About the producer
François Carillon’s son, Paul, is carrying on the long tradition of winemaking in the Carillon family with his own domaine. Influenced by his grandfather Louis’ style, he uses traditional techniques, such as vinifying and ageing in 25% new oak barrels, to produce classical Pulignys with superb finesse and elegance. Praised by critics, Carillon wines are regarded amongst the elite of the great white wines of Burgundy, being found in prestigious restaurants around the world. Domaine Carillon produces white wines that are racy, elegant and mineral while embodying perfectly the terroir of each of its vineyards.
Regions Vintage Report:“A top Burgundy vintage – very fine red wines & most attractive white wines.”
There was almost no proper winter in 2014/2015, with no real sustained period of truly cold weather. Spring was early and straightforward, causing no particular stress for the growers. April was mild and damp, which encouraged an early bud break. Growers in Chablis, in particular, hoped that there would not be a destructive frost. As it turned out, no significant damage was done. May was also rather wet, though the extra rainfall would later prove to be a real bonus since most of June, as well as July and August, were exceptionally hot and dry. The mild, damp conditions in May led to only a limited incidence of mildew, which was largely controlled. The mid-June flowering passed off quickly (just 10 days) under relatively benign conditions followed by 50-60mm of rain, which proved benevolent as the following 2 months were hot and dry. Véraison began in the middle of July, but did not finish until the middle of August. The slightly more varied weather during August may well have had the effect of slowing down the ripening process. Thereafter the extreme heat caused the vines to produce plenty of sugar and to burn off malic acidity, while thickening the skins in both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay during this period. Much of the harvest itself passed quickly in ideal weather conditions during the first 10 days of September, but rain on the middle weekend of the month caused a temporary halt in proceedings, before resuming for the final few days. Many growers pointed to the need to pick quickly in order to retain natural freshness in the fruit, before acidities fell too far. The berries proved to be small thanks to the hot, dry summer. Such was the quality of the incoming fruit that sorting tables were largely redundant! Fruit was beautifully healthy and thick-skinned. The amount of juice was causing average yields to be on the low side. Acidities proved to be more marked than first anticipated – this was especially important for the white wines in order to ensure sufficient counterpoint to 3 the natural richness of the fruit. Much of the total acidity was tartaric acidity, so was not reduced during the malolactic fermentations, hence the wines retaining more freshness than expected.
The 2015s may not have the cut and tension of the 2014s, but there appears to be sufficient vibrancy and poise in order to balance the plush, wonderfully ripe fruit. Chablis The night of 31st August and the morning of 1 st September would see a massive storm that dumped 80-100mm of rain in just a few hours. While this was bad enough, it was accompanied by a severe incidence of hail that impacted as many as 600 hectares of vines! It cut a swathe across much of 1er Cru ‘Montmains’, before moving across to hit the Grands Crus of ‘Les Clos’ and ‘Blanchots’ and finally wreaking havoc on 1er Cru ‘Montée de Tonnerre’. The losses ranged from as little as 20% to as much as 80%. For those who had hail-damaged parcels, the warm/humid conditions caused concern re the likelihood of rot setting in. The harvest started very quickly as a result. However, these concerns were ill-founded as conditions remained cool and dry. In fact, there was very little impact on the quality of the fruit overall. A major advantage of the hot and dry summer was that it had produced wonderfully healthy fruit that could be picked extremely quickly. This also helped to retain all important acidity.
There is little doubt that there has already been plenty of hype surrounding the 2015 vintage, especially for the red wines. The results are indeed most impressive. Sensitive, gentle winemaking, without over extraction or manipulation, has allowed the wonderfully ripe fruit to show itself to its full potential. There are many, many red wines of real class, brimming with beautifully ripe fruit that is framed with refined, silken tannins. There is a high level of red wine consistency across communes and appellations, with many wines offering a quality/style that Burgundy lovers crave, be it a humble Bourgogne Rouge or “village” wine (both with associated good value), a more refined 1er Cru or a noble Grand Cru. There is sufficient freshness too, providing fine balance and allowing their Burgundian heritage to show itself with great clarity and typicité. The best will age superbly over many years. The oft-declared higher proportion of whole bunches used in vinifications has clearly aided this retention of freshness – key in the dry warmth of 2015 – so bringing real benefit to the wines, and not just about being ‘modish’! Their early charm belies their longer term ageing potential. The white wines, including Chablis, exhibit plenty of authentic fruit character and are of excellent ripeness, with significantly more weight and richness than the more linear 2014s. The acidity is lower than in the previous year, but the best wines do seem to have retained enough vitality in order to keep themselves in balance. However, the 2015 white Burgundies will most likely reach their peak before the equivalent 2014 white wines. When comparing the 2015 red Burgundies to older vintages, 2015 is not another 2003 since August was more tempered this time. It has more intensity than 2009. It is maybe riper than 2010; maybe 2005, but perhaps with riper tannins. 2005, a similarly high flying vintage for red Burgundy, shut down not long after release and in many cases the wines are yet to open up again. With the classier tannin profile of the 2015s and a more detectable freshness/clarity, the likelihood is that they will not retire into a shell to the same extent and will therefore be more accessible earlier in their evolution. The 2015 white Burgundy vintage appears to be a cross between 2006 and 2009, in as much as they both produced whites in ripe, rich styles, with gentle acidities and hence were suitable for earlier drinking. The limited supply of wine caused by the lower yields, coupled with high critical acclaim and very little wine to come from the miniscule 2016 vintage, has had the effect of pushing many prices upwards. The fragility of the pound sterling has exacerbated these increases. We have worked hard in order to minimise the impact of this intense pressure on our offer prices, but final prices have risen, some quite significantly.
Neil Sommerfelt MW, Fine Wine Buyer January 2017