Weathered face, gnarly hands and never seen without his flat cap – he’s 70-ish and still very much in the driving seat. Every time we visit Paul Pernot in Puligny-Montrachet a few kilometres south of Beaune, we are struck by the sheer elegance and stunning quality of his wines. One of the top handful of growers in the village – his Pulignys have exquisite delicacy and poise but with the structure to age gracefully.
Monsieur Pernot’s Pulignys are assembled from several parcels including some vines between 40 and 45 years old. A complex mix of nuts, a touch of honey, tangerine peel and wild white flowers. Tightly wound in the nose when young, large-scaled in the mouth. The epitome of classy white Burgundy.
His Bourgogne Chardonnay is from vines planted in 1975 with a small track separating them from Villages vines. He also adds one rocky parcel de-classified from the 1er cru Champ Canet vineyard. The Puligny is an assemblage from several parcels with vines between 40 and 45 years old. Always with a fabulous, ethereal perfume, wonderful depth and poise and a hint of 1-2 year old oak (used firstly by the Batard and the Bienvenues-Batard). The Folatieres vines were planted in 1956. He treats them to 30-40% new oak. The wine is concentrated and has a massive finish. His Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet is quite a different balance, less upfront in the nose than the Folatieres but seriously enticing. An explosion in the mouth, a complex mix of nuts, a touch of honey and wild white flowers. The Batard needs time. It is all it should be – tightly wound in the nose when young, large-scaled in the mouth. If you can bear to wait 5-15 years your patience will be repaid, but, if you can?t wait, pour into a decanter for an hour before serving.
Famous for his elegant white Burgundies he also has some parcels of old vine Pinot Noir. This is traditionally made, mature, old-school Pinot, dripping with smoky, autumn fruit.
“Les Reversees” is a small vineyard on the outskirts of the mediaeval town of Beaune. Its character is usually described as plump and rustic.
“Clos du Dessous des Marconnets” is a tiny walled vineyard, a monopole, owned solely by Monsieur Pernot, on the slope above the mediaeval town of Beaune.
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