A visit to Domaine Jacques Carillon in 2015: A passionate winemaker of amazing precision

The Carilion family has a very long history as a top domaine in Puligny Montrachet, but always a little under the radar. Their family trace back to early 16th Century. Since 2010 the two brothers split the vineyards of their father, so now there are two Carillion domaines; one headed by Jacques Carillion and the other by his brother Francois Carillion just next door. We have previously met a couple of times with Francois, but this was our first visit with Jacques.

Unfortunately our lacking language skills made the dialog quite basic, but Jacques found ways to get across the most important information. Jacques is a rather careful and very polite man but when we talk about his wines and the vineyards a spark is lit and he gets very engaged.

In short, their main focus is on the work in the 5,5 ha vineyards where they are inspired by organic methods, but they have not taken the step to a full implementation and certification. They prune short in winter, green harvest is used when necessary and they cut their vines rather high to give them more sun to render more energy into the grapes. In general Jacques is careful with the usage of new oak, only 15-20% which is less than his brother and lightly toasted, since he wants the wines to convey the terroir and vintage and just enhance and round off the grape juice. He ages the wines for one year on the lees. Except for making honest wines that reflect its origins, he likes his wine to be about deep minerality and body. For the latter he does some batonage, but very, very carefully.

Wines tasted

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon “village”, Puligny-Montrachet – Barrel

Very pure and fresh expression on this wine that feels classic for the region. Very crisp and with lots of minerals but also a precise and energetic acidity. Some white flower and young fruit show up after a while.

This is a precise and pretty wine for a village level.

88p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Champs Canet”, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru – Barrel

Their vines are mid slope in the vineyard. 20 % new oak on the lees.

The wine is extremely floral with lilies, white flowers but also fresh notes of gooseberries. There is a burst of freshness from an amazing acidity with notes for lime, gooseberries and lemon. Lots of minerals and texture is creamy and thick. A very fresh and precise wine with medium full body. Quite persistent too.

90-91p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru Les Pèrrieres, Puligny-Montrachet – Barrel

Andreas:

Very precise and fresh nose with citrus, tropical fruit, mainly passion fruit, amazingly minerals and, after a while, a beautiful perfume. The palate is infused with minerals and has a juicy lime acidity to carry the quite dense multi layered fruit.

The wine is all about finesse and precision but also has a quite generous side to it.

93p/100

Sir Galahad:

On the nose, elegant perfume, citrus shells. Fine, fresh water-stains of delicate minerals.

Very fine structure and impressive precision. Chalk and mineral embedded citrus and passion fruit with really good precision and purity. Starts off narrow but with a distinct direction and then half way, it fires off its aromas and nectar in the very pure and persistent finish.

94-95p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Referts”, Puligny-Montrachet – Barrel

Expressive and generous nose with an abundance of ripe tropical fruit, but with less citrus. A fresh expression from minerals in a very subtle and clean.  Just dive into the nose.

On the palate there is a soft but fresh acidity combined with an abundance of mineral-coated passion fruit and burned almonds. Fruit is dense and juicy but never too heavy. In the end we get a long and broad finish.

This is a wine that does not hold back its generosity, but still manages to stay focused with high concentration. Some resemblance to the fleshiness in Mersault in here too. Very good.

93p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Macherelles”, Chassagne-Montrachet – Barrel

Andreas:

Extremely pure and almost a bit watery with fresh nectarines and a splash of lime. The minerals cannot be held back from this wine and the acidity is very delicate and precise. A beautiful and quite laid back and sensual wine with a precise and quite citric finish which closes down the experience perfectly.

92p/100

Sir Galahad:

Fresh perfume of nectarines. Some chablis resemblance to the minerality. A very delicate and fresh nose indeed.

Some nettles, an abundance of ripe lime fruit, chess nut and passion fruit. Packed with a variety of fresh aromas embedded in a thin layer of chalky minerals as well as great, crisp acidity and impressive precision.

94p/100

2013 Domaine Jacques Carillon Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru – Barrel

One barrel only. Normally two.

In the beginning the nose is quite light and delicate but still quite expressive and it opened up after a while in the glass. Hints of beeswax, nuts, dried honey and some white flower in a complex and elegant nose.

The palate is more expressive and shows dense fruit, fresh and vibrant minerals and a quite citric and fresh acidity. Lime-infused aromas of passion fruit, honey and gooseberries dominate the palate. The minerals stays in a long energetic finish together with some lime notes. Unexpectedly, the precision here is not as good as in Les Pèrriers. Might be that it requires more time.

94-95p/100

2012 Domaine Jacques Carillon “Village”, Puligny-Montrachet

This is a quite fleshy and voluptuous wine with pineapple, bananas and white flower on both nose and palate. A quite soft acidity carries the fruit just enough to keep some energy and freshness.

Very accessible already and should not be saved for long. Hard not to like this flirtations wine.

88p/100

2012 Domaine Jacques Carillon 1er cru “Les Pèrrieres”, Puligny-Montrachet

Very accessible wine with an abundance of fruit, mainly tropical, and some slight beeswax and nuts. The wine does not have the minerals and details of the 2013. On the palate this is a generous and seductive wine and the quite dense fruit is saved by a fresh acidity. Anyone would enjoy this wine and there is lots to find on the palate that leans to a tone of champagne.

92+p/100

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Andreas and Jacques

Summary

The wines of Jacques Carillion are all about precision and a crisp expression with an obvious transparency of the very unique terroir in Puligny-Montrâchet, site variation among crus and each vintage. You never find any oak contributions in Jacques wines and it takes a fleshy vintage to get some more round notes. We sometimes lack a little complexity for absolute top scores but the average level is certainly high. Surprisingly, the 1er cru Les Pèrriers outshined the grand cru  Bâtard-Montrâchet in the 2013 vintage in terms of precision and elegance, at least at this tasting. It also has to be said that this was the first time we tried the wines from Jacques Carillion and it definitely sparked an interest and confirmed that this is a producer worth following closely. Like his brother, both show how the greatest whites of chardonnay truly thrives in complex soil packed with lime stone.

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