2018 Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Clos St Jean
Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is one of the best producers in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet. The domain has its origins in the fine Gagnard-Delagrange farms of fifty years ago, as the vineyards originate from the marriage of Richard Fontaine to Jacques Gagnard's eldest daughter, Laurence Gagnard, in 1982. The Gagnard family is very close, with much of the vineyard work and the gracious Céline Fontaine manages with heart and soul the family Chassagne-Montrachets such as the premier crus as well as the grand crus of Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Montrachet itself.
The style of the wines at Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is intense, concentrated, deep and complex. These are Chassagnes that start life as classically balanced and accessible, but always with fine expressions of terroir and the underlying structure to age gracefully. The wines are generally aged in about a third new oak for the premier crus and a little more for the grand crus. Celine's Chassagne Blanc is one of the villages of great value, but the real fireworks start with the premier crus. The range of Fontaine-Gagnard premier crus starts with Chassagne "Clos St. Jean", always the most progressive of the premier crus and quite popular on wine lists for its relatively early drinkability. Also in the Chassagne there are wines with a little more structure than the Clos St. Jean, and able to age for fifteen to twenty years in a top vintage. The top two premier crus in the lineup are "Caillerets", whose very calcareous soils typically produce the longest-lived premier cru in the domain's portfolio, and their dramatic and always fantastic "La Romanée". The domain also has a rare possession in the small vineyard of Chassagne "Grande Montagne" which is at the heart of the belt of the best Chassagne premier crus at the top of the slope, including Virondot, Grandes Ruchottes, La Romanée and Caillerets .
Among the grand crus, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard has one of the largest stretches of the smallest grand cru in the Côte de Beaune, "Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet". Clive Coates called the Fontaine-Gagnard Criots "one of the very best sources for this little grand cru." There is often a touch of exotic complexity in Criots, as it offers delicious herbal elements and an almost "salty" nuance that goes with the layers of apple and pear fruit and a fine base of chalky minerality. Celine Fontaine is also an excellent example of Bâtard-Montrachet - one of the most racist and most mineral Bâtards - and a small slice of Le Montrachet itself. The reds should not be overlooked here, as there is a hearty and age-worthy Chassagne-Montrachet rouge, as well as the consistently fine Volnay "Clos des Chênes" and Pommard "Rugiens". All in all, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is one of the very best in Chassagne-Montrachet and a consistently excellent resource that we highly recommend exploring.
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