- 100% Pinot Noir
This magnificent property, which dates back to the 9th century, is also known as Château Philippe le Hardi, as it was once owned by the first Duc of Burgundy. Philippe le Hardi, who was made the Duc of Burgundy by his father, who happened to be the King of France, is famous as the person who banned the cultivation of Gamay in the Côte d’Or, saying in his edict of 1395 that only Pinot Noir could be used in the production of red wines from the already fabled slopes.
Despite its long history, the property had fallen on hard times until it was taken over by the French bank Crédit Agricole in recent years. They have invested heavily, bringing in a new team to support the general manager, Gérard Fagnoni and putting the emphasis on quality. The property has 98 hectares of vineyard, 72 of which are in Mercurey. Part of the new focus on quality was to move viticulture in the direction of sustainability, so the quality of the fruit is improving with each vintage. They have also extensively renovated and updated the winery.
The reds show just what a good vintage 2012 was in Burgundy. The wines are bright and lifted with excellent definition and concentration. The winemaking at Château de Santenay is quite simple: a cold soak for a week at 8 degrees, during which they do pigeage; 7-10 days on skins during fermentation and délestage at end of fermentation to impart the grainy tannins that give the wines a lovely structure and length. In 2012, most of their vineyards were harvested by hand, which ensured a better selection of fruit.
The 2012 Mercurey has a youthful, bright ruby colour, a clean and scented nose with a touch of cherries and bright, lifted fruit on the palate that has an attractive chewy and grainy character. The Premier Cru ‘Les Puillets’ is a step up. It has riper, dark cherry fruit, is fuller on the palate with lovely tannins and a surprising volume. Their Beaune Premier Cru ‘Clos du Roi’ is extremely appealing. It is forward and scented with excellent depth, a good intensity of dark cherry fruit and a supple structure. All the reds are aged in pièces for about 12 months, 20% of which are new.