The 2019 Marsannay La Montagne, more or less 100% whole bunches that are lightly crushed to release the juice, offers brambly red berry fruit mixed with damp earthy notes on the nose. The palate is well balanced with a polished texture, very cohesive with red cherry and strawberry fruit. Smooth towards the finish that is richer than Pataille’s other cuvées thanks to the warmer microclimate here.
A tasting with Sylvain Pataille is not one you’ll forget in a hurry. A mass of ginger curls and beard, small round spectacles and the air of an eccentric professor, he brims over with energy, running through the fine details of more than 20 different wines in rapid-fire French, whilst dealing with a never ending stream of phone calls. He has to be the busiest grower we work with – not only do he and his wife Maryse have 17ha in and around Marsannay (plus some grape purchases for a generic aligoté cuvée), but he is also an independent consultant oenologist for around 20 growers in the Côte-d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise.
Born and bred in Marsannay, but not from a winemaking family, Sylvain had to start from scratch when he wanted a domaine of his own. He went to wine school in Beaune at the age of just 14 and then to wine university in Bordeaux in order to become an oenologist. And Sylvain explains, “Since my parents didn’t have any vines my plan was to travel and make several harvests a year. Instead I got a job at a lab in Beaune (with Kyriakos Kynigopoulos), where I stayed from 1997 to 2001. I learnt a lot. But at the same time, it was quite superficial. You try the wines during vinification and ageing. After that you don’t exist anymore. The wines are not yours. And the guy who made them has forgotten about you. I really needed to create something that I could call my own”.
100% Pinot Noir
Continental climate. Clay-limestone marls, alluvial sediments on mid-Jurassic (Bajocian and Bathonian) limestone bedrock. Gentle slopes. 250-320m altitude.
12.5% / 75cl