Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot

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Jean-Marc Pillot is the fourth generation of his branch of the Pillot family to tend vineyards in Chassagne Montrachet. He joined his father, Jean, in 1985 to learn the craft of “vigneron”. After six years of working side-by-side, Jean-Marc assumed the direction of the domaine in 1991 with the assistance of his wife, Nadine, and his sister, Beatrice. Of course, his father, Jean, remains by his side rendering advice and valuable assistance in the vineyards (often while he is tending the garden in back of the chai!). Jean-Marc has instituted several changes at the estate, the most prominent of which is the construction of a new cave. Of equal importance, Jean-Marc expanded the amount of vineyards under cultivation and has made subtle modifications in vinification and elevage to place his own “mark” on this estate which now covers approximately fifteen hectares with an annual production of, more or less, 60,000 bottles.

The domaine is dominated by its production of white wines but there are important cuvées of red wine produced here as well. Vineyard holdings are spread throughout the village of Chassagne with subsidiary parcels in Puligny, Santenay, Meursault and Remigny (to the south). This breadth of real estate enables the Pillot family to produce a stunning range of wines that put on brilliant display the intricacies of terroir in this southern tier of the Cote de Beaune. The estate’s jewels are its premier crus blancs (Baudines, Chenevottes, Macherelles, Vergers, Morgeot, Caillerets, La Maltroie and Champs Gain) and premier cru rouges (Macherelles, Morgeot, Clos St.Jean), all within the boundaries of Chassagne Montrachet. However, one should not overlook several gems that come from less exalted appellations, such as the Bourgogne Blanc “Grands Champs”, the Bourgogne Rouge “Grandes Terres”, and the expressive Santenay Rouge “Champs Claude”; and, of course, there are the fine village wines in both white and red from Chassagne. Jean-Marc also accesses grapes in very limited quantities from interesting appellations like his Montagny 1er Cru “Les Gouresses” and Saint Romain Blanc “La Perriere”.

The vines in most parcels are between 25 and 50 years old; in certain instances the vines are considerably older, reaching the 100 year mark in Clos Saint Jean and Clos Saint Marc (within the cru of Vergers). Traditional viticultural practices are used in the vineyards. Both Cordon de Royat and Guyot Simple pruning and training systems are employed. The spring and summer months are the time for intensive work in the vineyards to control the size and quality of the harvest, the work including de-budding, leaf-control and, when necessary, the vendange en vert. The vineyards are plowed, no herbicides are used and planting is at high density (10,000 vines per hectare on the village level; 12,000 vines per hectare on the 1er Cru level).

Harvest is manual. The white wines are almost all fermented and aged in barrel with a regimen of 10% to 30% new oak (the degree depending on the structure and importance of the wine). The wines are aged on the fine lees for twelve months and then are racked out of barrel into stainless steel tanks to clarify and settle naturally for an additional six months. The extra aging avoids the necessity to cold stabilize the wine. The red wines are destemmed entirely; the grapes undergo a brief cold maceration (up to five days) and then the alcoholic fermentation covers 10 to 12 days with both remontage and pigeage being practiced daily during that period. The reds are racked into barrel where the malolactic fermentation occurs; the wines are left in contact with the fine lees for twelve months; then, the wines are racked from barrel into stainless steel for an additional six months of aging before being bottled without filtration.

Bourgogne Aligoté: Jean-Marc owns a parcel of Aligoté in the village of Remigny planted in 2000. Vinified and aged entirely in stainless steel, the 2018—the first vintage we have purchased—is brisk in its acidity, with pure, tensile flavors of preserved lemon, sage, and musk melon. Nimble and easy-drinking, it nonetheless displays a modest degree of complexity for its variety, as well as a mouthwatering saline edge
Pillot-Bourgogne-Les-Grands-Champs-BLANC-2003 Bourgogne Blanc Les Grands Champs: From a parcel on the southeastern end of Chassagne Montrachet, this wine now passes its elevage in stainless steel tank to preserve its freshness. It shares the broad shoulders and dense texture of the wines of Chassagne. Bottled twelve months after the harvest, this wine establishes the base-line for the generous, open style adopted by Jean-Marc Pillot for all of his wines. In years of normal production, we import 2400 bottles for the US market.
Montagny “Les Bassets”:  Comes  from a small parcel within the lieu-dit “Les Bassets” This classic Montagny is  piercingly mineral and direct. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks and bottled about a year after harvest.  Jean-Marc makes about 4000btls a year, 2400 of which are imported to the USA.
pillot-saint-romain-perriere Saint Romain Blanc La Perriere: A small cuvée vinified in stainless steel which emphasizes the earthy minerality of this appellation. An honest and satisfying wine that is appealingly forthright. Rather sturdy, very concentrated with the lively acidity that is typical of this appellation. We import approximately 50 cases annually.
Pillot-Montagny-Gouresses-2002 Montagny 1er Cru Les Gouresses: Pillot stretches farther afield into the Cote Chalonnaise and applies a bit of the Chassagne tradition to this wine. The grapes are harvested from a parcel of very old vines (in excess of 100 years) and the resulting concentration enables Pillot to barrel ferment and age a wine that a vigneron of Montagny might have left in cuve. Pillot’s Montagny is a surprisingly honeyed wine that still manages to reflect the cut and stoniness typical of this appellation. Two barrels (fifty cases) find their way to the States annually.
Pillot-Meursault-Les-Grands-Charrons Meursault Les Grands Charrons: One of the more recent additions to the Pillot domaine, this is a tiny parcel of 0.16 hectares situated in a lieu-dit that sits just above the village and not terribly far from the fine 1er Cru “Goutte d’Or”.
Pillot-Puligny-Noyers-Brets-2001 Puligny Montrachet Les Noyers Brets: This wine is produced from the sole holdings of the Pillot family in the neighboring village of Puligny. The “Noyer Brets” vineyard is on the southern side of Puligny not far from the border with Chassagne. It is a lieu-dit situated just beneath and to the east of “Les Enseigneres” and Bienvenues Batard Montrachet. The vines were planted in 1973. Fermented and aged in small barrel, this cuvée shows the elegance and profound minerality that mark the terroir of Puligny and offers a singular contrast to the Chassagne-situated wines of the rest of the domaine. Approximately four barrels (or 1200 bottles) are reserved for our use annually in the USA.
Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc “Les Masures”: Pillot owns half a hectare of Chardonnay in this well-positioned lieu-dit, which sits just below premier cru Champs-Gains on the slope. One third of his vines here were planted in 1950, one-third in 1990, and one-third in 2010. This 2017 is a classically rendered Chassagne-Montrachet, one which deftly balances rich, mouth-filling fruit with a powerful mineral thrust. [Note: as of the 2016 vintage, this replaces the Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc “Les Chaumes” with which we had worked for many years.]
Pillot-Chassasgne-Chaume-2001 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc Les Chaumes: This village-level wine is produced from grapes grown in a parcel just east and beneath the 1er Cru site of Morgeot – Les Fairendes and immediately north and adjacent to the 1er Cru « Les Grandes-Ruchottes ». The vines were planted in 1959; the parcel is in excess of two hectares in size. From this elite position in the southern tier of the village, the wine is consistently round and full-bodied with notes of honey but it carries a bright acidity in the finish which gives it length and breed. We normally purchase 2400 bottles per annum for the US market; some of that production we put up in half bottles.
Pillot-Chenevotte Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Les Chenevottes: This cuvée is from the northernmost holdings of the domaine in Chassagne as it fronts onto the border with Saint Aubin and Puligny. It is here that Pillot reveals the more elegant side of Chassagne. A small holding (0.29 hectares, vines planted in 1950) that yields a wine that is generous and silky with more citrus notes than the cuvées from the southern edge of Chassagne. A barrel, or 300 bottles, is allocated for our use in the USA.
Pillot-Chassagne-Vergers-2002 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Les Vergers: Sourced from a half-hectare parcel planted in 1949, the Vergers is in the northern tier of Chassagne on a substantial slope which lends this wine a considerable degree of finesse. It is rather open in its youth, more floral than its companion wines and one of the most consistently satisfying wines of the domaine. We import 1200 bottles per annum for the US market.
Pillot-Vergers-Clos-St-Marc Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Les Vergers – Clos Saint Marc: This is one of the elite cuvées of this domaine as it is made from an old vine parcel (planted in 1910) in a walled “clos” within Vergers. It is considered by almost all as the most important “cru” of the estate.
Pillot-Chassagne-Macherelles-ROUGE Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Les Macherelles: This premier cru sits just south of Chenevottes and edges towards the center of the village. The Pillot parcel (0.28 hectare) was planted in 1951 with a portion replanted in 1988. The Macherelles is often the most generous and straight-forward of the 1er Crus in white.
PILLOT-CHASSAGNE-LA-MALTROIE Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru La Maltroie: This tiny parcel of 0.16 hectares is a recent addition to the Pillot domaine. This lieu-dit is just south of the village and next to Champs Gains. The vines were planted in 1951 and these old vines give a formidable level of concentration to this classic version of Chassagne.
Pillot-Chassagne-Champs-Gains Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Champs Gains: The Champs Gains vineyard is in the center of Chassagne, planted in about equal proportions to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pillot has a ¼ hectare parcel of vines planted in 1977. The Champs Gains here is a rich wine of classic Chassagne proportions, more generous and rugged than its neighbors to the north but without the complexity of the adjoining Caillerets.
Pillot-Chassagne-Caillerets-2004 Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Caillerets: The Caillerets, sourced from vines planted in 1969, is perhaps the most complete wine amongst the 1er Crus (let’s exclude for the moment the “Clos Saint Marc” which is almost “outside of category”!). As it should be due to its distinguished position on the slope above Morgeot and Champs Gains, the Caillerets manages to bring both power and finesse to the palate.
Pillot-Chassagne-Morgeot-ROUGE Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Morgeot – Les Fairendes: The Morgeot is known for its broad-shouldered wines, often the most rich and unctuous of the crus of Chassagne. In this case, Pillot’s vines are located within the most renowned sector of Morgeot known as “Les Fairendes”. This quarter-hectare parcel planted in 1970 benefits from that most favorable of positions to produce a wine that, while large-scaled, has a finesse and presence that elevates it above its more rustic colleagues.
PILLOT-CHASSAGNE-BAUDINES Chassagne Montrachet Blanc 1er Cru Les Baudines: This wine is sourced from the southernmost tier of Chassagne, on the border with Santenay, where it sits high on a hill. Its position gives it slightly less exposure to the late day sun which provides this wine with raciness and fine breed rather than the more massive structure of the 1er Crus in the center section of the village. This small (0.15 hectare) parcel was planted in 1975.
Pillot-Bourgogne-Grandes-Terres-2005 Bourgogne Rouge Les Grandes Terres: This little red is a favorite of ours for its rustic, wild berry fruit and ebullient palate presence. The vineyard is located south of Chassagne in the town of Remigny. Some of the vines are quite old, approaching the 60-year mark (as of 2012).
Pillot-Santenay-Champs-Claude-2005 Santenay Les Champs: Claude Pillot works a significant parcel of almost 1.4 hectares in this lieu-dit in Santenay planted in 1970 to Pinot Noir. This is a red with lots of character, a proud representative of this appellation that is not acknowledged often enough in our opinion as the source for red wines of great character. Pillot’s version is properly rustic with grainy tannins supporting red berry fruit.
Pillot-Chassagne-Rouge-Mes-VV Chassagne Montrachet Rouge Mes Vieilles Vignes: Pillot exploits over a hectare of vineyards planted in 1960 to Pinot Noir at the village level. This is a robust, cherry-flavored wine of strength and vigor. A simple, satisfying red from a village that should be more recognized for the high quality of its red wines, this being a prime example.
Pillot-Chassagne-Macherelles-ROUGE Chassagne Montrachet Rouge 1er Cru Les Macherelles: This wine is sourced from a parcel of 0.37 hectare size planted to very old Pinot Noir vines (1954 for the date of planting). Much like the Champs Gains vineyard, its neighbor to the north of the village, Macherelles is planted sometimes to Chardonnay and sometimes to Pinot Noir.
Pillot-Chassagne-Morgeot-ROUGE Chassagne Montrachet Rouge 1er Cru Morgeot: The most robust of the reds from Pillot’s cellars, the vines for this cuvée were planted in 1967. The parcel is 0.65 hectare in size. Again, the Morgeot Rouge is a testament to the capacity of the village of Chassagne, and Jean-Marc in particular, to produce red wines of substantial character.
pillot-chassagne-rouge-Clos-St-Jean Chassagne Montrachet Rouge 1er Cru Clos Saint Jean: This wine is sourced from a superbly placed vineyard high on the hill overlooking the village. It is known for producing Chassagne’s red wines of greatest finesse, almost the antithesis in its elegance to the rugged character of the Morgeot. The vines for this wine were planted in 1910 in a parcel of 0.45 hectare size.
Corton Charlemagne: Jean-Marc Pillot typically makes 2 barrels a year from fruit purchased from his friend Blair Pethel of Domaine Dublere.  Blair spent a year working alongside Jean-Marc and has generously allowed him access to a small part of his vineyard.  Aromatically complex, honeyed, with wild herbs, mint and chamomile, the Corton Charlemagne is a structured and mineral driven wine that stands out among his other offerings from the hill of Chassagne. We are fortunate to receive 5cs of this a year for the US.
The parcel from which this fruit is sourced was formerly farmed by the Rollin family, our producers in Pernand Vergelesses, under a contract with the former owner.  So, we are very familiar with the character of the fruit from this vineyard, beautifully situated in the center of the appellation.

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