Domaine Chapelle de Blagny, Blagny
These vineyards belonged to the Cistercian Abbey of Maizières, from the 12th to 18th centuries. In 1811 they were bought by an ancestor of Etienne de Brechard, the present owner. For 5 generations the family tended the vines and harvested the grapes, selling them – until recently – to local merchants. Now Domaine bottling, we were the first to discover and introduce the wines from this exciting estate, new to the UK, with the 2015 vintage. The property is named after a 15th century chapel, next to the winery.
Chapelle de Blagny currently cultivates 6 hectares of vines, all concentrated in and around the First Growth vineyards of Meursault-Blagny. This zone may be less well-known than First Growths like Perrières, Genevrières or Charmes, but quality-wise they are up there with the greatest. They lie on high, steep slopes straddling the communes of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. With global warming, they are becoming more and more desirable each year, as their altitude protects them from the most torrid heat, allowing precious, natural acidities to be maintained. This is classic white wine land, with clay-limestone marls.
Of note, research is on-going here to identify the best cooper from whom to source the Domaine’s new barrel purchases. The recently established artisan barrel-maker Eric Millard’s output is proving superb. Oak staves are aged in the open air for three years: this is not unusual, and may be found at several cooperages, but Millard’s staves are extra thick, so that when they are toasted they heat up gently for three hours over the flames, enabling them to be curved. The unfinished barrel is then covered, and allowed to return to normal temperature over 24 hours. As a result, the toast goes deeply into the wood, and is very light, giving the subtlest results.