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Burgundy Wine Cellars

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Type
White Wine
Domaine Philippe Charmond Macon-Vergisson 2015

Domaine Philippe Charmond Macon-Vergisson 2015

Appellation
Pouilly Fuisse
Region
Maconnais
Vintage
2015
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Overview

Vergisson gives its name to this lively Macon-Villages Chardonnay. Situated on the flanks of the the Roche de Vergission and with the rock at Solutre as a backdrop, this is one of the prettiest corners in the Maconnais. This is a charming wine, natural and fresh with the mineral persistence of a full-fledged Pouilly-Fuisse. It’s a weighty Chardonnay, with lemony and buttery notes, and hints of apricot and peach. Good acidity, with a driven edge and a long mineral finish.

Producer

The village of Vergisson, perched on the flanks of the Roche de Vergisson and with the rock of Solutre as a backdrop, is one of the prettiest villages in the Maconnais. It is also one of the rockiest. Therefore, there are as many styles of Chardonnay here as there are rock faces, expositions and elevations. Philippe Charmond’s uncle was a grape farmer, and in 1987 handed over his 16 acres of vines to Philippe. It was not until 2001 that the domain produced its first estate-bottled wines, and the main goal of the production since then has been to modernize the winery to be better able to control fermentation, storage and bottling. Much of this requires investment. It is the Catch-22 of all small-production domains. But the difference between good and great wine is not only in the physical equipment of the winery. In fact, the most important element separating good and great is attention to detail, perfection. So Philippe Charmond has been working, literally, from the ground up to make great wine. Plowing rather than herbicides. Sexual confusion rather than insecticides. Manual harvest. Whole cluster fermentation. And an important investment in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.

Vintage

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.

Appellation

POUILLY-FUISSE

MACONNAIS

The rocky outcrops of Solutré and Vergisson, emblematic of these vineyards, remind us 20,000 years ago one of the most fully evolved prehistoric cultures flourished here. The region is a magnificent landscape, and the wine villages are charming tourist destinations. Pouilly and Fuisse are two distinct villages in the production zone, but their wines and those from the villages of Vergisson and Chaintre are sold under the Pouilly-Fuisse appellation.

Produced in the communes of Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, Vergisson and Chaintré.

Wines

Pouilly-Fuisse should be elegant and full of charm, with its distinctive minerality to the fore. It ranges in color from pale to golden, and the nose, often dominated by flinty smoke can be nutty, floral, citric, biscuity, grassy and honeyed, making this one of the most varied of the white Burgundies. Terroir plays heavily in the wines from this appellation, and accounts for the enormous number of named vineyards being bottled separately. An experienced taster can distinguish zones and even individual vineyards. Pouilly-Fuisse, well made, is a noble wine, opulent and structured.

Terroirs

Lying on a foundation of fossiliferous limestone identical to those found further north in the Côte-d'Or, the bajocien escarpments of Solutré and Vergisson owe their dramatic profile to the presence of hard fossil corals which have resisted erosion. The vines are planted on the slopes and at the foot of these two hills on clay-limestone soils of jurassic origin mixed with scree from the upper slopes and, in one spot, schist. The hillsides are cut into by little steep-sided streams which give the slopes an easterly or south-easterly exposure. Altitudes are 200 to 300 meters.

Color

White wines only - Chardonnay

Production surface area

1 hectare (ha) = 2,4 acres

757.20 ha

Food

Rich and complex, Pouilly-Fuisse has a characteristic hint of minerality which makes it work with some noble ingredients like crustaceans (king prawns, lobster, crayfish) and foie gras. When acidity and minerality are in balance, it goes well with white meats such as veal or poultry in cream sauce, as well with the goat's cheese that the region is famous for. Its aromatic power means it can also match spicy and perfumed dishes such as couscous, tajines, or sweet-and-sour oriental dishes.

Appellations

On the label, the appellation 'Pouilly-Fuisse' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.

The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit:

A la Chaneau

A la Cotonne

A la Croix Bonne

Au Bois Billon

Au Bourg

Au Bucherat

Au Buchot

Au Chapal

Au Clos

Au Gaulia

Au Gros Bois

Au May

Au Métertière

Au Moule

Au Peloux

Au Sauge

Au Suif

Au Vignerais

Aux Bouthières

Aux Chailloux

Aux Charmes

Aux Combes

Aux Concizes

Aux Coreaux

Aux Grands Champs

Aux Morlays

Aux Murs

Aux Plantés

Aux Prats

Aux Quarts

Aux Vignes Dessus

Barvay

Beauregard

Bois Dayer

Bois de Lacroix

Bois des Fousses

Bois du Molard

Bois Lafaye

Bois Sansonnet

Bois Seguin

Champ Potard

Champ Ruy

Clos de la Maison

Clos Gaillard

Combe Poncet

Derrière la Maison

En Bertillonne

En Bonnard

En Buland

En Buterie

En Carmentrant

En Cenan

En Champ Roux

En Charmont

En Chatenay

En Chauffaille

En Courtesse

En France

En Larzille

En Nanche

En Ouche

En Pomard

En Pragne

En Recepey

En Ronchevat

En Rontenoux

En Rousselaine

En Servy

En Tancul

En Tillier

En Vallée

L'Arse

La Barrière

La Baudotte

La Bergerie

La Brétaude

La Bucharlatte

La Cadole

La Carrière

La Chardette

La Chattière

La Corège

La Côte

La Croix Pardon

La Dépendaine

La Folle

La Frérie

La Gorge au Loup

La Grange Murger

La Grouillère

La Maréchaude

La Mouille

La Petite Bruyère

La Roue

La Ruère

La Teppe Charpy

La Terre Jeanduc

La Toule

La Truche

La Verchère

La Vigne des Verchères

Lamure

Le Bois des Taches

Le Carron

Le Champ Rocher

Le Clos

Le Clos de Monsieur Noly

Le Clos Reyssier

Le Grand Pré

Le Haut de Savy

Le Martelet

Le Moulin

Le Nambret

Le Plan

Le Repostère

Le Routé

Le Sabotier

Le Sang Clos

Les Belouzes

Les Bois Denis

Les Brulés

Les Chardonnets

Les Chataigniers

Les Chevaux

Les Chevrières

Les Combettes

Les Condemines

Les Courtelongs

Les Crays

Les Creuzettes

Les Croux

Les Fourneaux

Les Gerbeaux

Les Grandes Terres

Les Guilloux

Les Insarts

Les Jettes

Les Longues Raies

Les Ménétrières

Les Murgers

Les Perrières

Les Piasses

Les Plessis

Les Prâles

Les Préauds

Les Prés Hauts

Les Prouges

Les Quarts

Les Robées

Les Rontets

Les Rossins

Les Scélés

Les Séries

Les Terres du Perret

Les Travers

Les Verchères

Les Verchères de Savy

Les Vernays

Les Vieilles Plantes

Les Vignes Blanches

Les Vignes des Taches

Long Poil

Maison du Villard

Mont Garcin

Petite Croix

Petites Bruyères

Pierre Lotey

Plan de Bourdon

Pouilly

Pré de Vaux

Pré des Aires

Solutré

Sous le Four

Sur la Roche

Sur la Rochette

Sur les Moulins

Vergisson

ers Agnières

Vers Châne

Vers Cras

Vers Faux

Vers la Croix

Vers la Roche

Vers Pouilly

Vers Saint Léger

Vignes de la Fontaine

Vignes de la Hys

Vignes de la l'Eau

Vignes de la Roche

Vignes Derrière

Vignes des Champs

Vignes du Riat

Vignes Mottin

Vignes sur la Fontaine

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