Skip to main content

Girardin's return

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Decanter’s top Rhône wines under £20

The moratorium is over. Decanter’s December issue has been published and I can announce our successes in the recent tasting undertaken by their Rhône expert, Matt Walls who has recently returned from a year and a half in the region. If you look on Decanter.com today (November 2020), you will see a link to ‘Top Côtes du Rhône wines under £20’. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the brief of its writer was to taste and rate wines from across the valley in that price range and that the top scoring white wine was actually a Ventoux. No prizes for guessing that it was  Château Juvenal’s 2019 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Blanc , awarded 91 points, which, at £12.60 is also the best value of any of the white wines on the list: 'From 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on granite south-facing slopes; half of the wine is matured for six months in demi-muid leaving no overt oakiness to the aromatics. Full-bodied, rich and opulent style, very ripe and fulsome. Some mango and pineapple juice. Unmist

Estate Profile: the truly excellent Domaine Ste-Anne

Simple labels adorn the bottles of these highly effective and enjoyable wines which have a distinct nod to the northern Rhône and even Burgundy and Bandol despite their southern Rhône setting. Described by Robert Parker as ‘one of the best estates in the entire Rhône Valley’, Domaine Ste-Anne has been in the Steinmaier family since 1965 when it was bought as a holiday home for this Burgundian family. Guy Steinmaier quickly recognised the potential of the 12 hectares of vines and set about replanting them.   Now under the stewardship of his son Jean, who studied winemaking in Beaune before taking over in 1977, they have remained consistent throughout making remarkably un-Parkerised wines (that is to say, these are elegant and refined rather than the blockbusters generally regarded by the former uber-critic). A quarter of a century since Parker wrote those words, Domaine Ste-Anne remains synonymous with the Côtes du Rhône Village of St-Gervais. Today the range is much the same as it was

Postcard from Provence

With lockdown more or less over, we made a dash to the other side of the Channel and are currently languishing in the Vaucluse  d épartement , home to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape  et al . Mont Ventoux, known to cyclists the world over, is staring at me as I write, only providing a shield from the sun in the early hours of the morning before the heat hits. Exercise here, recently so highly prized (the French were allowed no further than 1 km from home to exercise during their lockdown), is necessarily limited to a gentle morning stroll around the village to collect bread from the  boulang ère.  In time it may be possible to acclimatise but, looking at the locals, I wouldn’t bet on it. France went into lockdown before us, of course, and came out earlier as well so, if we in the UK are fortunate, what I am seeing is a glimpse into the future. We are welcome here – I know plenty of people with concerns about this but it is the Parisians they fear most here it seems. The UK, until