We have admired Girardin’s very limited production of Les Terrasses de Bievaux Santenay for more than a decade. A tiny production from the southern flank of the Côte d’Or, this Chassagne-Montrachet look-alike constitutes the finest value in white Burgundy, yet it remains one of Burgundy’s best kept secrets. Jacques Girardin’s 2018 Terrasses de Bievaux Santenay is a supremely elegant white Burgundy with a caressing aroma, juicy flavors, and wonderful minerality. It dazzles the nose and palate with a cache of summer fruits, apricot, white peach, and juicy lemon – all infused with a subtle nuttiness, a hint of vanilla, and pinpoint precision. For ultimate enjoyment, afford this fine white Burgundy from Santenay a moderate chill (40° F) before allowing it to unfold slowly in the glass to shed some of its wintry chill. Savor then the wine’s graceful, subtle Chardonnay flavors that come wrapped in a light veil of vanilla and spice. As classic white Burgundy, the 2018 Les Terrasses de Bievaux will never come across as big or brawny like many California Chardonnays. Instead, refined butter and oak tones meld with the wine’s fruit to complement rather than dominate. Superb balance, multidimensional flavors, and a rare sophistication earn Jacques Girardin’s 2018 Les Terrasses de Bievaux high marks. Like fine red Burgundies, white Burgundies, which include Santenay, require time to collect themselves, so afford the 2018 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 2018 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 an especially tasty accompaniment. However, seafood is hardly the only choice with Jacques Girardin’s 2018 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 2018 Jacques Girardin Les Terrasses de Bievaux requires only a thin, clean glass to shine. The Girardins, father and son, have learned their craft well. Bon appétit!
The young Justin Girardin has recently taken over the helm of this renowned property from his father, Jacques. The Girardins have been tending vines in Santenay since 1570, which makes Justin the 13th generation of winemakers in his family. The Girardins remain the archetypal Burgundy growers and producers as Domaine Jacques Girardin is still very much a family affair. Father Jacques continues to help tend the vines, work in the cellar, and assist Justin in the domaine’s winemaking, while Mom 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 Girardin, was a renowned winemaker as is his brother, Vincent. Domaine Jacques Girardin is farmed organically and is renowned for producing exceptional white and red Burgundies.
Domaine Jacques Girardin lies in the south of Burgundy in the commune of Santenay, the most southerly area of the fabled Côte d’Or. The core of the domaine in Santenay comprises a mere 8 hectares (19.8 acres). However, the Girardins have acquired additional vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet, Savigny-les-Beaune, and Pommard. The estate’s red wine vineyards warrant Premier Cru status, with the Beauregard and Clos Rousseau vineyards in Santenay and Les Peuillets vineyard in Savigny-les-Beaune being the most heralded. Jacques Girardin’s premier white wines emanate from Les Terrasses de Bievaux in Santenay (this month’s feature) and Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot. All of Jacques Girardin’s wines spend time in barriques, of which approximately 30% of the barrels are new. The result is supple, beautifully wrought red and white Burgundies 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 constitute some of Burgundy’s finest values and are worth their weight in gold. Salut!
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