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Elden Selections

Elden Selections
February 24, 2023 | Our producers | Elden Selections

Maison Capitain-Gagnerot

Through life we meet many people, but perhaps the most important and memorable times are when we meet a great teacher. When they introduce us to new ideas, show us things in a different light, and teach us lessons that will stay with us forever—that’s when you know you’ve met someone special. And so it was for us, when Elden Selections first met Roger Capitain, who inherited the superb Domaine Capitain-Gagnerot after the second world war (though the Domaine Gagnerot had been established much earlier, in 1802).

It was one Friday evening, late in the Fall of 1984, and the man who gave us our first real job in France took us along to the Maison Capitain-Gagnerot, claiming that this was what real Burgundy was all about. For the next 15 years, and until his death in 1999, Roger taught us what Burgundy really means, and what true flair and finesse really look like.

Capitain-Gagnerot’s appellations

The appellations that Capitain-Gagnerot produce within are amongst the finest in all of Burgundy, and should be on the list of any fan of the best small-appellation wines. by Elden Selections has them all:

  • Aloxe-Corton: the hill of Corton links the Côte de Nuits with the Côte de Beaune, and the appellation Aloxe-Corton covers the villages of Aloxe-Corton and Ladoix-Serrigny. It includes 14 premiers crus vineyards, and Capitain-Gagnerot produce an Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru 'Les Moutottes'. This vineyard has belonged to the Capitain family for generations. The vines are more than 70 years old, planted in classic Aloxe-Corton Oxfordian limestone and making 'Les Moutottes' structured, muscular and dense, with great black fruit.
  • Ladoix: Produced in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny, the appellation Ladoix includes 11 premiers crus. Ladoix shares with Aloxe-Corton and Pernand-Vergelesses the famous wines of the Corton mountain. The Capitain Ladoix 1er Cru 'La Micaude' is a 'monople', meaning they own the entire 4 acres of vines themselves. This is—and has been for nearly 30 years—our benchmark Pinot Noir.
  • Echezeaux: Going up a stage in quality, Capitain offer a Grand Cru from the Echezeaux appellation. Mythical and rare, in the right hands it can reach near perfection. Intense and alive with black cherry and cocoa, it is fine and velvety and finishes on dark bitter chocolate. The vineyard is relatively new to the Maison Capitain, but their long experience with a classy holding in the Clos Vougeot puts them in the neighborhood. It's a jewel in the Capitain crown.
  • Vosne-Romanée: Vosne-Romanée holds the middle ground in the Côte de Nuits geographically. But in terms of reputation and fame, it is the pinnacle of quality Burgundian wine villages. The Capitain-Gagnerot Vosne-Romanée ‘Aux Raviolles’ is red like a jewel, with black fruit and spices. This is balanced power, velvety and fresh, the classic Vosne ‘fist in a velvet glove’.

Roger and his two sons Patrice and Michel inherited 3 hectares of vines, but today that stands at an impressive 16 hectares. It is now Pierre-François and Delphine, Patrice’s children, who oversee its destiny, supported by their spouses.

Many of their vineyards are planted in ‘selection massale’, meaning that rather than using modern clone varieties, these vines are propagated from old, pre-clonal stock. As part of their responsible approach to sustainability, the estate has been Ecocert certified since the 2021 vintage.

They sell around 80% of their production themselves in France, much of it ‘out the door’; the remainder is exported, but again, mostly to individuals. They like the personal contact, and often deliver wine themselves to clients. That means they’re still a relatively well-kept secret, but one which you can now be a part of. Elden Selection’s raison d’etre is—via—to bring superb small-scale producers like Capitain-Gagnerot to wider markets, to the USA, and help them find the recognition and renown that they deserve.

Want to read more great articles on the wonderful world of Burgundy wines and culture? Then try this recent blog article about the Wines of the Bare Mountain of Montrachet, or our article on everything a beginner needs to know about Chardonnay. Plus, our Burgundy Wine Club is open for membership – follow this link to see the great benefits you’ll get by being a part of it!


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