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2012: whole bunches come into their own. More stalks for greater delicacy
An exceptional year called for exceptional vinification methods. Following on from the trials which have been carried out since 2005 with vendanges entières – which involves keeping a proportion of the grapes in whole bunches – Grégory Patriat, the winemaker at Jean-Claude Boisset, chose the 2012 vintage to push the method to its natural conclusion. All the company’s fine wines were produced using this method last year to bring out their exceptional potential.
It’s true that retaining the stalks makes vinification more risky; the cap has more volume and is therefore thicker, making extraction more delicate. Care must be taken not to over- or under-extract.
But contrary to received ideas, including a proportion of bunches with their stalks in the wine enhances it, providing coherence, additional floral aromas, length and a good rounded structure with depth. There are none of the little gaps that can sometimes be detected in the middle of the flavors by those with a very sensitive palate. This rather unusual method results in an “esthete’s wine”, with less intense color but more finesse and subtlety.
Wines which were not de-stalked include the famous grand cru Clos de La Roche, all the premier crus such as the Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes, the Beaune Les Grèves, and certain emblematic village appellations like Gevrey-Chambertin and, since 2005, the Nuits-Saint-Georges Charbonnières, which has demonstrated over time an incomparable rounded, silky texture.
For this avant-garde winery, the technique is not a matter of the vintage, the ripeness of the stalks, or the percentage of whole bunches: it is a genuine philosophy. If that’s what you believe in, it should be applied every year.