Our tasting impressions
The difference in this wine from 2016 is palpable. In lieu of the previous year’s dark, brooding nature, the 2017 is considerably more approachable, livelier and more charming. It won’t live as long or be as complex down the road but it is a more pleasurable drink right now and remains a terrific example of Red Burgundy.
About this wine
Les Sizies is an 8.5 ha 1er cru Pinot Noir vineyard on somewhat flat ground. Guiton has a small southeast facing plot. The soil is a mixture of limestone and red clay. The vines were planted in 1943. Harvesting is by hand to yields of 40 hl/ha.
Fermentation takes 20 days with cold maceration, including pigéage (punching down the cap). The wine ages in oak barrels (20% new) for 18 months. A light filtration is done before bottling if necessary. About 2,100 bottles are produced annually.
About the grape
Pinot Noir is an ancient grape from eastern France. Notoriously challenging, it thrives in cooler climates. The concept of terroir is most closely identified with Burgundy because the lightness of Pinot Noir enables it to so transparently express minor differences (which is why experienced tasters can discern the difference in wines produced from vineyards in very close proximity). Intense popularity resulted in plantings all over the world but most agree that its finest expression is in the Côte d’Or of Burgundy.
About the vintage
A bountiful crop was welcome after the major decline of the previous year. The Pinot Noir was generally fruity, reasonably acidic and gentle in tannins. Many wines appeared from barrel to be light and potentially short-lived, but since bottling they have been bulking up. What started out looking like a restaurant vintage (early consumption) now shows signs of becoming more exceptional.
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.