Domaine Chandon De Briailles
Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru 'Les Vergelesses' AOC , Burgundy, France
The wine is of great aromatic finesse on the nose, very intense, and develops scents of red fruits tending to liquorice, black fruit and spices. Its structure is straight-line and tannic; it possesses great power and long persistence on the palate. Wait around 5 years before opening.
Chandon de Briailles is run by the brother and sister team of Claude and François de Nicolay.
Their wine style is vinified and aged in the purest Burgundian tradition. Chandon de Briailles wines express themselves with great freshness and reflect their terroir. Wines without artifice, generous and well-constructed, that gain in complexity through ageing. Wine as close as possible to its origins. The desire is to restate the expression of terroir through their wines.
The Chandon de Briailles doctrine is to produce wines for keeping that may be tasted and appreciated at all moments of their life. Each terroir can produce, as a function of the specific vintage, a thoroughbred wine that will go well with different dishes. They want each of their wines to express its terroir and its vintage, through the aromatic expression of each and the texture and quality of tannins.
When Nadine de Nicolay committed herself at the domain in the early 80s, she quickly understood the damaging effects of chemical growing. Chemical supplements, "Agent Orange" herbicides, "yellow oil" pesticides and insecticides developed from wartime industry "mustard gas" seemed to her inappropriate for vine-growing. In 2001, Nadine succeeded his mother, with his sister Claude and continued the good work from a balanced approach to vine introducing biodynamics – clearly not a phenomenon of fashion, but a conscious decision.
Chandon de Briailles was equipped with ploughs, rakes and other materials for working the soil. Step by step, the Domain used less and less copper in its sprayings. The entirety of their domain converted completely to bio-dynamic growing in a single operation. The certification via Ecocert and Demeter testing began in 2008 and full certification by vintage 2011.
In the Vineyard
The Chandon de Briailles 14-hectare vineyard is located on the Côte du Beaune famous "Golden Hill" in Côte d'Or. Horses are still used for ploughing and the harvest is all by hand. The magic of biodynamics come alive in the biodiversity of their vineyard. Along with living soil, bugs and fungus to stop disease; a low-fat milk 20% and rainwater 80% mixture are used to combat mildew. Also, nettle mixtures are sprayed to add nitrogen in the soil aiding the vine in the conversion to wild yeast.
In the Winery
The thoroughly sorted harvest is put in open-top vat, partly in whole bunches, partly de-stemmed. Proportions change as a function of the specific vintages and the terroir. No oenological products (other than Sulphur in very small quantities) are used. Fermentation starts naturally a few days after harvesting. This is followed at the beginning by daily pumping over, then by minimal punching down and minimal pump overs.
All the cuvees are tasted regularly and closely watched over (density, temperature...). They are racked after 15 to 20 days, decanted via settling vats then taken down still warm into the cellars, for the barrel ageing period.
Here again, the harvest is thoroughly sorted. Grapes are pressed directly then the must us placed in a settling vat for around 48 hours. The must is filled in 200 litres per barrel and fermentation starts gently. This fermentation lasts a long time and does not rise above 22°C in temperature. This lends fresh aromas and complexity to the wine. When the sugars are finished, the wines go down into the cellars for ageing.
In the winery, depending upon cuvée, bunches are destemmed, percentage of steamed to de steamed bunches depend on cuvée. All wines start with whole grape ferment (natural, spontaneous fermentation) in concrete. Second or more accurately first press is a soft champagne press. There is almost no pump over, the natural cushion of CO2 from ferment protects the must from oxygen and negates the use of SO2. In fact, their wines are 30PPM SO2 TOTAL. The wines are then put into the barrel (225L) for malolactic fermentation and will stay in barrel for 18 months.
Domaine Chandon de Briailles
Located in Savigny, the de Nicolay family owns parcels of land in the best spots of Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses and Savigny. The property is considered a star amongst Burgundian appelations since 1990, thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of Nadine de Nicolay. She has worked hard to bring high standards to the production such as strong selection criteria, partial harvest and a constant preoccupation with soil protection