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Guilhem & Jean-Hugues Goisot: An Affordable Feast of Biodynamic Burgundy, 2019-2021

Guilhem & Jean-Hugues Goisot: An Affordable Feast of Biodynamic Burgundy, 2019-2021

“As always, I extend my purview into St.-Bris, specifically to Domaine Guilhem and Jean-Hugues Goisot because a) the wines are brilliant and b) they continue to be sold at prices that are an amazing value… these wines deserve a higher profile and the truth of the matter is that quality is shoulder-to-shoulder with far more famous labels. In Goisot, we have a grower as meticulous and as principled as you will find anywhere and the results can be seen in the glass.” Neal Martin, Vinous

“Nobody would dispute first Jean-Hugues and now Guilhem Goisot’s right to be considered amongst the very finest producers of the region. I don’t think I have ever had a disappointment in their wines (except not being able to find them!)” Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy

“This visit is always a pleasure – If I could find them, I would buy them!” Bill Nanson

“…while quantities and allocations may be severely limited, these remain distinctive and at times compelling wines that I cannot recommend highly enough. Moreover, prices remain so reasonable that I feel almost guilty when I purchase them myself.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

Without wanting to rub salt into Jasper Morris’ and Bill Nanson’s predicament, today we offer a relatively substantial allocation of this grower’s sought-after wines. Sorry, chaps, we’ve ordered the degustation. We mentioned last year that due to three low-yielding vintages, to manage his inventory, Goisot has been holding back a portion of his annual allocations to re-offer the following year. While we are not quite in Benjamin Leroux territory, we can now offer over twenty wines spread across three exciting years.

The core of the offering is drawn from 2019 and 2020. As in nearby Chablis and further south, 2019 is a low-yielding, powerful yet balanced vintage for this address. The wines are dense and fleshy, with juicy ripeness equalled out by the perplexing concentration of tartaric acid (similar to the racy Chardonnay vintages of ’17 and ’14). Although still nothing to write home about in terms of quantity, 2020 brought slightly more generous yields than 2019. This year’s whites possess a comparable level of ripeness to that year, with a smattering of rain and cool in the run-up to harvest helping to calibrate a finely tuned balance between sugars and acidity. Regardless of the year, Goisot is extremely happy with the quality of both vintages, and well he might be.

In his latest report, Bill Nanson notes, “I always add an extra 30 minutes to the schedule to accommodate my chats with Guilhem, but it’s rarely enough!” After many a missed lunch or delayed appointment, we know how you feel, Bill! Yet a tasting in Saint-Bris has just got even longer, and this year sees our first allocation of three new wines in the Goisot portfolio. Between 2012 and 2015, Guilhem co-planted the north-facing slope of La Ronce with Sauvignon Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. He did so to emulate the kind of mixed vineyard that would have been common in his forebear’s days: the result is as unique as it is unmissable.

Another new label is Le Court Vit, a Kimmeridgian vineyard that has been in the extended family for centuries and is now back under Guilhem’s control. The domaine’s records told him that the site was once planted to both Chardonnay, on the white soil, and Pinot Noir, on the brown soil, so this is precisely what Goisot has done. It takes Goisot’s single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot bottlings to eight. For the cherry on top, there is a new Irancy Pinot Noir called La Voie de Cravant. Gosiot has been keeping his eye open for another opportunity in this hilly village— which lies two kilometres from the Yonne River—and in 2018 the planets aligned when he took over the management of 0.3 hectares of organically-reared vines.

The domaine’s white Burgundies should need little introduction to this audience. After all, we are talking about a biodynamic grower that Anne-Claude Leflaive once referred to as a superstar and a grower who delivers more quality for the price than almost anyone in Burgundy. In short, these are intense, textural yet racy, mineral wines with a rich, stony, earthy complexity that speaks loudly of the chalky soils of their region. But we should leave a word on the reds if for no other reason than we have two new wines available. In terms of style, Pinot Noir, grown this far north on Kimmerdgian limestone, offers something unique. You can expect brightness, powdery structure, and chalky, savoury tannins alongside the depth of well-ripened fruit. Indeed, perhaps instead of the Côte d’Or, you could even look to a top red from the Loire, Mercurey, or the Jura by comparison. From an inimitable grower, they are fascinating and engaging wines that shine at the table.

The Wines

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