Domaine Mouton Givry 1er Cru 'Clos Jus' 2015
Domaine Mouton's aptly-named 'Clos Jus' ('jus' means 'juice') is the Mouton wine we go to first. Always ripe and juicy, ready to drink relatively early. Minerality is the key here, from a vineyard with different soil make-up to the rest of the appellation. Dark fruit, earth notes, delicate structure fleshed out to fullness. We appreciate the finesse in the winemaking, an unstinting perfectionism that has been communicated across a generation. The self-effacing Moutons would be the last to admit it, but for us their wines are nearly always perfect.
Gerard Mouton and his son Laurent work about 24 acres of vines, mostly in ‘appellation’ Givry in the Cote Chalonnaise. We've know them since Laurent was just a little boy. They make four Givry first growths. But we start here with our favorite, the aptly-named 'Clos Jus'. Always ripe and juicy, ready to drink relatively early. We appreciate the finesse in the winemaking, an unstinting perfectionism that has been communicated across a generation. For us their wines are always perfect.
BURGUNDY 2015 VINTAGE
We have resisted writing the Elden Selections Burgundy 2015 harvest report until now (April 2017), mainly to let the hub-bub and hyperbole settle down, but more importantly to be sure that the claims we are about to make are justified. We’ve seen too many vintages vaunted as ‘the year of the century’, when really the wines simply showed well young. Burgundy 2015 is a truly extraordinary vintage. The reds are rich, ripe, balanced and powerful. And from all over the region they express chiseled, focused terroir. Despite their youthful seductive charm, these are wines to keep, with serious ripe tannins already melted into explosive fruit.
Comparisons have been drawn with the 2005 vintage, though there is more concentration in the 2015s than in the 2005s. Like a caterpillar changing to a butterfly, great vintages often go to sleep in the bottle. And 2005 is just reawakening from several ‘dumb’ years. It’s been worth the wait. The wines have metamorphosed. 2015 might be similar. And if the comparison is apt, investors in 2015 should appreciate the youthful beauty of this great vintage now, but be prepared to be patient.
That said, 2005 was no ‘year of the century’. But 2015 is also being compared to 1990, which arguably was. And I hear that Michel Lafarge, one of Burgundy’s respected elders, says he remembers drinking 1929s, and he draws parallels. The whites are a bit more uneven, and early reports claimed that the vintage lacks acidity. Certainly, these are wines which are riper and more luxuriant than the exquisite purity of 2014 white Burgundy. But there is no risk that well-made wines will be overly ample or flabby. The best wines will have benefited from the barrel. Comparisons are drawn to 1985, one of the great vintages in white.
The heterogeneity in 2015 white Burgundy is due to the tricky growing season, which was mostly hot and dry, but which cooled significantly in September. Was it better to pick early or late? And did the wine deserve more or less barrel aging? These are questions which will be answered producer-by-producer, bottle-by-bottle over the coming years. But what is clear is that they 2015s are concentrated, fresh and structured.
We believe that to understand a vintage, it is important to look at the weather. Because Burgundy is a single-grape wine, the only thing that changes from year to year in a producer’s vineyard is the weather. So we look for patterns and try to analyze what makes a good year, a bad year…and in this case, an excellent year.
The winter of 2014-2015 was uneventful. It was never really cold, but when it was, it was dry. Mostly it was mild, so we had more rain than snow. We would need the replenished water reserves in the long hot summer ahead.
April was warm and dry, and bud-burst took place early. Mornings in May were sunny, afternoons cloudy, and overall cool and dry. The vines began to flower in the last week of the month, so we knew we were looking at a harvest in early to mid-September.
In early July, the mood started to mount towards hopeful. The weather had been steady, dry and cool. But slowly during the month, temperatures began to rise, and in the last week of July hit 30C. The flowering had been successful, so there was a good crop on the vines.
Day after day of warm dry conditions brought drought considerations into play. But no hail for once! August continued in this way. Hot and dry. A little welcome rain later in the month, but just enough to keep the stress levels down. But no storms or hail. And extremely healthy fruit on the vine. No rot, no mildew, no odium. The mood was optimistic, even euphoric.
Harvest ostensibly started the first Monday of September. And days later the weather broke, and a cool period set in for ideal harvest conditions, stabilizing acidity levels. It stayed this way until September 12th when the first serious rain in two months fell in the southern part of the region. Harvest was disrupted for a few days, but the 19th, it was pretty much all over.
The Cote Chalonnaise begins at the southern tip of the Cote de Beaune, but covers a different ridge slightly to the east. The five Cote Chalonnaise appellations run generally north to south from Bouzeron, through Rully, with Mercurey covering a basin a bit more to the west, then on down to Givry and finally Montagny. The big town is Chalon-sur Saone, but in spirit you are closer to Chassagne-Montrachet and Volnay. Givry (with its hamlets of Poncey, Cortiambles and Russilly), Dracy-le-Fort, and Jambles form a distinct wine production zone. Here red wines represent 80% of the appellation, and there are 240 acres of premier cru red (and a mere 24 acres of premier cru white).
Produced in the communes of Givry, Dracy-le-Fort and Jambles, the appellation Givry includes 26 premiers crus.
Givry is primarily a red wine made from Pinot Noir. A good one will be brilliant crimson with purple hints in youth. The nose should be floral with red and black woodland fruits. It can be spicy, black pepper and cloves, and gamey as it ages. It can show tight tannins early on, and generally needs 3 to 5 years to fully come around, showing structure and fullness, and at the same time supple finesse.
White Givry is Chardonnay, and should be a bright, limpid pale gold. Aromas of honey and lemon show good structure, while tight floral and dried fruit notes develop with age. A good Givry white is delicate, with enough balance between alcohol and acidity to leave a long finish and the promise of aging well.
Much of the area is planted on brown soils derived from the breakdown of Oxfordian Jurassic limestone and clay limestone. Most of the vines are planted facing east-south-east or due south at altitudes between 240 and 280 meters with some slightly higher.
Mainly reds - Pinot NoirWhite wines - Chardonnay
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Reds : 223.52 ha (including 96.68 ha premier cru)
Whites : 45.46 ha (including 9.45 ha premier cru)
The firm structure of the reds enrobes a delicate center, and makes this a great wine for charcuterie of all types: pâtés and terrines, as well as cured hams. However, it is solid enough for roast beef joints and braised and stewed fibrous cuts. We're not far from Bresse here, so poultry (especially the famous blue-footed Bresse chicken) is often on the menu in better local restaurants. It is equally well-matched with soft cheeses like Camembert, Brie and Reblochon.
Givry whites are well matched with fish in light sauces. Freshwater fish like pike and pike-perch from the Saone river are the base of many traditional dishes of the area. As for cheeses, try pressed-curd cheeses such as Saint-Nectaire and Cantal.
On the label, the appellations 'Givry' and 'Givry 1er Cru' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
A Vigne Rouge
Clos de la Baraude
Clos du Cras long
Clos du Vernoy
La Grande Berge
Le Petit Prétan
Les Bois Chevaux
Les Bois Gautiers
Les Grandes Vignes
Les Grands Prétans
Clos du Cellier aux Moines
La Petite Berge
Le Champ Lalot
Le Pied du Clou
Pied de Chaume
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit.
Brusseaux de Charron
Champ la Dame
Clos de la Brûlée
Les Plants Sont Fleuris
Les Vignes Rondes
Teppe des Chenèves