June 21, 2019
Leigh Ranucci is pouring a selection of French wine from the Wine Traditions portfolio.
Marcel Giraudon Bourgogne Aligoté 2018, Chitry, France
The Giraudon family has been farming and making wine in Chitry (one of four viticultural communes of the Auxerrois) for centuries. Their vineyards are on hillsides of Kimmeridgian chalky marl, the same one finds in Grand Cru Chablis. In fact, in the 19th century the wines of Chitry were sold under the name Chablis. In 1929 they were given the name “Bourgogne des Environs de Chablis”. Currently, they go by Chitry, or Bourgogne Chitry.
Aligoté accounts for only about 5% of Burgundy’s total vineyard area; it’s the region’s little known “other white grape”. In Chitry though, it makes up 40% of vines planted. Marcel Giraudon keeps yields low, harvests by hand, and allows the wine to undergo malolactic fermentation to temper its naturally high acidity. That acidity makes this wine a perfect partner for oysters, fried seafood, & salads.
Domaine du Crêt de Bine “La Cuvée de Florence” 2018 Beaujolais Blanc
The Subrin family farms this 5 hectare property in the village of Sarcy, situated on a high plateau tucked between the Monts Beaujolais and the Monts Lyonnais in the southwest corner of the Beaujolais appellation. The Subrin’s vineyard is planted on granite with significant deposits of quartz and feldspar. On average, the vines are 40 years old. François, Marie-Therèse, and daughter Florence farm organically and biodynamically. To insure maximum health and ripeness for their grapes, they severely limit the yields and harvest late into the growing season.
We tasted a barrel sample of this wine back in March with Florence herself. The chalky, silty minerality of the barrel sample has been complimented by delicately floral characteristics coming to the fore. It’s beautifully balanced and elegant. 100% Chardonnay.
Domaine du Cros Marcillac Rosé, 2018
The appellation of Marcillac is in southwestern France, nestled in the mountain range known as the Massif Central. At 22 hectares, Domaine du Cros is the largest independent producer in the appellation; Philippe Teulier and his family have been instrumental in reestablishing the reputation of Marcillac’s wines. Back in the early 80s, the family (then on its 4th generation in Marcillac) only had one hectare of vines. Since then they have added to their hectares through purchasing and renting. Philippe Teulier’s vines lie at elevations as high as 450 meters on a few different hillsides that surround the village of Clairvaux. Much of his vineyard is terraced and the soil is an iron rich clay known locally as “rougier” with outcroppings of limestone. His wines are made from one grape type, the local grape of Marcillac, Fer Servadou.
This rosé is from 25 year old vines planted on steep slopes of limestone (at the top) and rougier. The grapes are hand-harvested, and once pressed, the skins stay in contact with the juice for 6-12 hours until the desired pink hue is achieved. It’s then fermented in stainless steel and bottled in the spring. It’s a red-fruited, spicy rosé that’s perfect grill-side.
Domaine Billard Père et Fils Hautes Côtes de Beaune Rouge, 2017
Domaine de Billard is made up of 12.5 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in different appellations throughout the Cotes de Beaune. Their largest holdings are in the Hautes Cotes de Beaune with other small plots located in Saint Romain, Saint Aubin 1er Cru, Auxey Duresses, and Beaune. Yields are kept low through the use of cover crops and severe pruning. All the vines are harvested by hand and only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation. Jérôme’s father sold his wine to the local cooperative, but Jérôme is now estate bottling his entire production.
Note from Wine Traditions: The Billard HCB rouge comes from a plot of 4 hectares of alluvial clay soil. It is extracted by foot pressing, respecting the delicate nature of Pinot Noir, then matured in barrel for 10 months. A rigorous bunch selection is made in the vineyard before harvest ensuring ripe, healthy grapes; resulting in a real purity of Pinot Noir fruit expression.