About The Wine
Blanchot-Dessus is one of Gagnard’s best wines. It’s grandiose in a grand cru way with its heavyweight body and richness. However the balance of fine-grained angles and freshness expected from a vineyard classified as a grand cru falls a touch short with this premier cru. But as a premier cru, this is a true standout and a near grand cru experience for a mid- to top premier cru price.
The premier cru, Blanchot-Dessus, (not the village-level lieu-dit close by), is the story of seemingly an unlucky fault break and the erosional valley that comes out from Saint-Aubin and into the Saone plain. These likely culprits did the damage that led to this vineyard ultimately stripped from being named, Blanchot-Batard-Montrachet, and catapulted into eternal glory as the sixth Montrachet grand cru. Now it’s nothing more than one of the best secrets in white Burgundy. There’s a lot of story behind this parcel that was once considered part of the Montrachet elite, but the reasons for its exclusion and modern day classification as a premier cru may be one of easy to understand logic. Believe me, I want to tell you that it should be a grand cru, but if you believe in the merits of terroir, it seems that it was more right than wrong to be excluded from the grand crus and classified as a premier cru. Perhaps wines rendered from it can be as good as many Batard-Montrachet and Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet sections within these two grand crus, but surely not Le Montrachet or Chevaliar-Montrachet, and even Criots-Batard-Montrachet, which carries in some parts of the vineyard suspect downside as Blanchot-Dessus.
From a physical standpoint, the differences between the grand crus and Blanchot-Dessus are simple. There is almost no slope in Blanchot-Dessus—except a tiny one extending from the north side—and it sits on a significant fault (presumably, if not a former quarry) in the bedrock with a reasonably unfavorable dip in the center of the vineyard and then a slight upward tilt facing toward the north on the south side. There’s a ten feet or more difference between the highest section (while much of it is even significantly lower) of Blanchot-Dessus and Le Montrachet above it; and Criots has a slope that starts up as the same height as Batard-Montrachet and slopes downward, and also has a bit of a dip in the center like Blanchots-Dessus. These reasons alone should compel one to agree with its classification outside of a grand cru level. And then there’s the proof in the glass, which to me takes a back seat to Gagnard’s Les Caillerets in almost every aspect, except perhaps its more immediate charm due to its deeper clay topsoil before the limestone bedrock.