Jacques Girardin is the archetypal Burgundy grower and producer. In other words, the 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.
Domaine Jacques Girardin is located 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 (17.6 acres). However, all of Girardin’s red wine holdings warrant Premier Cru status. The family’s most heralded red wine hails from the 1er Cru vineyards of Beauregard and Clos Rousseau in Santenay. Jacques Girardin also fashions tiny quantities of very good Santenay Blanc and Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot. All of Girardin’s Premier Cru (1er Cru) wines spend 12 months in barrique, of which 30% of the barrels are new. The result is supple, beautifully wrought Burgundian Pinot Noirs 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 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 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!