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http://www.fourbassot-71.com/

Always ask the local residents about wineries to visit when you are in Bourgogne. With so many wineries and so much hype and promotional commercialism, you can never quite know where to start investigating lesser-known wineries. Upon hearing we enjoyed wines, our friends in Fontaines who also make a hobby out of wine collecting and tasting suggested we come with them to a dégustation (tasting) at a small winery run by an acquaintance of theirs as a fun way to start a friday evening.

Jean-Jacques Gault and his son Sebastian produce artisnal wines from their 20 hectares of vines in the village of Saint-Mard-de-Vaux in the Mercurey appellation of Bourgogne. Focusing on quality, the Gaults have crafted award-winning wines here since 1980.  Sebastian was kind enough to host our little family at a tasting arranged by our friends in Fontaines, and as you will see later, our children in his labeling/shipping room!

Eric takes notes while Anne and and Stephane enjoy the flavors.

Eric takes notes while Anne and and Stephane enjoy the Bourgogne Blanc.

Sebastian shows Eric photos of the vendage and aging rooms.

Sebastian shows Eric photos of the vendange and aging rooms.

We started with the lightest wine – “Aligote 2007” – which is a favorite variety of Bourgogne for the pleasingly light and refreshing white wine enjoyed nearly everywhere here.  Simply smooth, clean and vibrant, Sebastian’s aligote had a noticeably longer, silkier finish than the version made by Alain Berthault in Moroges we so often like at lunchtime.  Really, really nice.

Next was the “Bourgogne La Champes de la Croix 2006” (more fruit flavor than the 2005 vintage) – Sebastian’s mid-level white wine which turned up the flavors and detailed richness.  Delicious and nicely crafted with smooth drinkability and an excellent mouth feel to get the subtle tastes of the Gault’s work.  I much prefer this style of chardonnay-based wine to those typically found in the USA, which are usually too sweet and fruity at inexpensive price levels for my taste.  Not a blockbuster, but then again, for €5.30 per bottle, you get a superbly drinkable wine of high quality with distinct personality and refreshing flavors.

We upped the ante to the “Mercurey Blanc 2007” (just released in Oct 2008) to find an excellent white with a defintely advanced collection of flavors and layers with a sophisticated feel and finish.  Big difference between this special selection and its smaller sister the “Bourgogne La Champes de la Croix 2006” (tasted above). This one was exceptionally attractive and showed the Gault’s finesse and sophistication with their grape selection and varieties.  Excellent. (Sebatian’s favorite white).

The next wine, the “Mercurey Clos de la Chiquette”, is produced by hand-picking grapes allowed to over-ripen on only 1 acre of special vines.  This one is strongly aromatic, bold and nearly liquor-like in the glass. A bold presentation of style and flavor which people tend to either love or dislike.  A showcase of how diverse the winemakers at Four Bassot can be.  Very nicely crafted and specialized.

Next, we moved to the reds.  We started with the “Mercurey 2006”, bypassing the simpler “Bourgogne Pinot Noir” and “Bourgogne Les Champs de la Croix” (hopefully we can go back and try these later).  This €7.30 red was simply drinkable and tasty and very nice. Not impressive, but elegantly pleasant and would get my vote for my everyday red. For the price, it is a nice bargain.

Next up on the reds was the “Mercurey Vieilles Vignes La Charmée 2005”, named after a small village area in the region.  This one immediately showed a depth of fruit and bolder flavor layers missing in the lesser red tasted previously.  It tasted older than its vintage, with a stronger initial mouthfeel and “tightness” showing some tannins ready to age. An excellent balance was found in this wine, making it smooth, even though it showed its tightness.  When asked, Sebastian said his reds can age for quite a long time, somewhat unusually for typical pinot noir-based wines.  This one had some authority and depth to it.  Very nice and left us wanting more. I put one exclamation mark in my notebook after tasting this one. (I did not pour any out into the tasting bucket. I drank it.)

Stepping up to the “Mercurey 1°Cru  Les Croichots 2005″ , the real strength of the Domaine Four Bassot became apparent.  This was a demonstration of how good a wine can come from a small-yield domaine.  Even though it was young (2005), and a little cold in the glass (warming for a few minutes made a huge difference!), this wine had a warm and charmingly robust flavor with depth hard to find in many pinot-based reds.  It tasted older than its years and had lingering flavors of old red fruit and made me think of an excellent meal around a fireplace.  Great wine, especially for under €10 !  It made me rethink some of the status I had placed upon other reds in the same price category…but then again….that’s half the fun of discovering wineries.

Finally, the “Mercurey Four Bassot 2005” was poured. This one made me pay attention because Sebastian poured himself a glass of it as he served us around the tasting table. (great way to get you visitors to think you like a particular wine!).  This was the pride and joy of Domaine Four Bassot.  I had put one exclamation mark next to the Mercurey 1°Cru  Les Croichots 2005 just before. I immediately placed TWO exclamation marks next to the “Mercurey Four Bassot” after tasting it.  Elegant, masterfully flavor-ladened and sophisticated in feel.  Beautiful and instantly pleasing.  This wine is priced up at €13.50 per bottle, and worth more, in my opinion.  Silky smooth and seductive, this one immediately showed why it is the Gault’s pride.  More layers of fruit in different ages reveal themselves as you let this wine visit your palate…all of them friendly and soothing. Simply an excellent wine and a stunning bargain.  I would love to taste an older bottle of this wine after it has aged for a few years. We bought some.  Case closed.

The simple tasting room display at Domaine Four Bassot

The simple tasting room display at Domaine Four Bassot

Another tasting room shelf showing jeroboams (4.5 ltr) and Nebuchadnezar on the floor (15 ltr).

Another tasting room shelf showing magnums, jeroboams (4.5 ltr) and Nebuchadnezzar on the floor (15 ltr). The Nebuchadnezzar is €490 - half of which is the cost of the bottle and label!

Mixed case or Nebuchadnezzar?

Mixed case or Nebuchadnezzar?

According to the Four Bassot website:

The red wine (12 to 18 days) begins with a cold maceration (6 to 8 ° C) to obtain an intense ruby color, then the regular pigeage early fermentation scale and provide a range of aromatic red fruit typical of Pinot Black, finally, a final warm (38 to 40 degrees C) set colors and flavorings providing the tannic structure necessary for a red Burgundy. The white wine begins with a gentle pressing whole clusters of chardonnay, followed by a severe racking fermentation and a low temperature (about 12 to 14 ° C) for nearly three weeks to get the fruit and voluptuousness of the great white Burgundy. Then these wines are high in oak barrels for 9 to 18 months (depending on color and years) before being bottled at the property by us.

The variety of wines is impressive, considering the small acreage of the domaine.  The strongly flavored blanc “Chroichots” is produced by picking very old grapes from a mere acre of vines. Sebastian’s descriptions (translated by Google) are below:

WHITE WINES

Aligoté
It is a wine round, nutmeg, young enough to drink fresh. Appreciated nature as an aperitif or with a crème de cassis for example.

Bourgogne Chardonnay
A classic very distinctive Chardonnay, dry and fruity, he accompanied to wow all entries. The area also offers the same high in new barrels is more round and fleshy.

Bourgogne blanc « Champs de la Croix » “Fields of the Cross”
Following an old vine Chardonnay enherbée, performance restricted this wine makes it more fruity and more complex than the previous lovers Cote Chalonnaise.

Mercurey Blanc
There are few good land to white Mercurey but fortunately we have …. Highly prized by connoisseurs, this wine has a fine copy in the mouth. But not too woody, the aromas of hazelnuts mix with citrus and you fill the mouth after drinking. Ideal on fish and crustaceans.

Mercurey Blanc “Clos de la Chiquette”
An exceptional climate with a rigorous selection make this wine custody is worthy of the great Burgundy wines. Very rich, aromatic, fruity and bold, if you close your eyes in the tasting, you are Mercurey …

VINS ROUGES RED WINES

Bourgogne Pinot
Pinot Typically, a light wine (for the region), easy with aromas of red fruit. A reserve have to open unexpectedly on meats or barbecues.

Bourgognes « Champs de la Croix » “Fields of the Cross”
Same profile as its namesake but red is more typical of its terroir low yields. UA wine that will satisfy all meals, meat and cheese.

Mercurey Vieilles Vignes « Ropiton » & » La Charmée »
These old vines provide the two faces of Mercurey.
A wine harsh, tannic, drawing very typical for the region Ropiton and a fruity wine, charming and silky for charmees. Even performance, winemaking, and livestock prices, will your papillae them.

Mercurey 1°Cru  « Les Croichots » &  « Les Champs Martin »
Same differences that old vines only better. The Croichots more robust, Champs Martin charmers drunk on game or a cheese platter. Wines guard par excellence, they begin to open after 5 to 6 years of age.

Mercurey Four-Bassot Four-Mercurey Bassot
The jewel of the property. A very low yield for not a wine vineyard and worked in the purest tradition of yesteryear, so organic (no label), or glued or filter, it must taste out of curiosity … II bears the name of the field because it represents the skills of the house. He did nothing to envy other big names most important.

Crémant de Bourgogne
White or pink, the champagne method is good. Varietal Pinot noir is the festive wine of Burgundy. Serve well chilled as an aperitif or dessert, let yourself be surprised,

Remarkably affordable prices for Four Bassot wines.

Remarkably affordable prices for Four Bassot wines.

We tasted a variety of the wines and found them all beautifully crafted, both the simple wines such as the Aligote and the premier cru of the Mercurey Four Bassot.  We liked them so much, we brought a few boxes home with us!

Sebastian Gault in the bottling and shipping room.

Sebastian Gault in the labeling and shipping room.

As an example of how gracious and friendly Sebastian Gault is, he kindly let our small herd of children (ours and our freinds’) tuck themselves into his labeling/shipping room with their DVD player to watch a kid’s movie while we talked and tasted wine.  This is what makes Burgundy so wonderful.

Kids (and Sebastian !) watching videos in the bottling room at Domaine Four Bassot.

Kids (and Sebastian !) watching videos in the bottling room at Domaine Four Bassot.

Contact Sebastian Gault
35A Rue des Fougères
71640 Saint-Mard-De-Vaux
Tél. 03 85 45 13 04
Fax 03 85 45 26 52
http://www.fourbassot-71.com/

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