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Chanson are a company on the rise making some of the best Beaunes around. Ripe and sweet centered with a floral hint from the whole-bunch vinification, this is excellent red Burgundy.
Product Code: BU56881
View all products by Maison Chanson
This historic Burgundy négociant and grower was founded during the reign of Louis XVth in 1750 and has been owned since 1999 by the world-renowned Bollinger family as part of the family Champagne group Societé Jacques Bollinger. Champagne Ayala, Langlois-Château in the Loire and Delamain in Cognac are all part of the group.Chanson buy in grapes from excellent growers around Beaune but also vinify grapes from their own 45 hectares of Beaune vineyards, which make up a quarter of their needs. Grapes are picked parcel by parcel and remain in those parcels throughout the vinification process. All harvesting is done by hand. Pinot noir is fermented in vats with a good proportion of whole stem bunches following a cold soak, which gives a pure, fresh and intensely aromatic character to the wines. Chardonnay is fermented in oak casks with the juice coming only from the middle of the pressing. The winemaking takes place at a modern facility on the outskirts of town but some, along with oak ageing, takes place in a 15th century bastion containing up to 3,000 barriques in the north-west corner of the medieval walls of Beaune itself, where the company is headquartered. Bottling is done entirely by gravity. The head winemaker is Jean-Pierre Confuron of Domaine Confuron-Cotédiot in Vosne-Romanée and the company was managed from 1999 by Gilles de Courcel who handed over to Vincent Avenel in 2017, The company’s interests extend as far as Chablis, the Mâconnais and Beaujolais.
The Côte de Beaune runs from Ladoix-Serrigny in the north to Cheilly lè Maranges in the south, on the southern escarpment of the Côte d’Or. Beaune is the town at its heart. The most famous wines of the area are white, but many excellent reds are produced. The soils of the area are predominantly mixtures of clay and limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The hillsides here, split and riven by streams and side-valleys, provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as various aspects ranging from east-facing to south and south-west facing. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile respectively. More generic wines are produced at the top and bottom of these slopes, with the Premiers Crus and Grand Crus in a band running along the upper middle. Soils with more limestone suit chardonnay more than pinot, hence the number of famous white burgundies produced here.The climate here is semi-continental, though northerly winds can temper a hot summer while warmer winds from the south can bring warmth. Westerly winds that ultimately originate in the Atlantic can bring rain but at its worst may deliver devastating hail in incredibly localised storms. There is a degree of unpredictability about vintages in Burgundy.Pinot noir and chardonnay are the two permitted grapes of any significance, though Aligoté is grown occasionally for crisp, mouth-watering whites that are often used to make kir, and some generic Bourgogne or Crémant can be made with pinot blanc, pinot gris and beurrot can be made. The appellations to be found in the Côte de Beaune are as follows: Ladoix, Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton , Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Savigny-lès Beaune, Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Monthélie, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Meursault, Saint-Aubin, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay and Maranges Côte de Beaune-Villages and Bourgogne-Hautes Côtes de Beaune are also made. The former is solely for red wines and the latter includes some whites as well. Both are mostly from vineyards on the top of the escarpment and some represent good value for early drinking Burgundy.Côte de Beaune wines are generally lighter than those from the Côte de Nuits. Beaunes are soft and round, Volnays fine and silky. Pommards are the exception: due to more clay in the soil, they can be notably tannic and in need of considerable bottle age. The greatest of all white Burgundies, Le Montrachet, is made here between Chassagne and Puligny.
Varying from great to excellent, 2012 is a concentrated but fresh vintage, with many similarities to 2010. It is however even more concentrated than the 2010 because yields were even lower. 2012 was a coolish year and it was the tiny, grand cru-like yields of just 25-30 hectolitres per hectare that allowed the grapes to ripen fully yet remain fresh. This rare combination of concentration with freshness is an unusual balance because they are usually diametrically opposed. Variable weather over time and region means that we shall approach the regions separately below.The Côte de Nuits reds are superb. They are deep coloured, intensely aromatic, moderate in alcohol, have ripe black-cherry pinot fruit, concentrated flavours, sweet tannins and lovely freshness too. However, they wear their undoubted concentration lightly. Terroirs are well defined. All is good geographically and hierarchically. The wines’ beautiful balance of ripe tannins means they can be approached early but they have wonderful development potential so will keep very well too. Spring frost and poor weather, including hail, at flowering, were the principal reasons why most growers lost about 40% of the crop, and so produced about 30hl/ha. The poor flowering produced many millerands where an imperfect fertilisation results in berries remaining small with a very high ratio of skin to pulp, and fewer seeds, resulting in deeper colour and softer tannins which is beneficial for quality. It was then a challenging year in the vineyard with strong presence of the diseases oidium and mildew, but the best growers rose to the challenge. The small crop with well-spaced bunches developed slowly in the coolish spring and early summer, and ripened with a flourish in a hot and sunny August and September.As well as the same spring frosts and poor weather at flowering that occurred in the Côte de Nuits, the Côte de Beaune suffered from a number of destructive hailstorms. Some parts of Volnay and Pommard were hit three times and the crop reduced by up to 80%. The effect of hail is complicated, depending on when it hit (the earlier the better) and how severe the damage. It is often very localised. The timing of the hail was relatively early, the last being 1st August. There are many superb Côte de Beaune whites with remarkable levels of concentration because they were made from half a crop (25–28 hl/ha) due to the same problems of poor flowering and hail. Hail is less of a problem for white wines as the grapes are more successful at lower levels of ripeness than pinot. Indeed the trap to avoid was overripeness so the small crop was best picked early. Luckily there was no botrytis. A handful of wines are a little riper than ideal, but the vast majority score 9–10/10. The best wines are pure, moderate in alcohol, with firm fruit, and many have a lovely grip from the fresh acidity and phenolic compounds from the thick skins which will help them to age beautifully. Again it is like 2010. 2010 is a little more elegant and 2012 a bit richer. 2012 Chablis wines have wonderful pure, crystalline aromas, firm steely fruit and lovely grip and dry extract. Again, low crops of 18–38hl/ha caused by spring frosts and poor flowering were the culprits. However, Chablis managed to avoid the hail. The cool year meant there was a strong pressure of diseases like oidium and mildew but this was successfully treated. There was no botrytis. They started picking 20th September to preserve the freshness. It was another lovely vintage in the Mâcon, again similar to 2010: fresh, fine, concentrated wines with moderate alcohol, which are pure and long. Generally yields were reasonable, around 50hl/ha, as in 2010. Poor flowering reduced the yield a little.
"This drinks very well right now. Powerful but with enough fruit and well mastered tannins. "
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