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Jean-Baptiste Souillard, St Pierre Cornas 2017
10 year old vines on the mid section of an east-facing granitic-rich plot are whole-bunch pressed to give extra crunch and texture. Think a lighter expression of the appelation but of dense fuzzy damson fruit, river stones and beutiful precision.
Jean Baptiste seeks freshness in his wines, so has sought out vines mainly on the top of slopes as well as being planted on granite. All his vineyards are listed as lute raisonnee. His red wines are always primarily whole cluster and are vinified in stainless steel tanks. All reds are aged in used oak barrels with racking and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 1 ha over 2 parcels planted on clay soils over sand. Partial whole cluster with indigenous yeast fermentation. 3 weeks maceration with pump-overs. 13 months ageing in old oak.
Souillard knew from a young age exactly what he wanted to do. He closely watched his father's steps as the director of the region's largest cooperative, Cave de Saint-Desirat. After six diplomas in wine studies he went to work for Chateau Latour in Bordeaux and then to Comte Armand in Pommard, alongside Benjamin Leroux. Producing wine from individual terroirs in Burgundy had a profound impact. After returning home he was disillusioned with the trend of blending vineyards. He also knew that appellations like Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph were capable of greatness, but would continue to underwhelm with this practice essentially 'watering down' great terroir. His choice was simple: Create a micro-production negoce operation where he would 'follow the Cistercian method. One parcel = one wine. Souillard's vision was to only work with old vines on the very top of slopes, the 'tetes de coteaux'.Within Crozes-Hermitage he also insisted on the northern granite soils, as opposed to the galets roules more commonly found in the south where wines lack concentration and rigour. On one hand the winemaking follows traditional methods like large portions of whole clusters for fermentation and aging only in neutral wood. But, the style is one absolutely focused on crafting vins de garde.These are wines built on monumental stature with a rare elegance that's certainly the product of his experiences at Latour and Comte Armand.