2017 Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Les Masures
A long time ago, on a street not so far away, my Brady store was able to stock all kinds of Jean-Marc Pillot’s white Burgundies. We were in love with them for many reasons. First, this classic producer never missed the mark in terms of delivering precise Burgundy that fills us with hedonistic joy. And second, Jean-Marc releases late, later than most other white Burgundy producers, so when we get the wines, we can jump right on in.
That was then, and this is now. We’ve been unable to secure a large enough allocation of any of Jean-Marc Pillot wines no matter what the AOC level for many years. But now, finally, we got a shot at his Chassagne Montrachet Les Masures! We didn’t get much, but we did get some. It’s amazing:
Les Masures is a lieu-dit which sits exactly below the premier cru vineyard of Champas Gains, middle of the slope. A third of the vines were planted in 1950, another third in 1990, and the final third in 2010.
Jean-Marc Pillot is the fourth generation at the family wine-making helm, helped along by his wife and sister. Dad is still apparently at the domaine, but mostly tending the family garden behind the chai these days.
Pillot believes in exclusively hand-harvesting, whole-cluster gentle pressing, and spontaneous ferments in all neutral Burgundy barrels. The wine then ages for at least 15 months on the fine lees and then is eventually racked into stainless steel for an additional six months (in order rest and “tighten up” a bit, he notes). The wine is never filtered, fined, nor cold-stabilized. This highly time-consuming approach is completely revealed in the glass – there is precise vividness and dimension to Pillot’s wines, which just cannot be matched.
The 2017 opens with a near-classical statement of white Burgundy – ’17 was a great vintage without too much heat, and here is the wine of the vintage, gracefully showing the regalness of Chassagne. On the first notes are ripe pear, yellow apple and other stone fruits that are graced with nuances of wet granite and finely etched minerality. On the palate there is a richness and depth to these sensations, but not without a pulling tension that makes the wine seamless from the front to the back of the palate. Or, as Pillot’s American importer Neal Rosenthal sums it up: “This 2017 is a classically rendered Chassagne-Montrachet, one which deftly balances rich, mouth-filling fruit with a powerful mineral thrust.” Again, to emphasize, to my palate, it’s the Chassagne of the vintage!
Of course, one of the reasons that we haven’t gotten a Pillot offer is because the wines are very popular, and prices have gone up significantly. I will admit, in terms of price-reduction, this offer isn’t rolling back prices like Wal-mart. But, it doesn’t change the fact that this is magnificent Chassagne, regardless of the cost. Cheers!