A tasting with Jean-Charles Fagot

The wines of the Côte d’Or are becoming unaffordable. Village wines from the most sought-after domaines routinely retail for three-figure sums. It’s a problem felt particularly acutely by restaurants, so it’s not surprising that one man who’s bucking the trend is a restaurateur: Jean-Charles Fagot, the proprietor of one of my favourite places to eat in all Burgundy, the inimitable Auberge du Vieux Vigneron. Jean-Charles’ ambition is simple: to produce unpretentious, affordable wines that faithfully respect their appellations; and in the 2015 vintage that ambition has been fully realized. The convivial ambiance of his restaurant is reflected in the wines’ frank, pleasure-bent personalities. As demand for Burgundy’s most ardently-pursued bottlings rises, and supply diminishes, restaurants and importers will have to seek out more producers like Jean-Charles Fagot.

Tasting notes:

NV Jean-Charles Fagot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut: A blend of Pinot Noir and Aligoté, this friendly Crémant boasts an expressive nose of orchard fruit and spring flowers, a fine mousse and plenty of juicy fruit on the palate. With vibrant acidity but no hard edges this is perfectly-judged as an aperitif. 88/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot (Domaine) Bourgogne Aligoté: An attractively uncomplicated old-vine Aligoté from the domaine’s own vines: notes of citrus zest and white flowers lead into an attractively concentrated wine with good texture and mouth-watering acidity. 85/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Bourgogne Blanc “Les Louères”: Les Louères is a rather gourmand Bourgogne Blanc in 2015, bursting with expressive aromas of peach, smoke and subtle spice. On the palate the wine is rich and expansive with good cut and concentration. A very giving wine which would deliver a lot of satisfaction by the glass. 88/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Bourgogne Blanc “Les Champs l’Huillier”: From old vines the Champs l’Huillier bottling is more tensile, restrained and serious. The more reserved nose opens with notes of confit lemon, struck flint, pear and hazelnut, introducing a nicely focussed wine with very good persistence and energy for its level and vintage: this could give plenty of village wines a run for its money. 90/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Rully Blanc: The Rully is very typical of the appellation, revealing a pretty bouquet of green apple and honeysuckle and a glossy, textural palate impression balanced by correct acidity and concluding with nice grip on the finish. 87/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Saint-Romain Blanc: This is a beautiful vintage for the cool, high-altitude vineyards of Saint-Romain, and Jean-Charles Fagot has produced a very attractive wine, full of character, with an expressive bouquet of musky peach, citrus zest, hazelnut and smoke. The palate reveals good cut, minerality and tension through the finish. 90/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Auxey-Duresses Les Ruchottes Blanc: This is one of the choicest cuvées in the cellar this year, with a complex bouquet of pear, apple, hazlenut and pastry cream which leads into a full-bodied, rich and concentrated wine with nice energy and depth on the mid-palate and finish. 91/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Blanc: Notes of green apple, white flowers and honeycomb introduce a supple, glossy and elegant Saint-Aubin with plenty of juicy fruit and textural refinement. 91/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Puligny-Montrachet: The Puligny AOC bottling is very typical of its appellation, revealing a properly reserved bouquet of citrus zest, white flowers and crushed stones; the prelude to an elegant, mid-weight village wine with nice freshness in this warm vintage. 90/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Bourgogne Rouge “Les Riaux”: A generous Bourgogne Rouge, bursting with spicy red cherry fruit and structured by rich, ripe and refined tannins, balanced by juicy acidity. An expressive and giving wine which represents an admirable success for its appellation. 89/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Rully Rouge: Notes of wild berries, plum and spice introduce a supple Rully with fine tannins, a pleasure-bent personality and no hard edges. This should be delicious on release. 88/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge “Vieilles Vignes”: This wine is one of the stars of the range, revealing a complex bouquet of wild berries, rich soil tones, tar, smoke and dark chocolate. On the palate the wine is fine-grained, full-bodied and layered, with good depth and concentration and an impressively persistent finish. Really quite a serious Chassagne rouge, with quite a firm structural chassis but none of the rusticity to which this appellation can fall prey. 92/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Mercurey Premier Cru Clos de l’Evêque Rouge: This is a lovely Mercurey rouge, bursting with juicy red-black cherry, game and rich soil tones. On the palate the wine is supple, open-knit and juicy, with nicely enrobed tannins and a lovely core of generous fruit. 90/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Santenay Premier Cru Gravières: This is an elegant rendition of Santenay, opening in the glass with pretty aromas of strawberry, cherry and blood orange; the prelude to a supple, ripe but well-balanced wine which will drink well on release. 90/100

2015 Jean-Charles Fagot Aloxe-Corton: Aromas of cassis, woodsmoke, cherry, rich soil and espresso introduce a full-bodied, concentrated wine with fine but firm tannins and good aging potential: along with the Chassagne-Montrachet this is the most serious of Jean-Charles Fagot’s reds in 2015. 91/100

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