Professor of Puligny: 2018 Whites from the Iconic Jacques Carillon!

Posted by Mark Grimaldi on Aug 25th 2020

Lovers of white Burgundy know the name Carillon. While this estate has been around since the 1500s, it was about 10 years ago that brothers Francois and Jacques split up. While both domaines make great wine, it is Jacque's wines that have become iconic due to their electrifying, chiseled cut from his limited use of lees stirring and more conservative use of new oak. This is a minuscule estate, with just 5 hectares under vine in some of the most sought after vineyards in Puligny. Jacques is known for his ability to engage the limestone soils, along with the ripeness of Puligny, to bring together some of the purest, salty, mineral, but still fruit-driven whites of the appellation. His style we might compare to a name like Jean-Marc Roulot--limited barrel aging and finishing in stainless steel. Truly these are wow wines.

It was in the 80s that Carillon caught the eye of Neal Rosenthal, and now, 30 years later, Jacques Carillon has become one of the most allocated wines in the entire portfolio, alongside Ghislaine Barthod and Domaine Fourrier. While our allocations are always small, this year we got a nice enough amount that we can offer it out on email. the 2018s are a wonderful vintage for Carillon--his restrained style married with the warmth and sun of the 18 vintage, make these wines of pure pleasure.

Here is some more info from Importer Neal Rosenthal on the vintage:
From his five-and-a-half hectares of prime real estate in Puligny-Montrachet—with a sliver in Chassagne-Montrachet—Jacques Carillon produces among the most focused, mineral-drenched, age-worthy white wines in the Côte de Beaune. We at Rosenthal Wine Merchant enjoyed the privilege of working with his father Louis for nearly three decades, and Jacques’s methodology follows directly from his father’s—as does the character of the wines. Never green even in lean vintages, never overripe even in the warmest years, Carillon’s wines are zoom-lenses into their particular sites, expressing nuances of minerality with overwhelming clarity. They reveal a grower with an uncanny knack for harvest timing, who knows exactly how to manage pressing to achieve poise and harness the vintage’s best qualities. Jacques’s wines are sleek but never slick, as he employs a judicious new-oak regimen of around 15-20% on all but the Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet (of which he produces only two barrels at most per vintage). Fermentation proceeds in barrel without added yeasts, and the wines spend six months in stainless steel for settling and assemblage after a year in oak. Bottling occurs after a very light filtration, and, notably, Carillon has recently elevated his free sulfur at bottling to a fairly robust 50 milligrams per liter in order to preserve the wines’ longevity; these, after all, are intended to be cellared. Given their scarcity, and especially given what sheer awe they inspire with age, it would be a shame to open them too early.

The 2018 vintage was warm and solar, even by today’s post-climate-change standards. A mild winter led to an early budbreak, but ample rain the first few months of the year raised the water table and helped vines weather the growing season’s hydric stress. Jacques began picking on the 28th of August, and he describes the 2018s as akin to 2015, but with even more richness. Given his razor-sharp style, he was well-equipped to render a collection of 2018s that still possess salinity and tension, even if they are slightly less mineral-driven than the prior couple of vintages. Also, although 2018 marks the first vintage in which Jacques did not produce a Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Macherelles”—the parcel went to his brother Francois as a final resolution of their inheritances from Louis—it was a mercifully bountiful harvest, with the most quantities produced at the domaine since 2009. These luscious 2018s will reach our shores in early August, and Jacques believes they are in fact drinking better in their youth than the 2017s.

Please note that these wines are extremely limited, just bottles of each. Enjoy this beautiful vintage from this top address....

To order, check out online here. Shipping and in-store pickup available.

1) Chassagne Montrachet, J. Carillon 2018
4bts available

Sale Price $89.99/btl! Buy Online Now
From vines planted in 2013 in Voillenot-Dessous, located immediately south of the village itself, Jacques’s villages-level Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc displays more breadth than the Puligny mentioned above, with a slightly less forward mineral element. Still, the wine shows impressive verve, with surprising depth from such young vines. A modest proportion of new barrels keeps the delicate fruit-mineral interplay at the forefront.

2) Puligny Montrachet, J. Carillon 2018
12bts available

Sale Price $94.99/btl! Buy Online Now
Jacques’ Puligny-Montrachet comes from eleven small parcels in seven different lieux-dits scattered throughout the appellation, with vines averaging 40 years of age. Jacques operates on a six-year barrel rotation for his villages-level wines, and the modest 15% new oak allows the limestone essence typical in Carillon to shine through. The palate is lean and quite long, showing youthful verve and a stern minerality that will repay a few years of cellaring.

3) Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Perrieres", J. Carillon 2018
3bts available

Sale Price $154.99/btl! Buy Online Now
Carillon owns just over a hectare of 40-year-old vines in this enviably located cru just south of Les Referts (see below) on the slope, in the northern sector of Puligny. As is typically the case with his Perrières, the 2018 shows a more pungent limestone essence than the Champ Canet above. It is sleeker and less rich, but more overpowering in its overall carriage due to its electric acid-mineral interplay. The finish is tightly coiled, dominating the palate with chalky intensity and suggesting a long life ahead.

4) Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru " Les Champs Canet", J. Carillon 2018
3bts available

Sale Price $154.99/btl! Buy Online Now
Located at the northern limit of Puligny on the border of Meursault, Jacques’ ever-elegant Champ Canet comes from a 0.55-hectare parcel planted by his father in 1973. It offers a gorgeous combination of generosity and minerality, always with a floral overlay and a mouthwatering impression of quinine. This 2018 displays an uncanny equilibrium, with a kinetic palate on which the ripe citrus fruits and punchy chalk engage in a saliva-inducing tug-of-war.

5) Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Referts", J. Carillon 2018
2bts available

Sale Price $169.99/btl! Buy Online Now
Jacques exploits a mere quarter-hectare of 40-year-old vines in this great northern-Puligny 1er cru. Where Perrières is punchily mineral, Referts is broodingly intense, with a limestone core that murmurs rather than shouts. There is a hair’s breadth more concentration to the fruit here, but the impression of freshness and salinity is still notable, with the palate showing a gleaming energy.