Exploring Bourgogne (6) Domaine Jeannin-Naltet Père et Fils

4 rue de Jamproyes – 71640 Mercurey
Tel. +33 (0)3 85 45 13 83
Website: https://jeannin-naltet.fr

Benoit Eschard took over this domaine a decade ago, after a career working as an engineer in Paris. This was when one of his wife’s uncles, Thierry, wanted to retire and had no children. So Benoit moved here with his family in 2012 and went back to wine school for a year, before taking over the domaine in 2013.

It was 8.5 hectares, with 7 of those in Mercurey 1er Cru. ‘This domaine was a little bit of a sleeping beauty,’ says Benoit. ‘Half of the wines were being sold in bulk, and we were only bottling two wines.’ Now they bottle all their production and make eight different wines. They have also expanded their holdings to 10 hectares with new plots, including some Aligoté for the first time (they now have 0.5 hectares). Their first Aligoté was 2021.

‘I like Aligoté,’ says Benoit. ‘It’s new for me. Burgundy is Chardonnay and Aligoté was always a second thought, but if you take care with it you can get some great wines. It shows minerality and it’s more salty. It’s fresh with citrus flavours. It is not sensitive to oidium: less sensitive than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Chardonnay is the most sensitive, and after Pinot Noir.’

He says high yields can be an issue. ‘It can produce a lot so you have to take care: you can go up to 100 hl/ha. To be good it has to get ripe. It can make more than Chardonnay with good qualities, so the permitted yields are higher than some other appellations. It is on a regional level appellation which isn’t necessarily the best plots, except for Bouzeron where we have the village appellation.’

‘For me Cote Chalonnaise wines should be much more known,’ he says. ‘But it is changing, since the beginning of this century. A lot of domaines have started to produce wines in the same way as the Côte des Nuits and Côte des Blancs – in the past the difference in quality was because of the terroir and the production process, but now it’s just terroir and the difference is much less.’


Jeannin-Naltet Bourgogne Aligoté 2022 (tank sample, will soon be bottled)
All stainless steel. Generous and textured with pear and citrus as well as some lively spiciness. This has depth and texture, with a stony mineral edge. Incisive, showing depth of flavour, but also freshness and minerality. 91-92/100

Jeannin-Naltet Bourgogne Aligoté 2021
Small quantities so aged in used barrel. Some distinctive apricot and honey notes as well as bright lemony fruit and a touch of aniseed. Has some apple and spice and nice acidity, with lovely focus to the fruit. 91/100

Jeannin-Naltet Mercurey Blanc 2021
13% alcohol. 85% of the appellation is red. ‘We have some great plots for whites,’ says Benoit. ‘We make some great white.’ Textured and chalky with nice flesh to the citrus and pear fruit, together with a hint of nutty oak in the background. Some lovely peach fruit, fine spices, and nice complexity. 92/100

In 2021 Benoit pruned Chardonnay very late so didn’t lose any of his crop to frost. He only has 0.8 hectares so can do this. Of recent vintages, he says that 2019 is the best red vintage in the last 10 years. 2021 was tricky. There was April frost, and then a rainy and cold spring and summer. Maturity was not simple but the yield was low which helped.

Jeannin-Naltet Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru Le Clos L’Eveque 2021
13% alcohol. Limestone soils, east facing. Long fermentation but low extraction to avoid extracting bad things. This site is always fine and elegant. Fresh, pure and supple with lovely sweet, restrained cherry and berry fruits, showing brightness but also some silkiness to the texture, and good acidity. Lovely balance here with sappy detail, finishing with sour cherry. 92/100

Jeannin-Naltet Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru Clos des Grands Voyens Monopole 2021
13% alcohol. Much more clay in the soil, which is deep, facing SE. Super-elegant with nice weight, complexity and spicy structure as well as elegant cherry and plum fruit. Has nice structure and acidity and there’s an elegance and flesh to the fruit, as well as fine structure. 94/100

Jeannin-Naltet Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru Les Naugues 2021
South of the domaine. Clay soils but some marl/limestone under this. There’s both volume and structure at the beginning and it finishes with good length. Vibrant beetroot, cherry and raspberry on the nose. Bold with direct ripe fruit but also some freshness and a touch of crunchy raspberry structure, too. Very stylish and vibrant, with a wide dynamic range. Should age well. 94/100

Jeannin-Naltet Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru Le Clos L’Eveque 2021
14% alcohol. Very different vintage to 2021. Sunny and dry in summer. Concentrated, rich and elegant with ripe sweet cherry and plum fruit but also lovely structure. Fine-grained and spicy with warmth but also precision, and a hint of mulch and sweet plums. Ripe and concentrated but also with some elegance, and a bit of warmth on the mid-palate. 94/100