As we descend into the cellar, even the air seems to hold still as the wines slowly evolve in barrels lined up below bare light bulbs. The 2018 whites were recently bottled. Tasted one after another, they are a double lesson in the terroirs of Chassagne. This is what top quality white Burgundy should taste like.
Even though Fontaine-Gagnard has vineyards in ten different premier crus in Chassagne, I think of them as located in three general zones:
The north side of the village heading towards Puligny – classic with a good balance of acidity and richness [examples: Les Vergers and Les Chenevottes]
The south side of the village on the shallow slope below the route de Santenay – full, broad, and stately [example: Morgeot]
The south side of the village on the steep slope above the route de Santenay – high acid, racier and exuberant [examples: Les Caillerets and La Boudriotte]
The trick in 2018 was to coax out the richness of the vintage without veering into overripeness, and Fontaine-Gagnard once again found a beautiful equilibrium for the wines. While they are certainly known as experts of Chardonnay, with each visit, I look forward more and more to tasting and drinking the red wines. A few generations ago, Chassagne was better known for Pinot Noir than Chardonnay, and the Bourgogne Rouge and Chassagne Rouge from these cellars make a convincing argument to replanting additional Pinot Noir in the area.