The key here is the incredibly cold, deep Caillot cellar. This means fermentation is long and slow which seems to add complexity and depth to the wines. Caillot keeps the wines in barrel, around 30% new, for the first year, then moves them to tank for further ageing. This long contact with the fine lees nourishes the wine, adding layers of flavour while emphasising the wines structure and finesse. It is very unusual now to have such a long elevage but when skillfully undertaken it can produce wines of super complexity and longevity.
This is an under the radar, old fashioned domaine which does things a little differently. The key difference is the long elevage employed for the whites, over two years, one in barrel, one in tank, at low temperatures is the norm and even then, if Michel feels there is more to be gained, he will put off bottling. This produces wines that are full flavoured and textually rich but never fat. The flavours are complex and integrated, hard to pin down. The sense of terroir, of the earth, is present from the Bourgogne Blanc ‘Herbeaux’ right through to the deep, savory and complex Bâtard. These are singularly expressive wines which drink beautifully from release but can age for many years. We recently opened a bottle of his 1996 Santenay Blanc, a marvelous, textured wine that was drinking well. In the vineyard organic practices are followed, no herbicide has been used for over 30 years. In the winery Michel allows natural yeasts to complete the fermentation, never ages in more than 50% new oak and bottles without filtration. He has a loyal fan base in the UK, US and Japan, but the small production and idiosyncratic style of the domaine has meant they are less well known than many of their neighbours.
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