Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau is a small estate run by two talented winemakers, Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon (winemaker at Heritiers du Comte Lafon). Frantz has a degree in Oenology and cut his teeth working for Olivier Merlin in the Mâconnais. Caroline holds two degrees in agricultural engineering and oenology; she worked at Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley before returning to France to work with Dominique Lafon as head winemaker for Héritiers du Comte Lafon. The relationship with Dominque as a friend and mentor has had a great influence on the couple, which is evident in a lineup of pure, terroir driven Mâconnais wines. Dominque Lafon is considered a superstar, particularly known for his white Burgundies from Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet under the Domaine des Comtes Lafon label. In the United States he is recognized for his consulting work for the extremely successful Evening Land projects in Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Since 2013 all of the vineyards have been certified organic. As with Lafon, this dynamic duo believe in minimal intervention, which includes the use of only indigenous yeast, as the best way to express the nuances of each unique terroir. Aging is done in mostly large, used French oak barrels, harvest is done completely by hand on a plot by plot basis, allowing each vine to achieve the appropriate balance of sugar and acidity before being picked. This dynamic duo is one of the most talented teams in all of Burgundy, farming the old-fashioned way and making micro-quantities of single vineyard White Burgundy from some of the finest Chardonnay terroir in the world.
More specifically, from the village of Vergisson in the heart of the Macon’s finest terroir by influence of two ancient coral reefs. Chagnoleau farms two high elevation vineyards. This wine is a selection of the best barrels to showcase the village’s greatest terroir transparency from the 0.42 hectares Madrigal vineyard where the 50+ year old, ultra low yielding Chardonnay vines are planted on gray marl and a reddish limestone base before hitting solid rock. All the certified organic farming is done by horse. The fruit is hand selected and picked. None intervention is the name of the game. Indigneous yeast barrel fermentation, including malolactic while aged in mostly used (10-15% new) Burgundy barrels where the wine matures without batonage for about 12 months.
Flinty minerality, lime and peach, and warm clove, white pepper and ginger spices. Tightly wound! Intense with tenacity and tension. Like a rip current across the palate. Great structure with grainy texture. Ripeness balanced with vibrant acidity and freshness. Extremely long finish.
Another tremendous Chagnoleau white “Burgundy” worthy of a much higher price tag. 2019 was such a stellar and expressive vintage for Chagnoleau.