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Château des Rontets, Pouilly-Fuissé Les Birbettes 2018
White Wine from France - Burgundy
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From a north-facing vineyard high on the slope this has intensity rather than sheer power and is closer to Côte de Beaune than Pouilly-Fuissé in style, with more of an apple and melon character than a richly creamy one. This is Rontets’ top wine and comes from a vineyard originally planted in the 1920s, with some replanting since. The wine is given about 20 months’ maturation in pièces, 228-litre oak barrels.
Case of 6
2 - Dry
Now to 2026
oak used but not v. noticeable
Château des Rontets
The young owners of this charming domaine, Claire & Fabio Gazeau-Montrasi met while working as architects in Milan. The old house amid the vines, overlooking the village of Fuissé, came to Claire from her mother and grandparents, and the maternal family name of Varambon lives on in one of the cuvées produced here. Fabio, who reckons disarmingly that Claire was always the better architect, embraced with gusto the opportunity of working with soil rather than concrete. He is a committed fan of sustainability and the estate has been certified organic since 2005.
The vines face north, on a ridge between Pouilly and Vergisson. All wines are fermented in wood, some foudres and some pièces, but not new except in case of Birbettes, using only indigenous yeasts and keeping sulphur to a minimum, as Fabio believes it can mask the subtleties in terroirs.
The Rontets style is a mouthwatering one, crisp and racy, but well-rounded too and discreetly oaked. Clos Varambon comes from 40 year old vines, and is a fine, silky, balanced style and elegant with a long, long finish. Pierrefolle comes from more granitic soils with little or no chalk, and is fuller bodied. Birbettes comes from the oldest vines and has a richness and intensity that is quite remarkable.
Burgundy Vintage 2018
The maturity of the grapes reflects the yearâ€™s unbroken sunny summer weather. From 25th June until the harvest it was warm and, apart from the odd storm, there was little or no rain, allowing the grapes to ripen fully. By contrast plentiful spring rain had created a good reserve of water in the soil for the vines to draw upon, so that there was neither heat stress nor raisining of the grapes later in the season.
That water supply, along with a successful flowering, ensured a generous harvest the size of which mitigated some of the heat and explains why the grapes are ripe but not overripe. Anticipating their precocity, the producers began harvesting at the end of August and brought in ripe and balanced fruit in very good health, with no fungal diseases in evidence. The resulting white wines have a striking purity of fruit about them.