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2021 Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champgains

2021 Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champgains

91 BH


From the critics:

91 RP

Featured Review
Moderate reduction once again masks everything but citrus hints. On the palate there is excellent richness and concentration to the very generously proportioned medium-bodied flavors that are at once succulent but punchy, all wrapped in a lingering, dry and balanced finale. This could also use better depth but more should reasonable develop if given a chance. I would also note that this is already sufficiently pliant that it could be approached after only 3 to 4 years if desired. Burghound

Burghound | 91 BH

Critic Reviews

The 2021 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Champgains unwinds in the glass with notes of pear, toasted nuts, honeycomb and light reduction, followed by a medium to full-bodied, ample and fleshy palate that’s attractively textural and enveloping.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91 RP
Moderate reduction once again masks everything but citrus hints. On the palate there is excellent richness and concentration to the very generously proportioned medium-bodied flavors that are at once succulent but punchy, all wrapped in a lingering, dry and balanced finale. This could also use better depth but more should reasonable develop if given a chance. I would also note that this is already sufficiently pliant that it could be approached after only 3 to 4 years if desired.

Burghound | 91 BH

Wine Details for 2021 Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champgains

Type of Wine Burgundy White : No one can express the full potential of Chardonnay quite like the visionaries from Burgundy. With an almost entirely single-minded devotion to the noble varietal in question, they continue to push the boundaries of quality, to the joy of their many fans worldwide. Discover the nuances of every producer and come out changed forever.
Varietal Chardonnay : Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.

The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.

The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.

The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.

Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.

The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Region Burgundy : Situated just west of the beautiful river Saone, the hills and valleys of Burgundy stand as they have stood since medieval times, and you can almost hear the cheerful chatter of vineyard workers from miles away. Indeed, France's identity in the world of wine would be incomplete without the inclusion of Burgundy and its many viticultural achievements. Every little sub-region of the area boasts a unique soil composition, which, when combined with the area's climate conditions, creates an incredibly diverse and appealing selection of fine wines.

Every new bottle is an adventure of its own, and a snapshot of its birthplace. You could spend years sampling great Burgundian wines, and you would still have a lot to learn, which is what makes the region so compelling for veterans and novice wine lovers alike. No matter what your taste in wines may be, there is a winery in Burgundy that could mesmerize your mind and make your senses scream with joy. And what better way to spend a comfy summer afternoon with your friends and family than with a classy bottle from some of the region's most reputable wineries? From the noble slopes of Cote d'Or to the flatlands near various settlements, let us help you on your journey as we explore Burgundy's most delicious and renowned wines.
Subregion Cote de Beaune
Appellation Chassagne Montrachet
Climat/Vineyard Les Champs Gains
Cru Premier Cru


Producer Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot : Winemaking in Burgundy is a long standing tradition which families have taken pride in and perpetuated for centuries. A quick glance at Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot and the names of the families they are related to in Chassagne-Montrachet, Pommard and Volnay reveal that they are among many of the major wine families in and around the small village of Noyers, where they call home; proof that the dynasty of viticulture is continuing with successive heirs. Today, Laurent Pillot and his son, Adrian are continuing that legacy, producing quality wines that are acknowledged and revered worldwide. As William Kelly, deputy editor of Wine Advocate, commented upon review of the domain’s 2020 vintage, “Laurent Pillot's son Adrien continues to take an increasing role at this Chassagne-Montrachet estate, and the domaine's wines have taken another step up in quality…”

The origins of the Pillot family in Burgundy can be traced back to the 17th Century; their ancestors worked the vines and wine, but first and foremost were coopers (individuals who build oak casks). At the time, this was an extremely important trade that assisted France in becoming the world-leading producer of wine. It was then, in the 19th century that the Pillot family made the decision to abandon the cooperage and enlarge the property on the slopes of Chassagne-Montrachet, making viticulture their priority. As vineyard space in the Cote de Beaune was highly coveted and difficult to acquire, this process transpired slowly over the next century.

When the domaine had reached 9 hectares of vineyards in 1988, Laurent Pillot became increasingly involved in the family business, marking the 4th generation. Laurent and his father, Fernand, again expanded the domaine in 1992 and with a new cellar constructed in 1994, his father said, “From now on you will make the wine. I will stay in the vineyards”. The father-and-son team focused tirelessly on maintaining quality by lowering yields, minimizing the use of fertilizers and practicing strict hygiene. The domaine would again be expanded in 2001 with the takeover of the Pothier-Rieusset (which were Laurent’s wife’s family vineyards) swelling the property to 18 hectares. After selling 4 hectares, the total vineyard space accounted for 14.8 hectares and where it stands today.

Like many generational wineries in Burgundy, history repeats itself and Laurent now tends to the vineyards while Adrian crafts wines in the cellar. The Pillot name has never been as closely associated with quality and success as it does today, being heralded (rightfully) in Decanter Magazine as, “an address that deserves to be better-known.” William Kelley also stated, “In the past, I've advised readers that this is one of the Cote de Beaune's underrated addresses, and that only becomes more apparent.” Since Laurent taking control in the vineyard, the vines have been worked in agrobiology with great care and the soils cultivated without the use of chemical herbicides. The vineyards are certified HVE3 (the highest level of High Environment Value) and are working towards Certified Organic. This practice along with lowering yields has greatly enhanced the quality of the wines.

Altogether the domaine consists of 50 different parcels, distributed over 22 appellations. Traditional Burgundian varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as Aligote are cultivated. Focus is on Chassagne-Montrachet, where Pillot produces eight different cuvees, including one red village appellation, one white village appellation, one red Premier Cru, Morgeot (the rare pearl) and five white Premier Crus, Les Vergers, Les Champgains, Morgeot, Vide Bourse and Grandes Ruchottes. From Pommard, the domaine produces three red Premier Cru, Rugiens, Les Carmots and Clos de Verger, as well as the cuvee Tavannes. Merusault Premier Cru Caillerets, Saint Aubin Premier Cru Sentier du Clou, and Beaune Premier Cru Boucherottes round out their top labels, while their entry level Bourgogne Rouge and Aligote offer a taste of Pillot at value prices.

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