Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatieres 2017 Dom. Jean-Louis Chavy, France
Les Folatieres is considered by many to be Puligny’s best and most reliable 1er Cru vineyard. It is the biggest but is practically guaranteed to be great.
Chavy’s superb wine comes from two very different plots of vines, and offers richness, depth, intense minerality with softness and spice.
20% new oak provides a further bit of depth.
Wine Spectator says “A vibrant structure defines this racy white, marshaling lemon curd, lime blossom and hazelnut flavours. There is flesh for balance, lending overall harmony. Ends with clean, bracing acidity, a hint of the seashore and citrus and baking spice accents.”
Web Wines say ‘a beautiful wine, from our favourite 1er Cru vineyard’ it always seems to balance the precision and minerality we expect from Puligny with nutty overtones of fruit. While our other favourite 1er Cru vine yard Champ-Canet is generally a greater wine, it is also twice the price. And yes, we can have two favourites – can you pick a favourite son or daughter?
Les Folatières is the largest premier Cru vineyard in Puligny-Montrachet. It is located on the same line of the slope as the Le Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards, although its higher end reaches further up the slope of the Côte d’Or. Les Folatières Premier Cru wines are typically Puligny – focused and minerally, but with nutty, rich overtones of fruit.
The vineyard covers 17 hectares (42 acres) of prime east-facing terroir just north of the revered Grand Cru vineyards. Les Folatieres is right in the middle of the slope and is surrounded by other Premier Cru vineyards like Clavaillon and Champ Gain, with village-level vineyards visible in the distance at the bottom of the hill.
The flat land to the east gives the Côte d’Or the advantage of sunlight exposure. As Les Folatières faces toward the east it benefits from the gentler morning sun in particular. This gives grapes time to develop flavor and complexity during the growing season, with cooler overnight influences bringing balanced acidity. The wines have good balance as a result and can be cellared effectively.
Les Folatières has a similar terroir to the surrounding climats, with rocky, marly limestone soils that, due to the steep slope here, are rather susceptible to erosion. Vines benefit from these dry soils, as a lack of water helps to curb vigor and forces vines to use more mineral-laden hydration deeper in the soil. The dry, chalky soils also absorb warmth, reflecting it back onto the vines to help ripening along.
Unlike many Burgundy Premier Cru climats, which are mostly named for the state of the soil or the vegetation there, Les Folatières’ name has a rather colorful origin. It refers to lights seen in the vineyard from a distance, although whether the word signifies fairies or the weather phenomenon known in English as St. Elmo’s fire is a cause of some debate.