Domaine Pinson, Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru

Domaine Pinson, Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru, 2015

  • icon-type Type

    White

  • icon-year Year

    2015

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    France

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    13%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Chardonnay 100%

Dense, full and energetic; fat and silky for the vintage but classically dry and stony. Subtle notes of pineapple and flowers add complexity. Best today on the subtle, slowly mounting back end, which spreads out to saturate the palate with liquid stone.

About Domaine Pinson

Louis Pinson himself retired in 1983 having made some fabulous old style Chablis wines. His great grand-daughter, Charlène, along with her father, Laurent and her uncle Christophe have now taken over Domaine Pinson. There is a Rue Pinson in Chablis, dating back to an earlier generation when three Pinson brothers lived in identical houses in the street.

Everything is hand-harvested, with sorting of the grapes both in the vineyard and at the winery. Fermentation is mostly in stainless steel using selected yeasts, then the wines are transferred to barrel for the maturation process. The barrels for Les Clos are one to two years old, for the premiers crus three to six years. The straight Chablis stays in stainless steel.

Grape variety
Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a ‘rite of passage’ and an easy entry into the international wine market.

The Chardonnay grape itself is neutral, with many of the flavours commonly associated with the wine being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France, to New World wines with oak and tropical fruit flavours. In cool climates (such as Chablis and the Carneros AVA of California), Chardonnay wine tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavours of green plum, apple, and pear. In warmer locations (such as the Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula in Australia and Gisborne and Marlborough region of New Zealand), the flavours become more citrus, peach, and melon, while in very warm locations (such as the Central Coast AVA of California), more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. Wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation tend to have softer acidity and fruit flavours with buttery mouthfeel and hazelnut notes.

Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne and Franciacorta in Italy.

Chardonnay's popularity peaked in the late 1980s, then gave way to a backlash among those wine connoisseurs who saw the grape as a leading negative component of the globalisation of wine. Nonetheless, it is one of the most widely planted grape varieties, with 210,000 hectares (520,000 acres) worldwide, second only to Airén among white wine grapes and fifth among all wine grapes.

Chardonnay lends itself to almost any style of wine making from dry still wines, to sparkling wines to sweet late harvest and even botrytized wines (though its susceptibility to other less favourable rot makes these wines rarer). The two winemaking decisions that most widely affect the end result of a Chardonnay wine is whether or not to use malolactic fermentation and the degree of oak influence used for the wine. With malolactic fermentation (or MLF), the harder malic acid gets converted into the softer lactic acid, and diacetyl which creates the "buttery-ness" that is associated with some styles of Chardonnay. The wines that do not go through MLF will have more green (unripe) apple like flavours. Oak can be introduced during fermentation or after in the form of the barrel aging. Depending on the amount of charring that the oak was treated with, this can introduce a "toastiness" and flavours that many wine drinkers mistake as a characteristic of the grape itself. These flavours can include caramel, cream, smoke, spice, coconut, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.

Other winemaking decisions that can have a significant effect include the temperature of fermentation and what time, if any, that the wine allowed to spend aging on the lees. Burgundian winemaking tends to favour extended contact on the lees and even "stirring up" the lees within the wine while it is aging in the barrel in a process known as bâttonage. Colder fermentation temperatures produces more "tropical" fruit flavours like mango and pineapple. The "Old World" style of winemaking favours the use of wild, or ambient yeast, though some will also use specially cultivated yeast that can impart aromatic qualities to the wine. A particular style of yeast used in Champagne is the Prise de Mousse that is cultivated for use worldwide in sparkling Chardonnay wines. A potential drawback of using wild yeast is that the fermentation process can go very slow with the results of the yeasts being very unpredictable and producing potentially a very different wine each year. One Burgundian winemaker that favours the use of only wild yeast is Domaine des Comtes Lafon which had the fermentation of its 1963 Chardonnay batch take 5 years to complete when the fermentation process normally only takes a matter of weeks.

The time of harvesting is a crucial decision because the grape quickly begins to lose acidity as it ripens. For sparkling wine production, the grapes will be harvested early and slightly unripe to maintain the acid levels. Sparkling Chardonnay based wines tend to exhibit more floral and steely flavours in their youth. As the wine ages, particularly if it spends significant time on lees, the wines will develop "toasty" notes. Chardonnay grapes usually have little trouble developing sugar content, even in cooler climates, which translates into high potential alcohol levels and limits the need for chaptalisation. On the flip side, low acid levels can be a concern which make the wine taste "flabby" and dull. Winemakers can counteract this by adding tartaric acid in a process known as "acidification". In cooler climates, the extract and acidity of Chardonnay is magnified which has the potential of producing very concentrated wines that can develop through bottle aging. Chardonnay can blend well with other grapes and still maintain some of its unique character. The grapes most often blended with Chardonnay include Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Sémillon.

Due to the "malleability" of Chardonnay in winemaking and its ability to reflect its terroir, there is not one distinct universal "style" or set of constants that could be applied to Chardonnay made across the globe. According to Jancis Robinson, a sense of "smokiness" is one clue that could be picked up in a blind tasting of Chardonnay but there are many styles that do not have any "smoky" notes. Compared to other white wine grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Viognier-Chardonnay has a more subtle and muted nose with no overwhelming aromatics that jump out of the wine glass. The identifying styles of Chardonnay are regionally based. For example, pineapple notes are more commonly associated with Chardonnay from Napa Valley while Chablis will have more notes of green apples. While many examples of Chardonnay can benefit from a few years of bottle aging, especially if they have high acidity, most Chardonnays are meant to be consumed in their youth. A notable exception to this is the most premium examples of Chablis and white Burgundies.

Alternative Names: Morillon, Pinot Chardonnay, Feiner Weisser Burgunder

About Chablis

Chablis is an historic wine-producing town and region in northern central France. It produces light, dry, white wines famed for their flinty minerality and crisp acidity. AOC Chablis wines are produced exclusively from the Chardonnay grape variety.

Chablis wines are made in a style rather different from those produced elsewhere in Burgundy. They are drier and fresher, rather than more weighty and richly flavoured. Most basic Chablis is fermented and aged in stainless steel, with use of oak barrels more common in higher-level wines, though used larger barrels are more likely to be employed than new barriques, and wines will spend a shorter time in them than in the Côte d'Or.

The town and its vineyards are located a considerable distance (more than 100 kilometres/60 miles) northwest of Burgundy's main wine-producing areas from the Côte de Nuits to the Maconnais. They are in fact closer to Sancerre (Loire) and Les Riceys (southern Champagne) and the city of Paris. Consequently, Chablis has a cooler climate than the rest of Burgundy, and similar vineyard macroclimates to Champagne.

Politically and administratively, Chablis is located in northern Burgundy, although it lies in the department of the Yonne rather than the Côte D'Or. It was a relatively late addition to the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th Century and locals do not necessarily identify as Burgundian. Despite all of these differences, the wines of Chablis tend to be classified as part of Burgundy by most retailers and other wine professionals.

The effects of terroir on wine can be seen more clearly in Chablis than almost anywhere else. A key division within Chablis lies between terroirs with Kimmeridgian soils and those with Portlandian soils. Kimmeridgian soil is more highly regarded; it contains greater levels of mineral-rich clay, as well as the essential marine fossils which are responsible for its significant lime content. Kimmeridgian soils are the source of the trademark minerality in premier and grand cru wines from Chablis. By contrast, Portlandian soils are not so rich in clay and fossils, which results in slightly fruitier wines with a less mineral profile. Petit Chablis wines are most often grown in Portlandian soils.

The vineyards of Chablis are classified into four tiers of quality. Starting from the top, they are: Chablis Grand Cru, Chablis Premier Cru, Chablis and Petit Chablis. Wines which conform to the general Chablis appellation laws may claim the classification held by the vineyard where they were grown.

The appellation AOC Chablis is the most prolific and geographically widespread of the four classifications. It was created in 1938 – at the same time as the Chablis Grand Cru appellation – to protect the Chablis name, which was being used around the world to describe wines bearing little resemblance to the real Chablis. Today, all wines carrying the Chablis title are dry whites made exclusively from Chardonnay. They must be produced from vineyards in a specifically designated area surrounding Chablis town and its nearby villages.

Chablis Premier Cru is not a distinct appellation like the other three classifications, but rather a quality sub-division of the standard AOC Chablis title. Its geographical coverage is significantly larger than that of Chablis Grand Cru. There are 40 climats (vineyard sites) around Chablis which are deemed worthy of the premier cru title, and these are further subdivided into roughly 80 specific vineyards. The wines produced under this title are made according to quality controls that are halfway between those of the Chablis and Chablis Grand Cru appellations.

Regular price $892.00

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