Mercurey is one of the more serious villages on the Cote Chalonnaise, and while historically the village has a reputation for being a little swarthy and broad my recent tastings of wines from here show that producers are harnessing the natural power of their sites and making quite dark-fruited but plush wines. If you like your Pinot with a bit more muscle this can be a great place to explore, with the wines offering excellent value for money.
Francois Raquillet is an 11th generation vigneron and having run the family domaine for 30 years he’s vastly experienced. His daughter Jeanne joined the business marking the start of the 12th generation. I was impressed with all their red wines but have plumbed for the Vieilles Vignes and the 1er Cru Les Veleys for their depth and village typicity. This is a new producer at Philglas & Swiggot.
Produced from 60 year old vines on a 0.88 hectare plot facing the rising sun due east, the vine is pruned according to the Cordon de Royat method. The soil is cultivated mechanically with several tillage operations a year. The vine is debudded to provide light in the middle and obtain optimum health for grapes. Leaves are removed from the vine. This work is an alternative solution to using anti-botrytis. The grapes are picked by hand and placed in boxes. They are then sorted on a table. The vineyards are tended according to the conventional integrated pest management method.
Completely destemmed then gravity fed into stainless steel containers, the grapes are then placed in vats for cold (12°) pre-fermentation maceration for 5 days. Fermentation occurs naturally with indigenous yeasts present on the grapes and in the fermenting cellar. Alcoholic fermentation in vats and malolactic fermentation in barrels. Very little punching down of the cap, pumping over twice a day on a daily basis is preferred. Devatting after 18 to 22 days followed by pressing. The wine is placed in barrels (30% new barrels) for 12 months, then extracted to finish its last 6 months of ageing in stainless steel vats in order to refine the tannins. Very light filtration before bottling, which takes place in spring, after 2 winters in the cellar.
A gorgeous wine that captures that polished blue fruit tone of Mercurey but also with a crisp cherry tension that makes this so compelling. The standout wine in the Raquillet flight. Sourced from a single, east-facing vineyard from 65-year-old vines this wine spends around a week longer macerating on the skins than the VV and has 30% new oak but carries the extra tannin and richness seamlessly.