Marcel Giraudon Bourgogne Chitry Pinot Noir 2017
Winegrower: Marcel Giraudon
Region: Chitry, Auxerrois, France
Grape: Pinot Noir
Shipping: September 2018
This is quite possibly the most solid red Burgundy available for $26. I know, this seems impossible, but I stand by it and so will you after tasting it. Usually wines sourced from the more general region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) can come from anywhere in the area and do not have any further designation, but certain select zones that do not have their own appellation are permitted to append their name to the Bourgogne designation in recognition of their quality and distinctiveness. Chitry is such a zone. Surrounding and named for the ancient village so named in north-central France, Chitry is a gem which is so obscure that when you Google it most of the results appear in French. It sits just west of Chablis in the little-known appellation of Auxerrois, 160km north of the Cote d’Or’s most northern tip in Dijon. That’s halfway to the Loire Valley’s Sancerre. Chitry is on the northern fringe of viticulture in France for pinot noir. Only champagne and Alsace sit farther north. In fact, its soils of kimméridgien clay, chalk and limestone have more in common with Chablis, Champagne and the Loire than the Golden Slope. And while Chablis is entirely white wine country, 26 of Chitry’s 60 hectares are devoted to Pinot Noir, and the area’s cool climate favours this variety.
The Giraudon family has been making wine in this valley for generations and now farms 23 hectares of vineyards using traditional farming practices. Weeds are plowed under, yields are kept low, and grapes are handpicked with 85% being de-stemmed, and no oak is used. The goal is to make natural, authentic wines that taste of the grape and terroir. Marcel, along with his wife Aurélie and brother Thibaut, use minimal cellar intervention to produce a stunning example of Burgundy Pinot Noir. There are no tricks, smoke or mirrors here, just one of the truest expressions of Pinot Noir in Chitry and beyond. The magic is in the incredible levels of crushed minerality, light-bodied sap and Burgundian terroir that emerge from the glass, especially with air. It is a glimpse into the tradition of a region that has lost a great deal of its way over the last 30 years with masses of new oak and extraction technology. All are very far from this wine. If you are looking for a Pinot Noir masquerading as a big Syrah, this is not for you. But if you seek a wine of ethereal transparency, mouth-watering acidity, delicious bright red fruit flavours, sweet spice and cedar with pronounced minerality and delicate tannins, this will become your new house wine, and at $26 it doesn’t get any better.
If you’re looking for something other than your typical co-op or négociant red Burgundy then this is a must try. Layers upon layers on the nose – as a good burgundy should have. This wine has a pronounced minerality that is laden with floral red cherry, raspberry, sweet spices and vanilla with a bouquet of lilacs and roses thrown in for good measure. It is silky; high-toned, pristine fruit leads the palate and is layered with sweet and peppery spices and cedar shavings atop a fresh, mineral core. Elegant, delicious and absolutely delightful, this is a winner you don’t want to miss out on. This is a great wine to enjoy when served at 18˚ in a Burgundy stem and goes well with a broad variety of food and is a perfect match for this delicious wild mushroom risotto.