Domaine Mouton Givry 1er Cru 'Clos Jus' 2018
Domaine Mouton's aptly-named 'Clos Jus' ('jus' means 'juice') is the Mouton wine we go to first. Always ripe and juicy, ready to drink relatively early. Minerality is the key here, from a vineyard with different soil make-up to the rest of the appellation. Dark fruit, earth notes, delicate structure fleshed out to fullness. We appreciate the finesse in the winemaking, an unstinting perfectionism that has been communicated across a generation. The self-effacing Moutons would be the last to admit it, but for us their wines are nearly always perfect.
Gerard Mouton and his son Laurent work about 24 acres of vines, mostly in ‘appellation’ Givry in the Cote Chalonnaise. We've know them since Laurent was just a little boy. They make four Givry first growths. But we start here with our favorite, the aptly-named 'Clos Jus'. Always ripe and juicy, ready to drink relatively early. We appreciate the finesse in the winemaking, an unstinting perfectionism that has been communicated across a generation. For us their wines are always perfect.
BURGUNDY 2018 VINTAGE
There has been talk over the past year of the 2018 vintage in Burgundy being one of the greatest of all time. Comparisons with the mythical 1947, and all that. But let’s be careful and take a closer look.
We’ve tasted some marvelous wines, both white and red, and from all of the appellation levels. Purity and concentration would be the key words across the board.
But lest we forget, 2018 was the hottest vintage in Burgundy since 2003. And frankly, we were expecting wines like we got in 2003: flabby whites and Cote du Rhone-like reds. But that did not happen. And the secret to understanding 2018 Burgundy lies in understanding the difference between these two very hot years.
If you look at 2018 from start to finish, not only was it hot, it was dry: 50% less precipitation than the annual average over the past 30 years. However, if you were here in the early part of the year, you’ll certainly remember the rain.
After a very dry summer in 2017, winter 2017-18 was wet. It rained nearly every day through March and into April. And the vine was slow to bud.
That all changed in the middle of April. Wet soil and higher temperatures brought on explosive growth in the vineyards that the vignerons had a tough time keeping up with. In a week we went from bud burst to unfurled leaves.
The first flowers burst in mid-May. The crop set regularly with very little disruption, and summer settled in. The early wet conditions followed by April’s warmth saw the onset of mildew, but the fungus never stood a chance.
It was a hot and sunny summer. Some would say it was a heat wave and a drought. And we started to see signs of stress in vineyards in certain sectors. Things were better where there was a little rain. But August was bone dry. In fact, there was no rain from June 15th to the end of October.
It was about this time that comparisons to 2015 cropped up. You could see ripeness rapidly approaching, and there was talk of harvest starting at the end of August.
The vines were incredibly healthy; no moisture means no threat from mildew or odium. No rot. Good ripeness.
And, for the first time since 2009….a normal yield! So, let the harvest begin!
And it did, in the last days of August. What was most astonishing right from the start was that the perceived acidity levels seem OK. Granted, there’s no malic acid, but the levels of tartaric acid seem to be compensating, and there is an over-all impression of balance.
Also amazing was the amount of juice the crop produced. Not only was the yield bigger than the past 10 years’ average, but the amount of juice set a record for Burgundy. So there will be a lot of 2018 around.
And all this in a year that felt more like the south of Spain than Burgundy as we know it. The only thing we can attribute the quality of 2018 to is the abundant winter rains, and the vine’s ability to go searching for water when it needs it.
The Cote Chalonnaise begins at the southern tip of the Cote de Beaune, but covers a different ridge slightly to the east. The five Cote Chalonnaise appellations run generally north to south from Bouzeron, through Rully, with Mercurey covering a basin a bit more to the west, then on down to Givry and finally Montagny. The big town is Chalon-sur Saone, but in spirit you are closer to Chassagne-Montrachet and Volnay. Givry (with its hamlets of Poncey, Cortiambles and Russilly), Dracy-le-Fort, and Jambles form a distinct wine production zone. Here red wines represent 80% of the appellation, and there are 240 acres of premier cru red (and a mere 24 acres of premier cru white).
Produced in the communes of Givry, Dracy-le-Fort and Jambles, the appellation Givry includes 26 premiers crus.
Givry is primarily a red wine made from Pinot Noir. A good one will be brilliant crimson with purple hints in youth. The nose should be floral with red and black woodland fruits. It can be spicy, black pepper and cloves, and gamey as it ages. It can show tight tannins early on, and generally needs 3 to 5 years to fully come around, showing structure and fullness, and at the same time supple finesse.
White Givry is Chardonnay, and should be a bright, limpid pale gold. Aromas of honey and lemon show good structure, while tight floral and dried fruit notes develop with age. A good Givry white is delicate, with enough balance between alcohol and acidity to leave a long finish and the promise of aging well.
Much of the area is planted on brown soils derived from the breakdown of Oxfordian Jurassic limestone and clay limestone. Most of the vines are planted facing east-south-east or due south at altitudes between 240 and 280 meters with some slightly higher.
Mainly reds - Pinot NoirWhite wines - Chardonnay
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Reds : 223.52 ha (including 96.68 ha premier cru)
Whites : 45.46 ha (including 9.45 ha premier cru)
The firm structure of the reds enrobes a delicate center, and makes this a great wine for charcuterie of all types: pâtés and terrines, as well as cured hams. However, it is solid enough for roast beef joints and braised and stewed fibrous cuts. We're not far from Bresse here, so poultry (especially the famous blue-footed Bresse chicken) is often on the menu in better local restaurants. It is equally well-matched with soft cheeses like Camembert, Brie and Reblochon.
Givry whites are well matched with fish in light sauces. Freshwater fish like pike and pike-perch from the Saone river are the base of many traditional dishes of the area. As for cheeses, try pressed-curd cheeses such as Saint-Nectaire and Cantal.
On the label, the appellations 'Givry' and 'Givry 1er Cru' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
A Vigne Rouge
Clos de la Baraude
Clos du Cras long
Clos du Vernoy
La Grande Berge
Le Petit Prétan
Les Bois Chevaux
Les Bois Gautiers
Les Grandes Vignes
Les Grands Prétans
Clos du Cellier aux Moines
La Petite Berge
Le Champ Lalot
Le Pied du Clou
Pied de Chaume
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit.
Brusseaux de Charron
Champ la Dame
Clos de la Brûlée
Les Plants Sont Fleuris
Les Vignes Rondes
Teppe des Chenèves