From 2016 & 2015 White Burgundy (Sep 2017)
by Stephen Tanzer
Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot
Jean-Marc Pillot told me that based on the frost in 2016 and the date of the flowering he should have picked on October 3, but in the end he started on September 22 owing to the sustained hot weather from mid-July through mid-September. There were 65 millimeters of rain on September 14, said Pillot, and although the grapes swelled, he maintained that the precipitation was a net positive. Grape sugars began at 12.3% and Pillot chaptalized his lighter cuvées to 13% or a bit higher. Overall, he lost about 70% of his Chardonnay in 2016, and made virtually no Chenevottes or Vergers.
Pillot told me that he finds the ’16s less dense as well as less aromatic than the ’15s due to the heat and grillure, yet he finds more minerality in the newer crop of wines. “The wines had a bit of a hole in the middle before the malolactic fermentations,” he told me, “but they took on more flesh and richness with the malos,” which finished between January and April. Pillot showed me his ’16s from one-year-old barrels, which he felt would be most representative of the final blends.
As to his 2015s in bottle, Pillot described them as “rich, dense, thick wines with enormous volume.” He believes that they will be best to drink over the next five years. Yes, it was a very sunny year, he told me, but he also stressed that “2003 is my only truly atypical vintage.”
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Saint-Romain (M)
Aromas of apple, lemon and wet stone. Juicy, spicy wine with modest flesh but solid minerality and good cut to its flavors of lemon and menthol. Finishes with a peppery nuance.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes 1er Cru
(13.3% alcohol without chaptalization): Pale, bright yellow. Discreet aromas of yellow peach, spices and anise. Sweet peach and pear flavors offers moderate depth but good freshness, in spite of the fact that this wine finished its malo by the end of January. The spicy finishes shows a faint bitter edge but good length and lift. Pillot believes that the slight bitterness shown by a few of his 2016s is due to their concentration and their high skin-to-juice ratio. (The Montagny Les Gouresses offered ripe stone fruit and lemon drop flavors and a round palate feel but a trace of malic acidity made it difficult to assess with confidence.)
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Puligny-Montrachet Les Noyers Brets
(12.3% potential alcohol chaptalized to 13%; from a good crop of 50 hectoliters per hectare): Pure aromas of peach and orange oil complicated by hazelnut and fresh herbs. A silky, elegant midweight, offering a harmonious balance between sweetness and acidity. Finishes with good length and grip for village wine.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Macharelles 1er Cru
Pale yellow. Pure aromas of peach, pear and gingerbread. Fatter and broader than the Noyers Brets, but drier and less harmonious today. Ultimately a more classic and serious wine but needs more time in barrel.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Les Fairendes 1er Cru
(production here was just 25 hectoliters per hectare, according to Pillot): Pale yellow. Distinctive nose hints at redcurrant and vanilla seed. A bit exotic on entry, then densely packed but in an essentially gentle, plush, harmonious style, with a pear flavor emerging with air. Turns firmer and more serious on the back end, finishing with good citrussy grip and length. This rather idiosyncratic 2016 combines higher-than-average acidity (4.7 grams per liter) with a rather elevated pH (3.32).
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru
(12.9% potential alcohol chaptalized to 13.5%; Pillot has six barrels of this juice, compared to a normal eight): Lemon and orange aromas are enlivened by a mineral element. Fat, thick and slightly exotic yet with good inner-mouth tension owing to serious spicy minerality and 5.3 grams per liter acidity. Finishes a bit aggressive and faintly bitter-edged but broad and long. No shortage of minerality here.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines 1er Cru
(12.8% potential alcohol chaptalized to 13.4%; Pillot had a normal crop but did not use any new oak for this cuvée): Aromas of pear, menthol and flinty minerality. Silky, dense and ripe yet dry, conveying an almost voluptuous texture in the context of the vintage. Finishes with an exotic suggestion of orange zest and very good length. This is distinctly lower than the Caillerets in acidity, at 4.4 grams per liter, but is energized by its calcaire site.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers Clos Saint-Marc 1er Cru
(13.1% natural alcohol; Pillot told me that half of his 0.5-hectare holding from this walled vineyard within Les Vergers is 100-year-old vines and the other half was planted in 2003; prior to 2016, the young vines were declassified into Pillot’s Vergers bottling): Bright, light yellow. Lovely perfumed nose offers orange zest and crushed stone. Large-scaled and powerful but very fine-grained, with opulent flavors of soft citrus and stone fruits and saline crushed-stone minerality. Thick for the year but with terrific orange zest lift. The wine’s bulletproof fruit pushes everything out of its way and resounds on the finish. Very strong for the year but I would not describe this as delicate.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (M)
(this fruit comes from Blair Pethel’s Domaine Dublère): Bright yellow. Aromas of menthol, baked bread and nuts come across as a bit tired and in need of a sulfur addition. Fat and sweet but a bit heavy and lacking in definition, with soft citrus flavors dominating. Edgy on the finish. Not a great showing.
2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru
(13.5% alcohol without chaptalization; as of vintage 2015, Pillot is aging his single barrel of this juice in a once-used cask): Bright, light yellow. Inviting scents of lemon and orange zest and crushed rock suggests a sweet wine. Then very rich and concentrated in the mouth, with ripe pineapple, passion fruit and anise flavors conveying a strong impression of dry extract. Finishes with a slight orange zest bitterness and a slowly emerging saline rocky quality. The Clos Saint-Marc shows even more stuffing than this wine today, but the Chevalier-Montrachet may be longer. This wine’s very ripe fruit and firm (4.5 g/l) acidity will need time to harmonize.
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes 1er Cru
Pale yellow. Aromas and flavors of orange oil and smoke. Plush and sweet, offering a mouthcoating impression of dry extract. This thick, seamless wine finishes with a slightly tannic impression.
90 Drinking Window: 2018 – 2022
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Les Fairendes 1er Cru
Tighter on the nose than the Chaumes, offering scents of orange oil and ginger. The palate displays a lovely balance of viscosity, density and energy but seems a bit more affected today by the bottling than the Chaumes. This very ripe but sappy wine finishes with an impression of power.
91 Drinking Window:2019 – 2023
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Macharelles 1er Cru
Citrus and flinty mineral aromas are complicated by a note of breadcrumb. Initially tight on the palate, showing less obvious sweetness than the Morgeot Les Fairendes. In a more dry, linear, classic style, this premier cru finishes with a touch of youthful bitterness and needs some time in bottle. Riper stone fruit notes emerged with aeration.
92 Drinking Window: 2019 – 2024
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru
Subtle aromas of orange zest and lemon lifted by calcaire minerality. Distinctly silky and feminine in texture, displaying lovely finesse and energy for the year in spine of what Pillot describes as relatively low acidity (about 4 grams per liter). Finishes very long and thick, with a repeating chalky quality.
92 Drinking Window: 2018 – 2024
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines 1er Cru
Bright yellow. Tight aromas of crushed rock and flowers are complicated by sexy red fruit suggestions of strawberry and redcurrant. At once thick and dry–in fact almost bitter-edged–displaying excellent density and richness but coming across as a bit youthfully compressed. Finishes quite firm-edged, with a metallic flinty quality. Pillot loves this wine but I found myself wanting a bit more fruit.
91+ Drinking Window: 2018 – 2024
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers Clos Saint-Marc 1er Cru
(one of the three barrels was new; 13.4% alcohol with 3.6 grams of acidity): Bright, light yellow. Tight but pure aromas of lemon, orange, spices, menthol and stone. Concentrated, tactile and seamless but with firm acidity and a low pH for the year giving the wine an impression of power. Boasts superb thickness with serious lift. Not a particularly elegant vintage for this bottling but deep, layered and long.
93 Drinking Window: 2020 – 2026
2015 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru
The very reticent nose combines an exotic soft citrus character with chalky crushed stone. Very dry and backward, even strict, with dried fruit, pineapple and hazelnut flavors complicated by a salty quality. Finishes with terrific thrust and power but needs time.
92+ Drinking Window: 2020 – 2028