Une Tranche Made in Chenas
Philippe’s cellar work is notoriously experimental and subject to change between vintages. Diverse cuvées come and go, orthodoxies are trampled upon – recently, for instance, Philippe blended a botrytized 2004 chardonnay, 8 years in barrel, with a 2011 Gamay! “The wines defy simple classification,” remarked one Burgundy vigneron. “You might even taste the future chez Philippe.” Despite experimentation, there are at least two constant maxims: no additives of any kind are used and the wines are not bottled until they are absolutely ready. In reality, these two are one and the same, for Philippe believes that long élevage in barrel helps mitigate the so-called “faults” associated with zero-SO2 winemaking. As a general rule, macerations are long and wines may spend anywhere between 18 months and 5 years in barrel. Ironically, Philippe once excelled as a student of oeonolgy, training under some of France’s most esteemed educators, where he mastered the rules of conventional winemaking. Asked about his time at the Ecole, he jokes that he learned about “everything that must not be done.”
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