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Domaine Vincent Girardin
The domaine originates in Santenay where Vincent’s father, Jean Girardin, divided up his estate between his four children when Vincent attained the age of 18 in 1982, providing 3 hectares for each of them. Vincent began to bottle his own wines, purchased some additional vineyards and rented others. In 1994, the year of his marriage, he began a negociant business under his own name and moved to Meursault as he could not expand his Santenay location. The negociant business has thrived, providing profits which have enabled Vincent to purchase further vineyards, including a proportion of the former Domaine Henri Clerc.
Today the domaine comprises 22 hectares, almost all in white wine appellations. The plan is to concentrate more on this side of the business with less emphasis on the negociant aspect. Together at the moment they constitute a 40,000 case winery situated in the industrial zone across the railway line, almost next door to the tonnellerie Damy which is one of their preferred barrel suppliers along with François Frères. The domaine has been fully biodynamic from 2008, undergoing certification from 2009.
The period of dramatic expansion and of making highly successful commercial wines to a formula is over. Now Vincent and Véronique Girardin, who together own the whole business outright, want to concentrate on focussing on the quality of the wines. For the whites, the grapes are picked earlier so as to retain natural acidity, there is less new oak, and richer lees: the grapes are now crushed before pressing, without excessive debourbage or lees stirring. The premiers and grands crus receive just 25% new wood and are racked into older wood during the summer.
His reds are of consistently high quality, with the emphasis being on purity of fruit and smooth, supple tannins. However, it is with whites that he really excels, producing a range of wines which are characterised by their depth of fruit and exquisite balance. These whites are extremely approachable when young but the top crus benefit from 4-5 years of bottle ageing.
The reds are made including stems where possible, if ripe and healthy enough, and minimal handling during cuvaison: no punching down at all. As with the whites there is little reliance on new wood.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.