Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet tasting with François Carillon

Louis Carillon at Vin Vino

Louis Carillon at Vin Vino


LOUIS CARILLON PULIGNY-MONTRACHET TASTING WITH FRANÇOIS CARILLON – Vin Vino Wine, Palo Alto, California (3/19/2011)

Louis Carillon is a highly respected source of white Burgundy, known for very minerally, balanced wines from their vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet. They only have a tiny holding, .12 hectare, in one grand cru: Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet, and modest holdings in four premier crus, as well as 5 hectares of village Puligny-Montrachet and .64 hectare of village Chassagne-Montrachet. Jasper Morris, in his recently published Inside Burgundy, characterizes Louis Carillon as “one of Puligny-Montrachet’s most consistently successful domaines over the past three decades.”

The label logo shows 1632 as the date the winery was founded, but Jehan Carillon was a vigneron in Puligny according to records going back to 1520. The family operation was incorporated as Domaine Louis Carillon & Fils in 1981, but that has changed starting in 2010, as the two sons of Louis, who is retiring, decided a few years before to divide the domaine between themselves. This division is now effective with the 2009 vintage. The younger son, François, has been responsible for viticulture at the domaine for many years, and is also involved in winemaking, so it was a treat to hear from him at this special tasting at Vin Vino Wine.

Below are video excerpts of François explaining the division of the vineyards and what his plans are going forward (i.e., to keep to the style for which Louis Carillon has become well known). Starting with the 2010 vintage, François’s older brother Jacques is taking the family’s holdings in Referts, Champs Canet and Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet; François is taking the family’s .47 hectare holding in premier cru Combettes, one of Puligny-Montrachet’s best premier crus, and splitting the 1.12 hectares they own in premier cru Perrières and the village vineyards. The 2010 François Carillon wines will be distributed by Vineyard Brands and the 2010 Jacques Carillons will be obtainable through Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Besides the domaine offerings, which will include grapes from an additional 1.5 hectares he recently purchased, François is also purchasing grapes from sites he is farming to produce three negociant offerings: Bourgogne, St. Aubin and a premier cru Les Referts.

François discussing the division of Louis Carillon with his brother Jacques (translation by Emmanuel Lemoine of Vineyard Brands):

In this clip, François comments further on how he and his brother went about dividing the property, and the nature of their relationship:

Tasting Notes

Louis Carillon wines

This tasting provided a good look at the range of recent Louis Carillon wines, with four 2008s, including three premier crus; a two-year vertical of Les Perrières, and a slightly older premier cru from an excellent year, the ’05 Champs Canet. All six were tasty, minerally, balanced and impressive. I’ve been very happy with a lot of 2008 White Burgundies, for their excellent acidity and minerality, and these ’08s were no exception. For Francois’s summary of the ’08 vintage, which took a “miraculous” turn after a visit from the Pope at the end of August, see the clip below:

In this clip, Francois explains the oak regimen at Carillon, and responds to my questions about premature oxidation and batonnage. He also describes family’s parcels of Les Perrières:

In this short last clip, François describes Les Combettes vineyard, which is one that goes to him in the division of the property:

  • 2008 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet
    Light lemon yellow color; lovely, mineral, lemon nose with subtle oak; tasty, rich but poised, tart lemon, mineral, white flower palate with medium acidity, needs 1 year; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Light lemon yellow color; lovely tart apple, white flower, pear, tart white peach nose; very tasty, rich but poised, tart white peach, pear, apple, juicy, mineral palate, approachable now but even better in a year; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champs Canet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Bright light lemon yellow color; lovely ripe lemon, tart apple, mineral nose; poised, intense, tart pear, apple, ripe lemon, mineral palate, needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Light lemon yellow color; lovely floral, light jasmine, apple nose with a little reduction; delicious, poised, minerally, tart apple, delicate and delineated palate, needs 1-2 years, with lovely finish, showing subtle spice; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)
  • 2007 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Light lemon yellow color; poised, elegant, tart apple, lemon, poached pear nose; youthful, tart lemon, tart pear, mineral palate with depth, needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2005 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champs Canet – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Light lemon yellow color; reudction, tart lemon, hazelnut, light marzipan nose; maturing, pear, hazelnut, marzipan, spice, mineral palate with depth; long finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
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3 Responses to Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet tasting with François Carillon

  1. r.s. says:

    Look, what I am reading in Broadbents’s Book on Burgundy :”Louis Carillon dislikes … the exotic fruit flavours produced by low temperature fermentation…so he ferments at 25 degrees C.” – I wonder, is there exotic fruit flavour present in these wines today, since they seem to use low temperature fermentation now.

    • Richard Jennings says:

      R.S.,
      Thanks for the info. No, I didn’t find that exotic fruit profile on any of the wines in this tasting, or on other Carillon wines I’ve tried. Super ripe grapes, certainly in California, can give those kinds of flavors, of course. I didn’t know that low temperature fermentation was thought to play a role in that too.
      –Richard

  2. r.s. says:

    Hi, the book I was referring to is authored by Remington Norman, not by Broadbent, who made only the foreword. sorry for that.

    r.s.

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