2012 Domaine Blain Gagnard Montrachet Grand Cru
Grand Cru White 750 ml
Tasted: Jun 15, 2014
Note: Blain produces 1 to 2 barrels annually
Producer note: The always understated Jean-Marc Blain, like many of his colleagues, noted that 2012 "threw everything but the kitchen sink at us. In addition to the lousy flowering we had a severe frost in Chassagne in the flatter portion of the vineyards which cost us a lot of potential yield. Then we had a severe attack of mildew along with oidium, sunburn and a second passage of hail and then a third! All in all, it was a tough year for viticulture. We picked from the 18th to the 23rd of September and even though the fruit appeared to be clean we elected to do a very thorough lees settling as you simply cannot be too careful with hailed fruit. You can't make clean wine without clean lees so we did our best to be sure that the fruit, and the associated less, were impeccable. While this was indispensable in my view, it eliminated even more fruit and in some parcels we were down as much as 75% compared to a normal vintage. That said, I would put our average reduction at around 50%, which is still considerable given that 2010 and 2011 cannot be described as abundant. As to the wines, they're structured and concentrated yet remain reasonably elegant and I think the fact that we did virtually no lees stirring contributed to this sense of refinement. They should drink well both young and old as the concentration and ripeness will allow them to be enjoyed young but age too if that's what clients would prefer." Blain noted that the 2012s were bottled in February, 2013 without fining or filtration. Note that there is no Chassagne "Morgeot" or Volnay "Champans" in 2012. (Diageo Château and Estate Wines, www.diageowines.com, Napa, CA; Majestic Wine Warehouse, www.majestic.co.uk, Laytons, www.laytons.co.uk, John Armit Wines, www.armit.co.uk and Haynes, Domaine Direct, www.domainedirect.co.uk, Hanson & Clark, www.hhandc.co.uk, all UK).
Tasting note: There is again enough reduction to push the fruit to the background but it does seem ripe. The palate impression of the big-bodied flavors provides a most interesting contrast compared to those of the Criots and the Bâtard as here it is almost strict and compact before terminating in a linear and bone dry finish that is notably austere at present. This will sound like an absurd analogy but this is so dry and even has iodine nuances that it could reasonably be compared to a grand cru Chablis even though I would not expect this character to persist. In sum, while not as big or powerful as the Bâtard, this is finer and every bit as persistent plus it will need more time in bottle to arrive at its apogee.