The Puligny-Montrachet Wines of Jean-Louis Chavy

Peter and Betsy Spann

Jean-Louis Chavy is owner and winemaker of this excellent winery in the heart of Puligny in the Côtes de Beaune. He makes only white Burgundy, from Chardonnay, of course, grown in Puligny, including a Bourgogne Blanc, a Puligny-Montrachet Village, another village wine called Village Les Charmes, and four premiere crus. We recently tasted several of the new 2011 releases of Jean-Louis Chavy and report our assessment below.

Upon the retirement of Gerard Chavy in 1998, the brothers Jean-Louis and Alain jointly ran the estate until 2003 when they split it with Jean-Louis creating his own estate, J-L & F Chavy (for Jean-Louis and his wife Françoise). Jean-Louis subsequently invested heavily, building a new winery and a temperature-controlled cellar. He owns several different parcels in Puligny, totaling almost 7 hectares [shown in dark green in the map in the annex to this article]. He makes his wines from old (20-40+ years) vines with a restrained use of oak. Above all else, Jean-Louis’ wines show purity of fruit with superb balance and minerality.

Sabrine Rodems

With 201 ha of vineyards, Puligny-Montrachet is sandwiched between Chassagne and Meursault. Puligny has 24 premier crus totaling 100 ha, including those farmed by Jean-Louis. The premier cru vineyards are located mostly north of the world-famous Montrachet grand crus. Those located higher on the hill yield more structured, flinty mineral wines, while those lower down (e.g., Clavoillons) closer to the grand crus tend to be richer and rounder. While few people cellar their wines today, one needs to be aware that most of these wines will gain in complexity and quality with cellar aging.

The J-L & F Chavy wines are imported by JAO Imports of McLean VA.

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