When Justin Girardin, nephew of the famous Vincent, sent me through his 2021 list, I was struck by the fact that, even with some modest price rises, his wines offer remarkably good value for Burgundies of this quality. Where can you find a grower's Santenay at Premier Cru level under £30 these days? Answer: chez Girardin.
Yes, we have been working with Justin and his family for several years and even have a (very) few bottles left of some of his 2012 Premier Cru wines - bottled under Justin's father Jacques' name - which are drinking fabulously now: smooth and unctuous with velvety tannins and soft Pinot fruit (Clos Rousseau) and a little more typical Santenay black fruit character from the Maladières lieu dit. Both tried recently and a few bottles of each reserved for us (hence the reduced quantities available).
The 2013 vintage was very successful here, perhaps more so than the 2013, defying the region generally. A simple explanation can be offered for this: Justin has been growing in confidence as a winemaker. The two Santenay cuvées we have - Premier Crus Maladières and Beauregard - offer the extremes of this appellation's fruit (the former typically offers more black fruit character, there latter tends towards red) and a vibrancy that makes them fun to drink now but they have enough stuffing to go on for several more years.
The future is bright though: from 2015, Justin took sole charge of the vineyards and winemaking and the labels reflect this. We plan to offer a pair of Beauregard wines which reflect the differences in the vintages: 2017 has elegance and charm, already a delicious Burgundy whilst the 2018 is more powerful but without becoming a blockbuster, something that just doesn't work with Pinot.
There will also be some of the Premier Cru Chassagne-Montrachet reds from 2019. These are keepers (although we didn't struggle too much with our sample bottles!) which will surely demonstrate whilst this under-the-radar appellation for red wines is high on any Burgophile's shopping list.
The white cuvée, 'Terrasses de Bievaux' will also make a comeback with the 2019 a little more opulent than earlier vintages. Justin is clearly a young producer to watch.