We have long admired Jacques Girardin’s very limited production of Les Terrasses de Bievaux Santenay, an elegant white Burgundy with a caressing aroma, exceptional delicacy, and richness of flavor. It may be one of Burgundy’s best kept secrets, except we have found it and the word is out. And happily, the 2012 Jacques Girardin Les Terrasses de Bievaux looks to be this estate’s finest Les Terrasses de Bievaux to date, so sit back and enjoy this beautiful white Santenay as it dazzles the nose with the scents of acacia, ripe summer apples and subtle spice tones infused with toasty new oak. Then take a sip. Allow the wine to unfold in the glass, shed its initial chill and begin to work its magic. Savor the wine’s graceful, subtle Chardonnay flavors, wrapped gracefully in a cachet of vanilla and spice. And if you are still not moved, wait a few more minutes: the 2012 Jacques Girardin Santenay Les Terrasses de Bievaux will continue to expand in the glass. As classic white Burgundy, the wine will never come across as big or brawny like many California Chardonnays. Instead, the butter and oak tones complement the wine, rather than dominate it, which give this white Santenay superb balance, multidimensional flavors, and a rare sophistication – all of which provide great charm and earn Girardin’s 2012 Les Terrasses de Bievaux high marks. Like fine red Burgundies, white Burgundies – and that includes Santenay – require time to collect themselves, too, so afford the 2012 Les Terrasses de Bievaux Santenay a bit of aeration and the time to reveal all that it has to offer; you won’t be disappointed. Salut!
Since grace, style, and sophistication are obvious attributes of Jacques Girardin’s 2012 Santenay Les Terrasses de Bievaux, we suggest food pairings that truly complement the wine’s subtle, complex flavors. Foods with distinct singular flavors such as lobster and crab legs pair beautifully with this wine, especially when served with drawn butter, red potatoes, and haricots verts. Poached salmon, sole, and flounder are other perennial favorites, especially when served in a savory cream sauce. A mildly spiced crab dip or salmon mousse gets our nod as well. Scallops, sautéed with butter, white wine, and fresh herbs provide another tasty accompaniment. However, seafood is hardly the only choice with Jacques Girardin’s 2012 Les Terrasses de Bievaux. White meats offer good companionship, too, especially simple, flavorful classics such as Breast of Chicken with cream, or sautéed Veal Medallions with mushrooms. And if good old-fashioned sipping is more to your liking, the 2012 Jacques Girardin Les Terrasses de Bievaux requires only a thin, clean glass to shine. Bon appétit!
Jacques Girardin is the archetypal Burgundy grower and producer. In other words, Domaine Jacques Girardin is a real family affair. Jacques tends the vineyards, works the cellar, and makes the wines, while his wife keeps the books, handles all the sales, and sees to the mounting pile of export regulations that make it increasingly difficult for small family owned wineries to export their wares. For generations, the Girardin family has been well represented among the finest names in Burgundy. Jacques’ father, Jean, was a renowned winemaker as is Jacques’ brother, Vincent. Jacques has been producing fine estate bottled offerings at his domaine since 1978, but most importantly, no one consistently makes finer white or red Burgundy in Santenay than Jacques Girardin.
Domaine Jacques Girardin lies in the south of Burgundy in the commune of Santenay, the most southerly area of the fabled Côte d’Or. It comprises a mere 8 hectares (19.8 acres). All of Girardin’s red wine holdings warrant Premier Cru status, with the Beauregard and Clos Rousseau vineyards in Santenay being the most heralded. Jacques Girardin also fashions tiny quantities of excellent Santenay Blanc Les Terrasses de Bievaux (this month’s feature) and Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot. All of Girardin’s wines spend time in barriques, of which 30% of the barrels are new. The results are supple, beautifully wrought Burgundies, both red and white, that drink extremely well even in their youth. Santé!
Burgundy is a wine as well as a place. In fact, it is many wines and many distinct locales, all of which were once part of the ancient duchy of Burgundy. Situated several hundred kilometers southwest of Paris, Burgundy is hallowed ground to serious lovers of the vine. From its golden hillsides, whose center slopes are so aptly named the Côte d’Or, flow France’s most expensive and profound wines. Names such as Romanée Conti, Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, and Le Montrachet among others have been delighting serious wine aficionados for centuries. Yet, there is much more to Burgundy and its wines than a few illustrious names. For starters, Burgundy is the ancestral of home of two of the world’s most revered grape varieties – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Clearly, Burgundy is much more than a single wine or one great vineyard: it is a special place, a land almost entirely devoted to wine in one fashion or another. However, what remains surprising to many wine drinkers is that Burgundy is both red and white wine, the best of which come from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay exclusively. With a few rare exceptions, the finest Burgundies emanate from the region’s core, the Côte d’Or, which begins on the fabled Côte de Nuits, just to the south of Dijon, and flows all the way south to Santenay at the tip of the Côte de Beaune. The Premier and Grand Cru wines from these illustrious hillsides are worth their weight in gold. Salut!
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