After our visit at P. Pacalet's cellar, we ate for lunch at a restaurant in Bouze les Beaune . Very good place to eat , go stop there if you visit the region . It is right hand along the road when you enter Bouze driving from Beaune .
Our appointment with Vincent Dancer in Chassagne-Montrachet was at 6 pm later that day (end of april), so we spent time in the vineyards on the way, then in Beaune, before slowly taking the road south of
Beaune and Meursault to his winery .
When we parked in front of the estate and ringed the door bell, nobody answered . Less than 5 minutes later though, Vincent Dancer arrived at full speed on top of his tractor . He obviously has been doing some plowing in the vineyard . Grass is growing fast these days . We are happy to see him, but his dog seems even more happy . I tried a close-up with the dog but he barks at me and seems afraid of this alien metal thing I repeatedly try to position near his head...
Vincent Dancer is only 33 year old and works on a 5 hectare vineyard over Beaune, Pommard, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet Appellations zones . White/red, about half each . He created his estate in 1995, with the first harvest in 1996 . His philosophy is to be as little interventionist as possible at the vinification stage, with a lot of care in the vineyard , plowing, strict de-budding . This young vigneron impressed the wine world , as over the course of only two vinifications, he demonstrated his ability to make delicate wines with pure aromas and flavors . His production varied from the low 2003 ( heat wave ) : 40 casks , to a 100 casks in 2004 .
After we introduced each other, we soon head for the underground cellar, actually two vaulted cellar rooms connected by a narrow passage .
Low hanging lamps give a beautiful and discreet lighting on the casks . Clear gravel on the floor . Near the passage , a cask, used as a table , with empty glasses , bottle, and uncorker from a previous tasting ( picture upper left ). With a wine thief , he proceeds to taking samples from the casks ; we will have a glimpse of his 2004 wines in the making :
__1 White . Generic Burgundy white 2004 . Expressive nose . Chardonnay of course, as all the following whites . From a vineyard planted in 1999 in the Meursault village area ( in the regional Appellation ) .
__2 White . Chassagne-Montrachet (village) 2004 . Still a little fizzy on the tongue . Some of the wines have not finished their fermentation .
About the malolactic fermentation : The wine itself decides when it will occur, on a natural way ; but it never failed to happen till now , he says .
__3 White . Meursault " les Corbins " 2004 . Plot located right under the Volnay "Santenots" . Each time, Vincent Dancer uses his glass pipe to magically bring us the wine from the middle of the cask . His oldest casks are from 2001 ; casks never more than "4 wines" old . This turbid wine has a longer lasting in the mouth than the former . He made 11 casks of this white .
__4 White . Chassagne-Montrachet "Tête du Clos" 1er Cru 2004 . Lemon nose . Light colour with some green . Another stony soil, but with different nature of stones ; the soil found its way in this vivid and mineral wine . Vineyard planted in 1954 . Even in the heat wave storched summer of 2003, this vineyard went along fine and its 2003 wine retained its minerality .
__5 White . Chassagne-Montrachet "La Romanée" 2004 . Nice yellow colour with turbidity . More round, more fruity . Onctuous beginning in the mouth . The vineyard plot is very close to "Tête du Clos", but has a very different soil . Good exercise for us to think about what terroir is, what does it mean . Especially when wines are vinified like here , without external manipulation and in the same type/origin of casks . No stirring of the lees : He says it is not necessary for wines like these, wich have a very long fermentation phase . Of course he also only uses indigenous yeasts and has no temp-regulation system .
__6 White . Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru 2004 . Plot for this Grand Cru located north of Puligny-Montrachet . Don't think I am comfortable with this very complicated Burgundy Appellation system . This was the occasion for me to look on the many detailed maps of a very informative book by Charlotte Fromont : "La Cote de Beaune Au Grand Jour" [ Here like for my articles , I have no commercial interest or any reward for telling about this book :) ].
__7 Red . Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Grande Borne" 2004 . Fruit more noticeable . More tannins , more length . He says a lot of parameters have a role for the final acidity of a wine . The criteria he likes to refer to for a wine, are acidity, length and balance . A given wine can be well balanced with at the same time very little acidity , if substance is there , to compensate . Speaking of this wine , it is a very beautiful one . It will not stay too long in casks, to keep this fresh side wich is alredy very nice . So , this suave and structured wine will have a precocious bottling so as not to loose this suppleness .
Vincent Dancer works with 2 persons part time . Most of his production is exported. US : Vintage '59 Imports , see here the US Distributors; UK : Richards Waldorf ; Japan : Vinifera LCB ( email@example.com ), Suke.co.jp.
After we parted and drove away , we passed this beautiful old unhabited monastery very close to his winery on the same side of the road : The Abbaye de Morgeot [ see picture on the right ] is located in the middle of the Morgeot 1er Cru vineyard and was built in the 15th century . See this nicely walled clos in the foreground .