Our tasting impressions
During our member tour in May 2019, this beauty generated the most buzz of the more “modest” wines we tasted. The purity and freshness that Guillaume achieves is remarkable. I can’t imagine a more drinkable wine. With each sip, I have an increased desire for the next. It might develop some more interesting nuances over time but I vote for drinking this in its youthful freshness.
About this wine
100% Chardonnay from less than a half hectare plot called Les Rouards, just above Pommard, planted 15 years ago in soil composed of clay and limestone. Yields are 40 hl/ha. The stems are left intact before pressing. The must is allowed to settle for 24-36 hours before fermentation and malolactic fermentation is done in oak barrels (15% new). Annual production is 2,800 bottles.
Hautes Côtes de Beaune is a regional appellation established in 1961, covering vineyards throughout the Côte de Beaune that sit above (Haute) the more storied vineyards. In the past, wines with this designation tended to be thin and nondescript, but a combination of increased focus from talented winemakers like Guillaume Guiton and global warming has elevated their quality and reputation.
About the grape
Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the world - and in the US. Winemakers love the green-skinned grape as well because it’s so easy to grow and adaptive to many different production techniques. Grown everywhere, Chardonnay’s greatest expressions are widely believed to come from Burgundy. Indeed, this is believed to be where the grape originated. Chablis, in Northern Burgundy and Champagne also offer superlative examples of Chardonnay.
About the Vintage
Good weather to start 2017, including a very warm April. The summer was warm and dry. A relief vintage to many estates in Burgundy because conditions were very stable and the crop was bountiful. 2017 tended to produce attractive, approachable and transparent wines.
On your table
A splendid aperitif, if you like that sort of thing. I would opt for some cheese and crudité with mine. Serve at 50-54°.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Guillaume Guiton is a fiercely dedicated and extraordinary vigneron and a super nice guy. In the grand scheme of Burgundy, his vineyards would be considered modest...his wines, we consider, anything but.
He has been running this 11.5 hectare Domaine since 2002. His father Jean started it in 1973. Very much a hybrid estate, Guillaume owns 4ha, rents the rest and even buys grapes in his pursuit of the best he can get. He produces about 50,000 bottles per year.
He is a devoted terroirista, who welcomes the opportunity not to intervene in what nature offers. His methods vary based on vintage circumstances but he usually de-stems his red grapes and mostly avoids fining and filtration.
Guillaume is an intense student of barrels. He raises many wines in a variety of barrels before blending, only uses them for 6 years and never employs more than 20% new oak.