Thierry Richoux - 2012 Irancy, Rouge Les Cailles
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Inside the Bottle: Meet Thierry Richoux’s newest single cru wine, Les Cailles. It’s a lieu-dit site that sits on the far western end of Irancy's horseshoe-shaped amphitheater, facing directly south. It’s a classic Richoux wine, made in a more rustic but pure style of Burgundy raised more like an Italian wine. Like Thierry's other Irancy wines (including his other great lieu-dit bottling, Veaupessiot), it spends its first year in stainless steel, followed by a second year in large (55-85hl) seemingly ancient foudres. (Most red Burgundies are raised in 228 liter French oak barrels, so about 4% or less volume than his smallest foudre.)
The purpose of this nontraditional elevage is partially due to a belief that Pinot Noir grown on Kimmerdigian limestone tends to give rough tannic edges to young wines, requiring the extra time that large format can provide without sacrificing all the bright aromas to oxidation when raised in smaller barrels.
Thierry releases his red wines “when they are ready,” which usually means at least four years after they are harvested. If you've tasted in Thierry's cellar before, you will know that despite their youthful appeal, even four years is far too early for these wines that effortlessly age for decades. The considerable rewards the patient buyer of Thierry’s brilliant wines is the purity and complexity that awaits. If you pop them early (which I absolutely encourage), just let them do their thing and in an hour or less you will see the intricate work of Thierry’s masterful craftsmanship.