Living Wines Magazine Chandon de Briailles - Vintage 2019

Chandon de Briailles - Vintage 2019

claude and francoic de nicolay
chandon de briailles logo

The 2019 vintage is the second exceptional vintage in Burgundy, and thus also in the Côte de Beaune, which in the sum of all events clearly participated in the global climate changes. They are not the first, but they are vintages with the most obvious changes to the "summer in winter", as some winemakers have called it, to the canicules, the dog days, that is, the heat waves in summer with the large number of hours of sunshine. But it is also a vintage in which vintners and vines have already adapted to these changes to a greater extent, and for the Côte de Beaune - now that it can be tasted - one can definitely say that it has become a much more balanced vintage, especially for Pinot Noir. For the winemakers, including François de Nicolay and his sister Claude Jousset, the challenges remain enormous.

The special features of the vintage

The 2019 vintage had everything - except rot. The winter was warm, which led to early flowering and budding and thus the risk of frosts. The flowering of the Chardonnay took place on 2 April, the frost came on the night of 5-6 April, but was not as devastating for Chandon de Briailles as feared. Saint-Aubin and Chassagne-Montrachet were particularly affected. In May it was so cool and partly so damp that there was a fear of oidium, which, however, remained within limits.

July and August became warm, even hot, with peaks of up to 42 °C in the shade, but fortunately not for too long a period. But the drought led to water stress in some plots, which delayed ripening.

Finally, the de Nicolays and their team picked the Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc from 6 to 10 September and the Pinot Noir from 15 to 20 September.

The grapes had to be sorted very precisely; because there were quite a few dried or sunburnt berries. The potential alcohol content was between 13.2 and 13.7 % for the Pinot and between 13 and 13.2 % for the Chardonnay, which is a very good value for such a year. However, the yields were far from being called happy, which was also due to the fact that the berries had firm and thick skins, but often little juice. Thus the yield for Pinot was between 15 and 25 hl/ha and that for Chardonnay between 20 and 25 hl/ha. »We had half a harvest«, François de Nicolay stated.

»Chandon de Briailles is in terrific shape«

- William Kelley, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


in the cellar of chandon de briailles

The work in the cellar

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are hardly ever destemmed. The Chardonnay is pressed slowly as a whole bunch into the barriques and tonneaux, where it is fermented and matured on the full lees. The red grapes are fermented in wooden cuves and the juice runs by gravity into the barriques and tonneaux.
The share of rappen for Pinot Noir was around 80 % in 2019. The proportion of new wood in the barrels was barely over 15 %. The wines are bottled without filtration with minimal sulphurisation and in some cases without any sulphur at all - often directly from the barrel.


The Climats

Chandon de Briailles is currently one of the best producers in Savigny-lès-Beaune.

Here, the comparison between the Aux Fourneaux vineyard, formerly classified as Premier Cru and then downgraded, is particularly exciting.

Chandon de Briailles Savigny-Les-Beaune "Aux Fourneaux" rouge AOC 2019
Chandon de Briailles Savigny Les Beaune Aux Fourneaux rouge AOC

Aux Fourneaux - The Duo

The wines, which are real price-pleasure winners, differ in their sulphite content of around 32 mg/l free sulphur at the classic and around 10 mg/l for wine without sulphur addition. The effects can be clearly tasted and both wines inspire in their own way.
Chandon de Briailles Savigny-Les-Beaune "Aux Fourneaux" rouge unsulphured sans soufre ajoute 2019
Chandon de Briailles Savigny Les Beaune Aux Fourneaux rouge unsulphured sans soufre ajoute

Île des Vergelesses & Les Saucours

It is similar with the Île des Vergelesses. The site with a view of the Corton hill is something like the parade site - even though the great wines of the winery are produced in the Grand Cru sites on the Corton. The red Île is an elegant wine with inner tension. The white Île is still in the barrel. For this, there is a young Savigny-lès-Beaune »Les Saucours«, which delights with lots of energy, pressure and a bright aroma. 
Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru "Île des Vergelesses" rouge 2019
Chandon de Briailles Pernand Vergelesses er Cru Ile des Vergelesses rouge
Chandon de Briailles Savigny-Les-Beaune blanc "Les Saucours" AOC 2019
Chandon de Briailles Savigny Les Beaune blanc Les Saucours AOC

The Corton ranks begin with the Premier Cru »Les Valozières« and ends at the Grand Cru Corton »Le Clos du Roi« and the white one from Bressandes. Corton Grand Cru blanc. These wines still need some storage time. For Neal Martin, however, it was already clear at the winery that the "Corton-Bressandes is the best I have ever tasted from the barrel at this address«. Accordingly, he has given it 94-96 points. William Kelley sees the Le Clos du Roi as the strongest and awards 93-95 points in Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate.

What is particularly exciting in 2019 is the often almost creamy fruit, which often stands on its own in the first moment until the lively acidity becomes more and more present, brings freshness with it and shines. The Grands Crus in particular sometimes have a fantastically elegant tannin structure and a lot of melting.

Text and wine expertise: Christoph Raffelt


Tasting Package 2019
Chandon de Briailles 1er Cru rouge

chandon de briailles er cru tasting package

With the three 1er Cru from Chandon de Briailles it becomes very clear what different terroirs Les Lavières, Île de Vergelesses and Les Valozières come from. It is depicted very precisely and clearly. The same applies to the complexity and depth. They are united by the fine, elegant melting and the ripe yet lively acid structure.

  • 2019 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru "Les Lavières
  • 2019 Pernand-Vergelesses Rouge 1er Cru "Île des Vergelesses
  • 2019 Aloxe-Corton Rouge 1er cru "Les Valozières