Visiting Chanson, an impressive negociant and domaine, in Bourgogne
Maison Chanson (also known as Domaine Chanson for their domaine wines) was founded in 1750, and still occupies their original home, although they added a new gravity-fed winery in Savigny-lès-Beaune in 2010. They are a Bourgogne negociant doing things the right way. They were purchased by Bollinger in 1999 (Societé Jacques Bollinger also owns Champagne Ayala, Langlois-Château in the Loire and Delamain in Cognac).
I visited with celebrated winemaker Jean-Pierre Confuron. ‘I don’t like the term negociant,’ he says, because his view is that they behave like a domaine. Chanson have 45 hectares of vines which are all at least premier cru, and 25 of these are in Beaune. This makes them the second largest owner of premier cru vineyards in Beaune. The domaine vineyards are all farmed organically, and 95% of their wines are vinified in the Chanson winery. ‘We have a domaine philosophy,’ he says.
They are certified HVE sustainable for their domaine vineyards and use organic treatments, but haven’t sought organic certification. ‘This is not for the customers, but for us,’ says Confuron. ‘It is our philosophy to respect the organic way.’
They don’t do fining or filtration for the reds. ‘The target is to reduce the intervention for the wine when we can,’ he says. Another house policy is to make longer ageing in casks for the reds – 18-24 months – to have natural purification during this time. Overall, the Chanson production is less than 1 million bottles. They sell 45% domestically, and 55% is exported.
‘My job is to respect the originality of each territory,’ says Confuron.
The oak regime is 15% new oak all through the domaine white wines. Damy is favoured for the whites. For the reds, it is generally 30% new oak with Francois Frères preferred. ‘For the red, we use whole bunches 100% when we can,’ he says. ‘The philosophy is 100% stems.’.
I was impressed by these wines.
Chanson Bourgogne Chardonnay 2017
Cote Chalonnaise to Marsannay. Fresh and linear with a slight mineral streak and focused citrus and pear fruit. This is zippy and quite intense with good precision. Very stylish with more complexity than you might expect. 89/100
Chanson Chablis 2017
Stainless steel. Receive must here. There’s a lovely citrus core here with some fine nutty, herby details. Nice intensity with a slightly stony edge. Lemony flourish on the finish. Stylish stuff. 91/100
Chanson Macon La Roche Vineuse 2017
Contract with winegrowers who press and they take the juice and vinify it here in stainless steel. This shows nice focus with a mineral underpinning and some mandarin detail to the citrus fruit. It’s fresh and expressive with a nice lightness, and also a hint of seriousness. 89/100
Chanson Viré-Clessé 2017
Vinify a lot of this village, in the Maconnais. It’s 430 hectares and Chanson have 130 hectares. Since the beginning of the appellation in 1998 they have helped to make it better known. Stainless steel. This has some depth and richness with some peach and pear fruit. Nice weight here: there’s lots of ripe, alluring fruit. Has a stony edge, some mandarin, and a bit of peachy warmth. Rounded. 90/100
Domaine Chanson Beaune 1er Cru Clos de Mouches 2017
15% new oak. Have 4.5 hectares of this vineyard, in both white and red. Toasty, lively and quite spicy with bright citrus fruit. Has some pear and toast richness, with a crystalline quality to the citrus fruit. Real precision here, with good acidity on the finish. 94/100
Domaine Chanson Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes 2017
North part of Chassagne, they have 2 hectares. Rocky soil with lots of limestone. Linear, bright and mineral with a citrus fruit core and a bit of spicy oak. There’s a tiny hint of bitterness under the fruit. Has a bit of pineapple and pear richness, too, and some hazelnut. Lovely focus. 93/100
Domaine Chanson Corton Grand Cru Vergennes 2017
66 Ares. Small hill, with very rocky soil. Fine toast and spice on the nose with sweet citrus fruit. Taut, refined palate with nice density to the well balanced citrus and peach fruit. Has a delicate nutty, toasty edge, and a fine crystalline quality to the fruit. Very expressive and quite mineral with precision and focus. 95/100
Chanson Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018
35% whole bunch. This one is the wine where they buy some wines vinified elsewhere. Bright, vivid and juicy with bright raspberry and cherry fruit. Intense with some beetroot hints. Grippy finish. Lots of flavour here, with ripe fruit and freshness. 88/100
Chanson Marsannay 2017
Fresh, vivid and direct with bright, crunchy raspberry and cherry fruit with nice concentration and tannic structure. Very pure and compact with a floral edge and some black fruit character as well as red. Stylish stuff with nice intensity and good tannic structure. 91/100
Chanson Gevrey-Chambertin 2017
Have more than 4.5 hectares that they source from. Floral with sweet cherries and berries on the nose as well as a hint of green and rhubarb. The palate is vivid and fresh with green undertones to the fleshy berry fruits. Has nice freshness. 90/100
Domaine Chanson Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru La Daminode 2017
South part of Savigny near the motorway to Paris. Mix of clay, limestone and sand soils. Focused, bright and linear with good acid and tannin, showing bright cherry and berry fruits. This has a really brisk character to it. Keen acidity. Linear and grippy on the finish. 90/100
Domaine Chanson Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Vergelesses 2017
Have 5.5 hectares of this vineyard, in one parcel. Deep clay soils at the bottom of the hill. Taut, grippy and dense with bright raspberry and cherry fruit. Compact and quite backward at the moment with lots of tannin, but has lovely pure fruit and great concentration, and should develop nicely. A really dense wine. 93/100
Domaine Chanson Beaune 1er Cru Clos du Roi 2017
They have 10 different premier cru vineyards in Beaune. Glacier-deposited galets here with deep soils. Sand and clay at the bottom of the slope. This leads to open, gentle wines that mature quickly. Supple, bright and fresh with pure, bright, transparent red cherry and plum fruit. There’s a brightness and sapidity to this wine, which shows nice elegancy and purity. 93/100
Domaine Chanson Santenay-Beauregard Premier Cru 2014 Bourgogne, France
12% alcohol. This is a silky, supple Pinot Noir with sleek black cherry fruit showing hints of mint and pepper, as well as a fine-grained, mildly structured palate with crunchy cherry fruit, some sappy, peppery notes, and nice grip on the finish. There’s a freshness and savouriness here, adding a foil to the sleek cherry fruit. I really like the green, peppery stemmy notes that add detail here to the fruit. And a bit of bottle aged has helped this wine achieve massive drinkability. 93/100
Domaine Chanson Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Fèves Monopole 2017
4.12 hectare monopole. Clay limestone with some yellow marl. Supple and fresh with nice precise, delicate red berry fruits. Has some elegance. There’s structure and acid, but they don’t impose themselves on the bright, linear fruit. Such a lovely, bright, focused wine with a lighter side to it. Lovely elegance and freshness, but also has a good future ahead of it. 93/100
Chanson Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2017
Ripe and dense with some generosity to the sweet, subtly herbal cherry and plum fruit. Good structure with notes of herbs, cherries, spice and blackberries, as well as a twist of tar and stewed plum. This is structured, but there’s some ripeness, too. Nice density. 92/100
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