You know the story: As the most famous white burgundy producers become scarcer than hen’s teeth, even the producers we used to call “overlooked” are becoming allocated. The growers we used to depend upon to stock our shelves with great Chardonnay have become once-a-year treats that don’t make it to the shelf for long, if at all. For better and for worse, we can add Fichet to the list. Hard as it is for his fans, it’s obviously fair: Fichet is as big a talent as they come in Burgundy and nobody does a better, more meticulous job of expressing their terroir. He has lots of old vines with deep roots and the naturally low yields that give you not just his sites' tastes, but even their unique textures. He accentuates the natural concentration by managing yields through rigorous winter pruning rather than a heavy summer green harvest. (That was one of Jayer’s secrets, too: he said that by the time the vine had created all those shoots you spend the summer pruning, the vine had wasted too much of it's essential goodness). The farming is “lutte raisonée,” minimizing inputs. Most wines ferment in barrel (generally, older) on wild yeasts, and age for 11-18 months depending on the vintage and the site. Likewise, though Jean-Philippe uses relatively little batonnage, he will use some in certain vintages or cuvées. The resulting wines are delicious and pure, with the sense of terroir that makes them worth thinking about, and the delectable fruit that makes us want just to drink them up.
VARIETALSChardonnayORGANICPracticingVINEYARDA small parcel of 80-year-old vines at the base of Charmes. Fichet added drainage in the late 1990s to limit vigor.ORIENTATIONEastSOILclay-limestoneVITICULTUREViticulture is “lutte raisonée” (reasoned organic). Jean-Philippe aims to know his vines, and to work with them to find a healthy equilibrium. Grapes are hand harvested.VINIFICATIONFermentations take place in barrel and wine goes through malo in barrel.AGING12+ months in barrel (1/6 new), plus 3-6 months in tank