DOMAINE FERNAND ET LAURENT PILLOT
The Pillot family have been growing grapes in Chassagne-Montrachet since the 19th century. Laurent, who has been in charge of the domaine for over ten years, is the 5th generation. Today, the domaine comprises nearly 15 hectares and covers over 22 different appellations. Their modern, temperature controlled winery, on the outskirts of the village, was built in 1995, but still appears state-of-the-art and has recently been extended. He has now been joined by his young son, Adrien, who is full of great ideas – having worked in South Africa (Hamilton-Russell), New Zealand, Oregon and Australia – including longer elevages for some of the white wines.
Laurent strongly believes in low yields and a strict form of viticulture, which he describes as being “80% organic”. Any necessary treatments are kept to the very minimum possible. All his white wines are vinified in barrique and are characterized by purity, accessibility, fresh fruit flavours and minerality, rather than oak. 1er Cru Vergers is from 0.9 hectares of 60 year old vines on rock, with little topsoils.
The wine is, accordingly, very tense and minerally. 1er Cru Morgeot is from the top part and is less open-knit and plump than most. 1er Cru Champgains is from heavier soils and is rounder and more accessible. His finest white holdings are from 1er Cru Vide Bourse, 40+ year old vines (directly next to Bâtard Montrachet) which is chiselled, tense and salty and 1er Cru Grandes Ruchottes, which is on shallow, rocky limestone (the same soils as Chevalier Montrachet), above Morgeot. It is always ripe and generous, yet intensely minerally.
His reds, which are generally 100% destemmed, have improved beyond all recognition over the last few vintages. They are ripe, succulent, elegant and delicious. The Volnay is lovely, sweet and open-knit. Pommard “Tavannes” is from 45 year old vines just next to Les Epenots. It is always plush, ripe and accessible. 1er Cru Les Rugiens is a grand vin, in every sense, coming from 1/3 Rugiens-Haut and 2/3 Rugiens-Bas (the better bit!).