Wines By Region / Burgundy / Côte Chalonnaise / Givry / Domaine Ragot
|Charles Neal Selections||
Charles Neal Selections © 2021
|Charles Neal Selections||
The Ragot family have traced their wine growing history back to 1760 when Gabriel Ragot tended vines in Mercurey. About a century later, Louis Ragot established a property in Givry. There he not only grew grapes, but also a number of different crops, as well as raising livestock.
Two centuries after the Ragot family began their winemaking, they chose to abandon their other sources of income and focus solely on their 5 hectares of grapes. By 1973, all the production on the property, which had grown to 7 hectares, was sold in bottle around France. The name of the domaine changed from Ragot Frères to Domaine Ragot and was run by cousins Jean-Paul and Jean-Pierre Ragot.
After Jean-Pierre's death in 1991, Jean-Paul's son Nicolas entered the business in 2002. Large investments were made in the winery and vineyards over the next year, with new tanks and an underground barrel room constructed and certain non-productive parcels replanted. Jean-Paul retired in 2008, leaving Nicolas in sole control of the domaine. Of course, retirement doesn't mean much to a French farmer, and Jean-Paul can still often be found in the vines or the cave.
The domaine has grown to 9 hectares. Nine different wines are released. Three are in premier cru. 75% of the vines are at least 40 years old and the Chardonnay vines are 50 years old. The vineyard is plowed several times during the year to mechanically remove the grass around the vines, thus avoiding the use of herbicides. Grass and specific plants grow between the vines on every other row of the vineyard. The Ragots are convinced that this form of healthy competition between native plants and the vines is not only healthy but essential for a live soil that ultimately needs no synthetic fertilizers.
All of the fruit is hand-harvested and all of the clusters are destemmed. After a cold soak, the must begins to heat and fermentation takes place 4 to 6 days later. Only indigenous yeasts are used, preserving the integrity of the vineyard's character. A full fermentation normally takes place in 10 to 15 days, depending on the year.
70% of the red wines are aged in barrel. About 20% new oak is purchased each year while other wines see aging in oak foudre. There is no set time that wines spend in cask; each vintage is approached differently and its élevage is determined after multiple tastings. Normally the wine rests in cask for between 10 and 16 months. Before bottling, all the barrels are assembled and the wine rests for at least 2 months to marry the various lots.
Bottling takes place at the domaine with the Ragot's own equipment. The wines are lightly filtered to preserve the maximum aromas. After bottling, the wines are allowed to rest for 6 months before their commercialization.
Domaine Ragot Givry Vieilles Vignes
This wine comes from a total of 1.25 hectares of Pinot Noir vines (average age: 50 years) grown on clay and limestone soils. Aging is in oak barrels, 20% of which is new, for 12 months. The wine has notes of black fruits, cassis, blackberry, and raspberry along with some vanilla and spice. A nice match for grilled steaks, pork roast or chicken stew, or hard cheeses like aged gouda or parmesan.
Domaine Ragot Givry “Teppes des Chenèves”
This is a newer parcel, planted in 2009, for the Ragot family. The vineyards lie along nearly 3/4 of a hectare of hillside that had been covered by forest. After clearing the east-facing hillside, they planted Pinot Noir in high density (10,000 vines/hectare) on its clay and limestone soils at between 290 and 325 meters altitude. After a manual harvest, the wine is aged in oak, of which 40% is new. This is a delicious wine that is more forward than Clos Jus and lighter on its feet than Grande Berge.
Domaine Ragot Givry 1er Cru “La Grande Berge”
This premier cru is located in the south of the appellation, along an east-facing slope that is very rocky and therefore allows for excellent drainage. The Ragots have 5 parcels here, totaling 2.14 hectares, varying between 15, 30 and 50 years of age. Grande Berge produces wines that are more known for their subtlety and finesse than for their power. Harvest is by hand, the grapes are destemmed and yeasts are indigenous. Aging takes place in oak (30% new) for between 12 and 15 months. This wine has plenty of red cherry fruit with subtle notes of undergrowth and spice.
Domaine Ragot Givry Premier Cru "Clos Jus"
Clos Jus lies at the very top end of Givry. This bottling comes from a 1-hectare parcel that was planted in 1990. The slope of red clay and limestone soils faces due east. Aging takes place in oak barrels, 30% of which are new, for between 12 and 15 months, depending on the vintage. Its brilliant crimson color emits a bouquet that evokes strawberry and blackberry along with notes of vanilla, licorice, and spice. Pleasurable now with grilled red meats, braised veal or cheeses like brie, camembert or reblochon, this wine will also benefit from 4 or 5 years of cellar time and considerably reward the patient consumer.