl, notably calcaire actif that is particularly interesting for Chardonnay and produces a specific minerality completely different from other zones of white Burgundy production.

Color

Red wines - Pinot Noir

White wines - Chardonnay

Production surface area

1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres

Reds: 39.22 ha

Whites: 57.03 ha

Food

The freshness in the minerality of Saint Romain white makes it a perfect aperitif wine. But it also lends itself to preparations similar to those you choose for Chablis. Escargot, goat cheese, shellfish in general and oysters in particular. Saint Romain reds can be elegant and velvety, but are often most appreciated for the lustiness of youth. Perfumed and spicy, it goes well with white meats and veal, and roasted birds.

Appellations

The following are village climats:

Au Bas de Poillange

Combe Bazin

En Chevrot

En Gollot

En Poillange

L'Argillat

La Croix Neuve

La Périère

Le Dos d'Ane

Le Jarron

Le Marsain

Le Village Bas

Le Village Haut

Sous la Velle

Sous le Château

Sous Roche

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