Chandon de Briailles - Wines Without Artifice

About ten years back John Gilman, in his newsletter View From the Cellar, said this about Domaine Chandon de Briailles, “This domaine is quickly becoming one of the very finest to be found anywhere in the Côte D’Or . . . these are great, classically styled, terroir-driven red and white Burgundies that age brilliantly, and are among the treasures to be found in the Côte de Beaune for those adventurous enough to try a few bottles.”  In a NYtimes article a few months ago on undervalued Burgundies, Eric Asimov said this, "The proprietors, the de Nicolay family, make natural, pure, delicious whites and reds that reward aging. They do make grand cru Cortons, both white and red, but most of their production is village and premier crus from Savigny-lès-Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses and Aloxe-Corton. The reds are spicy and expressive. Highly recommended.”  Chandon de Briailles is that rare thing, a value Burgundy (many wines in the double digit range rather than triple digit) from the top tier of producers.
 
Owned by the same family since 1834, Domaine Chandon de Briailles is run by brother and sister team Claude and François de Nicolay.  Claude trained in viticulture in Beaune and Dijon, and did further apprenticeships in Oregon and in New Zealand and started at the winery in ‘91.  François left the business world in the 90s for viticultural training and he also did a stint at a winery in Oregon.  When Claude and François’ mother, Nadine, took over the domain in the early 80s, she quickly understood the damaging effects of chemical growing and began the process of converting the domaine to organic production both in the field and the winery.  The current team continued those efforts and began adoption of biodynamic methods in the 90’s, receiving Exocert (organic) and Demeter (biodynamic) certifications in 2005.  

The wines use natural yeast, there is no fining or filtration and bottling is by gravity feed.  For more than ten years they have worked with low sulfur and have experimented with no-sulfur wines.  They own three horses now and eventually would like to use horses entirely instead of tractors to minimize compaction of the soil.  The overall philosophy is to use the least manipulative process possible in the vinification and ageing, to simply guide nature to allow the terroir of their prized climats, five Grand Cru and six Premier Cru among them, to show through.
 
As Chandon de Briailles inhabits a value sweet spot among Burgundy producers, the Pernand-Vergelesse Les Vergelesses perhaps holds a value spot in the domaine’s lineup.  The “Les” Vergelesses lieu-dit is adjacent to their “Ile” de Vergelesses lieu-dit, which is considered to be a Grand Cru-level Premier Cru, but does not have the consequent steeper pricing.  As for the 2017 Les Vergelesses, Allen Meadows of Burghound offers this tasting note:  "An earthy and distinctly gamy nose of forest floor, red pinot and cassis aromas gives way to delicious, vibrant and sleekly textured medium-bodied flavors that possess better mid-palate density, all wrapped in a focused, powerful and rustic finale."  The wine should age nicely for the next 15 yrs.
 
 
Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru 'Les Vergelesses' 2017
Retail Price: $58.99
Sale Price: $52.97
 
 
Past Cellar Selections:
Magnum Bottles from CVNE Imperial
Beaux Freres Pinot Noir The Beaux Freres Vineyard 2018
Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva – What were you doing in 1987?
Domaine Simon Bize 2018 – Value Burgundy
Saint-Préfert Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018 - 96/97 Pts.
Roagna Rosso – A Concert Played by a Thousand Vines
Raul Perez – Wines with a Sense of Place
Domaine du Pelican – Burgundy Meets Jura
Viña Almaviva 2016 – #10 on Wine Spectator top 100
Vajra 2016 - Three Variations on Barolo
Montevertine – Chianti for Wine Geeks
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004
Domaine Huët 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley
Shafer Vineyards – Relentless, One Point Five and Chardonnay
Paul Jaboulet – Majestic Wines from the Northern Rhone
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar
Castilla Ygay 2010 – at 98 pts a ‘First Growth’ Rioja
Burgundy with age from Jean Chauvenet

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