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Over the summer another of Gagnard’s importers complained about competition from Ansonia, and winemaker Caroline Lestimé asked us to remove her wines from our website. We complied, and while planning to move her to our “Futures only” list, we briefly considered whether it might be simpler to end our 22-year importing relationship. We have other Chassagne sources now, and the Gagnard wines are at the pricey end of the spectrum. Then we tasted the 2018 samples she sent us.

Caroline continues to produce superb wines. Up and down the price scale these are superlative examples of their terroir. Her style has modernized a bit in recent years, as she’s converted to organics and uses somewhat less oak — but the Gagnard wines remain classic. Big, rich, mouthfilling wines full of depth and volume, but also energy and grace. As we won’t be getting any for inventory, this will be your only shot at these wines.

Caroline’s entry level wine is a Côte de Beaune Villages called Sous Eguisons (“under the cliff”). It’s always a great buy, and in 2018 is even more attractive and substantial than usual. Look for white flowers and lemon peel in the nose, and a smooth mouth with excellent freshness. Burghound called it “outstanding,” naming it a “top value” and finding “fine intensity.”

At the village level, Gagnard’s Chassange-Montrachet “Chaumes” is its usual gorgeous self. The nose is fresh and very expressive, showing opulent golden fruit alongside coconut and lime. The mouth is very long, exploding with depth and richness. Burghound called it “outstanding” finding it “succulent and very rich, indeed suave.” Tasted blind, you’d peg this as a premier cru.

At the Premier Cru level, we have two suggestions. The first, Clos de la Maltroye, we haven’t tasted. (Our March tasting visit never happened, and Caroline didn’t send a sample.) But it’s always impressive, and based on the Burghound note, we feel confident including it. Burghound, awarding 91-93 points, writes “A decidedly pungent nose combines notes of strong resin, citrus peel, rosemary oil, matchstick and an admirably deft dollop of wood. There is once again fine richness to the delicious and attractively textured medium-bodied flavors that flash good power on the impressively complex and even more persistent finish.”


The second premier cru we can recommend enthusiastically from personal experience. We’ve always felt Gagnard’s Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Caillerets” performs at near-Grand Cru levels, and 2018 is no exception. This wine is magnificent — bold, enormous, and elegant. It always requires 3-5 years to show its potential, and we’ve had excellent bottles well into their second decade. Burghound gave 91-93 points, calling it “opulent” and finding “excellent volume and richness.” Jasper Morris awarded 93-96 points, finding “huge energy” and concluding “will be spectacular.”

Finally, Caroline has offered a truly miniscule quantity of her only Grand Cru, Batard-Montrachet. As you might have guessed, we didn’t try this one either — but we can say from experience, this wine operates on a different level. Burghound calls it “powerful,” “rich, opulent” and “broad-shouldered,” predicting 2030 as a date to begin drinking. Jasper Morris agreed, awarding 94-97 points and reporting “really impressive potential here.” As our allocation is truly tiny, we’re limiting buyers to 1 bottle apiece.

Caroline’s reds are just as expertly made as her whites, and while they’ll never quite share the spotlight, they offer classic takes on the Chassagne terroir. In this issue we suggest Caroline’s 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Morgeot” rouge. The nose is deep and perfumed, with notes of black pepper, earth, and plum. The mouth is bursting with well-coated tannins and the finish is quite long. We’d give this 2-4 years before opening, but, given the amount of stuffing from the vintage, wouldn’t worry holding off for 6-8.

(case prices)

Sous Eguisons 2018: $425
Chassagne-Montrachet “Chaumes” 2018: $825
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Clos de la Maltroye” 2018: $1,195
Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Caillerets” 2018: $1,995

Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2018: $650/bot

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru “Morgeot” rouge 2018: $695



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