Blain Gagnard Volnay Champans 1er 2011
This is one of the finest Burgundy estates, where the wine-making involves minimal interventions. It is run by Jean-Marc Blain and his wife Claudine, the daughter of Jacques Gagnard-Delagrange. The family owns some of the village’s greatest hillsides. New oak barrels are never used to excess, being subtly spread amongst the different cuvées, so that spicy oakiness is never perceptible here. Blain is also prudent with stirring-up of the lees (known as bâtonnage) which, if used to excess, may result in heavy wines which taste mealy. Here, on the contrary, the finished wines have great purity of fruit, with balanced acidity and long, clean flavours which clearly evoke the wines’ precise origins.
This is actually relatively similar to the Pitures though with just a bit more aromatic depth and the flavors are similarly detached, cool and restrained with slightly less evident minerality but perhaps even better energy to the powerful yet refined middle weight flavors. The supporting tannins are just a bit riper and overall, this is stylish, balanced and while it's also moderately austere it's not hard or aggressive. A stylish Champans, which isn't always the case. Score: 91 Points; Drink: 2021+
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