Odyssey of Burgundy

Edrington Wine Group Hong Kong organized a Burgundy adveture wine tasting recently featuring some real fine wines from Burgundy. One of the highlights was the 1ER CHABLIS, Originally founded in 1755, Albert Pic is one of Chablis’ oldest houses. In 1985 Baron Patrick de Ladoucette took control of the house and began making important changes. His experience in modernizing the Ladoucette cellars in Pouilly-sur -Loire inspired Baron Patrick to make similar changes at Albert Pic: thermo-controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks, sodium lamps in the aging sheds to prevent the disagreeable taste produced by light, and many other improvements.
These new installations have produced exceptional results, proving that one does not always have to use oak barrels to make top quality wines. The Pic 1er Chablis is produced from selected old vines of Chablis first growths, only in the best vintages. The wine is released only after a minimum of five years aging. As a tribute to the winery’s long history, the 1er Chablis is presented in a reproduction of an old Albert Pic bottle. This delicate and racy 1er Chablis comes with the classic aromas of Chablis white flowers, acacia and honey and shows great elegance and finesse on the palate.15 days of fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation. Clarified in a fining agent and matured in stainless steel tanks for 12 months. Aged five to ten years before release.
Domaine Laroche owns 4.56 hectares of this Grand Cru, about the third of the total growth. “Blanchots” takes its name after the white clay found on this exceptionally steep slope. Green and blue clay in the soil can be found, Kimmeridgian soil on the top and ammonites with a diameter of 70 cm. A wonderful cocktail for paleontologists and, for vines, an ideal combination to keep the right amount of water for roots. East-south exposure can be great, that is what Blanchots demonstrates. Old vines bring grapes to full ripeness without compromising mineral character and aromatic finesse. The combination of clay, Kimmeridgian soil, 41 B rootstock and slow-ripening conditions has a positive impact on aroma and acid. From year to year, Blanchots exhibits wonderful finesse and aroma complexity.

All vines are ploughed to aerate the soil and encourage the development of natural life. Vines are pruned and trained by hand. Whole bunches are collected in a pneumatic press. Then must settles for the next 12 hours at 12 to 15 °C in large vats. The must ferments at 20°C for 3 weeks. Then 30 % of the wines are aged in French oak of which 25% new. Combined to a moderate toasting, it allows a bright and pure fruit expression. The La Réserve de l’Obédience cultivates a 4,56 hectares vineyard in Grand Cru Blanchots on 8 different plots. Each one has its own personality: vine age, location on the slope, rootstock, origin of the variety and soil depth vary much, implying a number of nuances of style. Vintage conditions also greatly matter. For instance, a vineyard with favourable sun exposure may be too warm in sunny vintages; a vineyard with less sun to give more balanced grapes.
For all these reasons, it would be pure fantasy to seek for the best wine in one single vineyard. Hence, the first task is to vinify the grapes of each vineyard separately. After 7 to 8 months of ageing to make the La Réserve de l’Obédience from the best wines. 70 different components kept in casks, tanks or large old wood vats, may enter the final blend. The principle is to use the “triangle method”: on a tasting sheet, we draw a triangle. Each apex symbolises: 1/lack of intensity – 2/ atypical aromas, or exuberant fruit expression – 3/ disjointed acidity. Wines positioned in the centre of the triangle are selected to make the Réserve de l’Obédience for their balance and harmony.The intense fruit with mineral overtone with fresh acidity in balance leave a long finish and delicate texture. It is still harmonious after 4 to 5 years. Réserve de l’Obédience shows all its potential after 10 to 12 years and best match with lobster, king crab, fish with sauce hollandaise, mild goat cheese.


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