Spotlight on the Maconnais Wines of Jean and Gauthier Thevenet: Domaine Émilian Gillet Viré-Clessé 2012
What I love about the Thevenets is their commitment to the idiosyncrasy of the land and the climate of their unique sites in Quintaine. They elevated the Macon before anyone else believed in it. Today, the Macon is a land that offers the greatest value in serious, terroir-driven Chardonnay in the world. When the likes of Lafon invest you know things are serious. And while Lafon’s wines are extremely good, there are so many more to explore from numerous villages and vineyards, all owing thanks to the Thevenets.
A Third Domaine
The Domaine Émilian Gillet wines are made from leased lands. But that doesn’t have a negative impact on the quality. They were acquired in 1988, before the Roally lands became available for purchase, and were meant to fill the niche of contrasting higher acidity and minerality to the Bongran wines. Today, Jean Thevenet says these wines are not that dissimilar to the Roally wines, and that he maintained Roally only because it had such an established brand. I am not sure about the lack of distinction. I find the Gillet wines to have their own unique character.
The Gillet wines are made from 40+ year old vines grown on clay and limestone soils. Ferments last often over a year in old oak. Ageing continues in the same vessels.
Hazelnuts, cream, quince, tangerine. Incredibly complex on the palate, with a rich body but totally mouthwatering acidity. Medium+ length but it is an impressive achievement to combine the sheer volume of the wine with a sense of lift and elegance. While the Thevenets say this is similar in character to the Roally, I do not find it to be so. I agree that it has a higher level of acidity and more elegance than the Bongran, but it also has more depth and concentration than Roally. It basically sits in the middle between the two.
This ends the mini spotlight on the wines of the Thevents. These are very important wines, and anyone serious about collecting and understanding wine must taste these and understand their place in the world of French wine and Chardonnay.
Excellent to Excellent+
$48 at Liberty Wine Merchants