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Type
White
Domaine Germain Pere et Fils Saint Romain Blanc 2017

Domaine Germain Pere et Fils Saint Romain Blanc 2017

Appellation
Saint Romain
Region
Côte de Beaune
Vintage
2017
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$45.00
 
SKU: EGER01W-17
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 2017

If 2016 tested the faith and resolve of wine makers in Burgundy, 2017 has to be seen as recompense, and as a miracle of sorts. While the rest of wine-growing Europe suffered crippling late-spring frosts in 2017, Burgundy for the most part (for once!) survived.

A mild winter and an accelerated spring left the Burgundy vineyards in a vulnerable position when, in the second half of April, temperatures across France barely rose above freezing for two weeks.

Three hard-frost nights pretty much did in Right Bank Chablis once again. But as the rest of Burgundy survived the first week, the growers found the will to fight back. And on the night of April 27th, a year and a day after the 2016 frost that took 80% of the 2016 harvest, a severe frost was forecast for the length of the Cote d’Or.

It’s now a part of local legend how, on the following morning, we awoke in a thick cloud of smoke.  In the early hours, from north to south, the vignerons had mobilized to set alight dampened bales of hay, sending up a cloud cover to filter the first burning rays of dawn. And it worked.

The air was thick, and driving was tricky. A customer at the butcher shop in Meursault jokingly asked for a smoked chicken. And, of course, the authorities were up in arms over the pollution risks.  But the crop was saved, and there has been ever since a spirit of cooperation and solidarity not often seen in farming communities.

After the freeze, May brought in an extended period of warm dry weather.  No mildew or oidium to speak of, no thunderstorms or hail.  Sunny periods, but no lack of rain.  And the vines went in to flower at a very-normal first week of June. Pretty much ideal.

July had a couple of heat spikes, and a hailstorm hit the fancy vineyards in Morey St Denis on the 10th. But nothing worse. August was warm; the lead up to the harvest at the end of the month, hot and dry.

The first grapes were picked in the Cote de Beaune in the last few days of August.  And most everyone was out picking in the first week of September.

There was (as there often is in Burgundy) serious disagreement in 2017 about when to pick. Do you pick early to preserve the acid-sugar balance and freshness?  Or do you hang in there and wait for a little rain to kick-start a stalled photosynthesis, and thereby achieve the holy grail of phenolic maturity?

It’s hard to say who was right.  There are very good wines coming from both camps. But there are iffy wines too.  And that’s the key to understanding 2017.

Picked early, the best wines, both red and white, are fresh, fruit-driven and floral with long minerality.  The iffy wines seem not have adjusted for the solid levels of tartaric acid which left them tart rather than bright, dry and tannic rather than juicy.

Picking late did not seem to have an effect on the balance between alcohol and acidity.  But then, there was no ‘over maturity’ in 2017.  The extra phenolic maturity seems to mean more density and riper tannins, with no sign of flabbiness.

The whites shine, particularly in hard-done Chablis (where there is better balance even than the marvelous 2014s).  In the rest of Burgundy, the whites have the tension of 2014 but the open flattery of 2015.

The reds are juicy and crisp and open, and the regional appellations will be ready to drink soon. More serious appellations will be considered ‘typical’, in the best sense of the word: classic wines from a vintage that Burgundians will love. They are likely to be lost in the hub-bub that the 2018s will bring.  But the yields were good in 2017, so you will be able to find them for a while.  And you’ll do well to seek them out.

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

Harvest Date
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