Sylvain has 3ha of 50yo vines for his red Marsannay. Aged in a mix of 2 to 10yo barrels plus several old demi-muids. Yields average a low 35hh, he uses an old vertical press, presses very slowly over 6-8 hours. Unfiltered, the sulphur use is minimal with total levels of around 20-25mg/l. Intense fruit with fine tanins and considerable length. Beautiful Pinot.
Notes on the Producer
Born and bred in Marsannay, but not from a winemaking family, Sylvain had to start from scratch when he wanted a domaine of his own. He went to wine school in Beaune at the age of just 14 and then to wine university in Bordeaux in order to become an oenologist. And Sylvain explains, "Since my parents didn’t have any vines my plan was to travel and make several harvests a year. Instead I got a job at a lab in Beaune (with Kyriakos Kynigopoulos), where I stayed from 1997 to 2001.
He started off in 1999 with just 1ha of vines, which leaped to 9ha in 2002 including Clos du Roy and La Charme Aux Prêtres. Sylvain acquired a cave in nearby Chenôve in 2004, although still keeping an old and jam-packed vaulted cellar in the centre of Marsannay for barrel ageing his wines. As the years have passed, he has gathered an enviable number of some of the finest terroirs of Marsannay, where a layer of limestone is never far from the surface. They have been tended biodynamically since 2015. He loves to keep tiny parcels of very old vines and has become the leading proponent of the re-appraisal of aligoté. A grape which has many similarities to chardonnay, both were first grown in Burgundy in the 17th century and are natural crosses of pinot and gouais blanc – two of Western Europe’s most ancient and prolific progenitors. Sylvain produces a clutch of age-worthy single-vineyard aligotés that explore the grape’s nuances. He is one of five founder members of the Aligoteurs association, a group that now numbers 50 growers (mainly Burgundy) dedicated to showcasing the finest expression of the grape, and hosting a fascinating tasting every April.