2015 Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Clos des Murees 1er Cru Monopole

Year: 2015
Appellation: Cote de Beaune
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 91-93
Vinous Media: 89-91
Burghound: 90
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$69.95

"The 2015 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Clos des Murées, a monopole of the domaine, is more austere on the nose than the other crus, though there is just a touch of anise developing with time that lends a soupçon of exoticism. The palate is medium-bodied with fine delineation. There is palpable energy here, fanning out gently with a spiciness developing on the finish. One of best wines that I have tasted from this vineyard, this comes highly recommended.

It is always a pleasure to chew the fat with winemaker Celine Fontaine. Last year she was expecting a child, not that you could easily tell with her willowy frame, and now one year later, she has the joy of sleepless nights once again. That is not something I miss with my own sprogs growing up. Once I had dispensed my parental advice (similar to the one I gave to Alec Seysses at Dujac) we buckled down to taste through Fontaine-Gagnard’s 2015s commencing with the reds. “There was surprising acidity in the reds,” she explained. “They had very good ripeness levels. When we analyzed the fruit from the same village, there was a great difference between the whites and the reds. With respect to the whites, we knew from the beginning of August that the malic acid was low. We had planned to pick the 12 September at flowering, but in the end we started earlier on 1 September after a warm spell at the end of August. We finished on 6 September. It was not an easy period to pick because we had to get pickers earlier. We have a group that has been coming for many years...friends mainly...that come from all regions in France. They needed to take holidays and some of them could not change at the last moment. So it was not easy to find the right moment to pick. Some people picked earlier but I think it was too warm. After talking with the laboratory, they said there was nothing to gain apart from volumes. The potential alcohol was 12.5° to 13.0° for the whites. The volume in Chassagne is lower in 2015 than 2014 since we lost one-quarter of the crop, although in Volnay and Pommard it is a little bit more. In Pommard les Rugiens we have enroulement [leaf-roll] so the ripeness does reach the best quality. So we may re-plant this parcel.”

Fontaine-Gagnard’s 2015s continue the strong run of form that has defined recent vintages. Even if they generally do not possess the razor-sharp delineation, the mineral-drive of the splendid 2014s, they are very well balanced and seem determined to give early-drinking pleasure,—though there are exceptions, most notably the outstanding Chassagne La Romanée. The grand crus are delightful, the Montrachet living up to the billing, closely followed by the Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet. I should also mention the commendable and oft-overlooked reds. As I commented to Celine, the vintage has bestowed less rustic versions of red Chassagne that can often represent great value in the market." (WA)

"(from vines planted in on shallow, rocky soil in 1971): Bright, light yellow. Deeply pitched aromas of yellow fruits, spices, menthol and white pepper. Quite ripe owing to the vines' sheltered, less-ventilated position in a walled vineyard but also harder than the Clos Saint-Jean and dominated by its structure in the early going. Conveys an impression of sucrosité countered by earth and mineral elements. Finishes broad, firm and a bit tannic. This wine will need a couple years of bottle aging." (VM)

"Notes of smoky reduction presently dominate the underlying fruit though I suspect it will eventually dissipate as this ages. Otherwise there is a bit more volume and richness if less minerality to the medium weight flavors that possess better vibrancy as well as slightly better complexity on the balanced and dry finish." (BH)