Vincent Girardin Saint Aubin Les Murgers des Dents de Chien Premier Cru, France 2019
VINTAGE : 2019
COUNTRY : France
REGION/APPELLATION : Burgundy, Saint Aubin
VARIETALS : Chardonnay
"As I wrote last year, reputations, once formed, are hard to shake; and one of my recurring professional challenges is to attempt to change them. Times passes, personnel move on and approaches evolve, but stereotypes persist. So, all I can do is repeat that the wines produced under the Vincent Girardin label today are superb and that I'm happy to have some in my own cellar. Readers will remember the history: Vincent Girardin debuted as a winemaker in 1982, creating his négociant maison in 1990 with his family domaine holdings at its core, and he is distinguished by insisting on purchasing grapes as opposed to must or finished wines. When Girardin's expanding holdings became too much to handle, Eric Germain—brother of Jean-François Germain, who presides over Meursault reference-point Domaine Henri Germain—was brought in to supervise winemaking in 2002. Germain, as he puts it, harbored the ambition "to make not merely good wine but instead great wine," and also wines that could age. He presided over a wholesale change in winemaking practices that has continued to progress since the maison's purchase by the Compagnie des Vins d’Autrefois in 2011. Wines that were once oaky and somewhat exaggerated are now taut, incisive and beautifully differentiated by site. There's much more attention to detail in the vineyards—fully 21 hectares of which are now owned—and they are increasingly being converted to biodynamic farming. Élevage is longer, and Germain uses much less new oak and little bâtonnage. So, this is now a very serious source for high-quality white Burgundy, and the reflex to dismiss this producer as "commercial" is entirely misplaced. The high quality of the 2019 vintage, reviewed here from bottle, confirms that the progress continues: while the house best white wines have long been super, the reds reviewed here are the most elegant and integrated that I've tasted here to date. Everything reviewed here, therefore, comes warmly recommended."