Domaine Goisot is located in the northwest of Burgundy, in the village of Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, and has several vineyards in what is known as Grand Auxerrois, which is the area surrounding Chablis. Goisot is an organic and biodynamic grower, and is actually certified as both; they have a French “AB” label, agriculture biologique, and a Demeter certification.
Their Swedish importer, Caviste, invited to a tasting of three different varietal wines from Goisot, all 2011s, sold as a mixed box; an Aligoté, a Sauvignon Blanc (from Saint-Bris) and a Chardonnay. 2011 is a good vintage, which has mostly given us wines of a “drink now or soon” style. 2010 in comparison, was a top vintage with high-acid wines suited for cellaring. For comparison, I include my tasting notes from last year, when almost the same three wines (same appellations, but different vineyards for two of them) were sold in the same way.
Goisot Bourgogne Aligoté 2011
Grape variety: Aligoté. Vinified in steel tank.
The nose is fruity with apple and pear, with discrete flower notes. Medium-bodied, fruity palate, again with apple and pear, good acidity, long aftertaste with freshness and mineral. Rather foody wine, can be consumed now, 86 p.
A good Aligoté with fine mineral notes. Just as in the last vintage there is a slight flowery note. An aperitif wine, could be used with e.g. a walking buffet, various finger food.
Goisot Bourgogne Aligoté 2010 – tasted August 2012
Very pale colour. In the nose yellow and green apple, white peach, slightly aromatic with a discrete flowery note. Definitely nice on the nose. Medium bodied palate, fruity, with notes of citrus, green apple, very light hint of peach, rather high acidity, slight grapefruity bitterness, fresh on the finish. 87 p.
Definitely a good Aligoté. Although well-made Aligoté is usually fruity and fresh, I was slightly surprised by the aromatic/flowery note, I’d probably guessed Pinot Blanc or possibly Silvaner from a cool place, if I’d had it served blind.
Goisot Saint-Bris Exogyra Virgula 2011
Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc. Vinified in steel tank.
Nose with apple, a hint of herbs, some gooseberries, aromatic, flowery (more specifically it seems that a flowering hedge has found its way down into the glass), and some heavy perfume. I almost got some impression of a muted Gewürztraminer or Muscat. Palate with blackcurrant buds, discrete apple notes, mineral, good acidity, some citrus mid-palate, long and fresh aftertaste with some grapefruit bitterness and mineral. OK to drink now, but can be cellared, 88(+) p.
An exciting wine, with a slightly odd nose. Many Saint-Bris are more similar to an uncomplicated Sancerre, but slightly lighter in style, but in this case there were slightly different aromas in the nose. It is not entirely sure I would have guessed Sauvignon Blanc due to the nose, but the palate is more in line with e.g. a Sancerre. If this wine is cellared for some time, I guess that the nose will be slightly muted and the overall impression will go slightly more in the Chablis direction. To be used with seafood, in particular fresh and non-cooked seafood, and goat cheese.
Goisot Saint-Bris Moury 2010 – tasted August 2012 (note that it is from a different Saint-Bris vineyard than the 2011)
Very pale colour. Clearly perfumed and flowery in the nose, with notes of citrus and peach. Slightly more than medium bodied on the palate, a fruity attack of citrus (primarily lemon) with some peach, very dry, high acidity, some mineral. Very fresh and pure, citrusy aftertaste. Young and fresh, could develop with some cellaring, but I don’t see it as a wine for extended cellaring. 88(+) p.
To me, the nose was almost Riesling-like, but I also associated to discretely oaked versions of Pouilly-Fumé or Sancerre (alhtough his wine isn’t oaked), where notes of ripe fruit dominate over the green notes. The palate made me think of a classical, unoaked Chablis. I didn’t really find any “green” notes in the nose (nettle, grass, gooseberries…), which I usually find in cold-grown Sauvignon Blanc wines, such as Sancerre and the Saint-Bris wines I’ve tasted previously. There were those present who did find such green notes, though.
Goisot Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Gondonne 2011
Grape variety: Chardonnay. 15 months in oak, of which 20% new oak.
Nose with some apple, some mineral, flowery hints, the oak barely noticeable. Palate with dominating minerality, discrete apple notes, good acidity, foody style with hints of an earthy bitterness, rather long aftertaste with strong minerality. OK to drink now, can definitely be cellared, 88+ p.
It is quite obvious that this is a white Burgundy, i.e, a Chardonnay, but the oak is well hidden away in the aromas. I’d say that in terms of its aromas, this wine goes more in the Côte de Beaune direction than towards Chablis. Imagine a lighter Puligny-Montrachet where most of the oak notes have been taken out. This is the wine most suited to cellaring of the three 2011s. I suppose more notes of yellow apple and some butter will emerge if it is cellared for a couple of years, and it might also “fill out” at that time. This should work fine with cooked seafood, perhaps fish, and after cellaring also with e.g. white meat.
Goisot Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Biaumont 2009 – tasted August 2012 (note that it is from a vineyard than the 2011)
Pale to bright yellow colour. In the nose yellow apple, citrus, discrete notes of lemon zest and honey, discrete and well integrated oak barrel and butter notes, slightly flowery and perfumed. More than medium bodied on the palate, fruity attack of yellow and green apple and citrus, slightly viscous mouth feeling, slightly spicy, high acidity. Long and grapefruit-acidic aftertaste. Still young. 88+ p, potential for a slightly higher note after some cellaring.
This wine showed a more powerful and more fruit-dominated attack than the 2010 Saint-Bris, but an equally noticeable acidity in its aftertaste. Reminds me of a young Chablis with some oak, and my thoughts go mostly in the premier cru direction. What is interesting is that this wine has seen more oak, both in terms of the proportion of new oak and the time spent in oak, that what is usual for a lightly oaked Chablis, but the oak is definitely not dominant.
A common impression of both the 2010s and the 2011s was that they showed some flowery aromas, and good purity.
Some words on the northwest of Burgundy
Burgundy is one of several classical wine regions that show an interesting phenomenon, of great interest to wine lovers with limited budgets, in the form of an increasing quality in “the periphery”. In my opinion this has been more visible for white wines than red, possibly because Chardonnay is a little easier to cultivate successfully than Pinot Noir.
“The periphery” refers primarily to those areas immediately adjacent to the “heartland” of Côte d’Or (consisting of Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune), the more southern subregions of Côte Chalonnaise (producing red and white, e.g. from the Mercurey and Givry appellations) and Maconnais (white only, e.g. from the appellations of Pouilly-Fuissé, Viré-Clessé, and Saint-Veran), and the areas above or west of the Côte d’Or slope itself, in the form of Haut Côtes de Nuits and Haut Côtes de Beaune (white and red). But also the northwestern satellite Chablis, situated halfway between Côte d’Or and Paris, and described more in detail here in a recent blog post of mine, has some peripherial appellations surrounding it, and it is from these that the wines of Domaine Goisot originate.
In wine courses and simpler wine maps, it is usually only Chablis that get mentioned in this part of Burgundy. Even the Burgundy producers’ organisation BIVB does this way in their simplest overview map, so it is easy to believe that these are the only vineyards around, but that is not the case. Chablis is only the biggest and best known appellation of this area. The collective designation for “Chablis & co” is usually Grand Auxerrois (after the city of Auxerre) or possibly Auxerrois, and sometimes Yonne (after the department and the river). The term “Chablis and Grand Auxerrois” can also be seen. That reminds me of bands where the singer or front person considers himself so well-known that his own name must be appended to that of the band.
The appellations of Grand Auxerrois other than Chablis are:
- Irancy, a red wine appellation for Pinot Noir but which also allows the slightly odd variety César to be used. Better versions of Irancy are Pinot Noir-only, as far as I know. I’ve often found them to show a slightly more herbal character than other red Burgundies.
- Saint-Bris, the only Burgundy appellation for Sauvignon Blanc, formerly a VDQS called “Sauvignon de Saint Bris” before the promotion to full AOC status in 2003. Those that are surprised to find Sauvignon Blanc in Burgundy should remember that from Saint-Bris and Chablis it is slightly closer to Sancerre/Pouilly Fumé in the Loire region, that it is to the Côte d’Or.
- Appellations that can be produced in all of Burgundy, e.g. Bourgogne (blanc/rouge), Bourgogne Aligoté, and Crémant de Bourgogne.
- Bourgogne with a local place name appended – Chitry, Côte Saint-Jacques, Côtes d’Auxerre, Coulanges-la-Vineuse, Épineuil, Tonnerre, or Vézelay -occupying a sort of middle position between the “Bourgogne” regional appellation and genuine village appellations, that consist of a village name only. These are appellations for white and red wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Chablis has around 5 000 ha of vineyards, and the other appellations of Grand Auxerrois have 1 678 ha. Somewhat surprising is that 39% of the production on these 1 678 ha consists of red wines (including any rosé wines) and 61% white. So Chablis dominates greatly, but the other appellations are far from negligible, considering that all of Burgundy (excluding Beaujolais) consist of 27 966 ha, figures from 2010. As a comparison, Puligny-Montrachet is 206 ha, Meursault 400 ha, and Petit Chablis 843 ha out of the Chablis total, so Grand Auxerrois is about eight, four and twice as large. Despite this, these appellations are almost completely unknown compared to e.g. Petit Chablis. One explanation could be that more than 80% of the Grand Auxerrois production consists of the general regional appellations rather than any appellations specific to this area. When such regional appellation wines are sold by the major néogicant companies, they usually don’t indicate from which part of Burgundy the grapes were sourced. A blend of Chardonnay from Maconnais, Haut-Côtes de Beaune, and Grand Auxerrois is probably a common composition of a Bourgogne Blanc from a néogciant, where the first two contribute slightly heavier fruit, and Grand Auxerrois a bit more acidity.
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.