Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, the humble Burgundian
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (tastings) is one of my favourite producers of white Burgundy. I haven’t drunk a lot of his wine, but every bottle has been superb, with no disappointments (unusual for white Burgundy, sorry to say).
As well, some of the greatest pleasures have come from his relatively humble Saint-Aubin wines, a less-famous appellation, which is situated west of Colin’s home base in Chassagne-Montrachet. A recent 2014 Saint-Aubin Les Perrières premier cru was outstanding, as was a La Châteniaire premier cru.
I do expect a grand cru Bâtard-Montrachet or Corton-Charlemagne to be stellar, but I’m super-impressed when a less-fêted appellation thrills me to the core, as these did. Colin-Morey wines have a purity and mineral intensity that is truly exciting. I’m not one who uses the ‘m’ word often, but if any chardonnay can be termed mineral, these can. There is a smoky, struck-flint character (on the Perrières particularly) and the palate is tight, precise, rivetingly intense and nervy. If you are after ‘fruity’ chardonnays, you could be disappointed, so don’t expect that with these wines. They are far more interesting, engaging and layered.
Pierre-Yves and his wife Caroline (who has her own small Domaine Caroline Morey) were in Australia recently to participate in the fourth Burgundy Celebration, a three-day event organised by Sydney-based, Burgundy-born master sommelier Franck Moreau and staged in both Sydney and Melbourne. Other featured producers were Margaux Laroche of Le Domaine d’Henri and Virgile Lignier of Domaine Lignier-Michelot (tastings). There was also a Domaine Prieuré-Roch masterclass.
Pierre-Yves struck me as a truly humble Burgundian who would much rather be working in the vines than waving the flag on the international stage, although his English is fluent and he’s keen to talk about wine with people of like mind.
Pierre-Yves explained to me that Saint-Aubin is his ‘feature’ terroir: he owns six hectares there, so it’s the major part of his 10-hectare estate.
Sharing a taste of the Corton-Charlemagne, Pierre-Yves said his approach was no filtration and no fining, which was at odds with his father’s way, which was to always filter.
“I do things the old-fashioned way, which always takes more time. This wine was aged in three 350-litre barrels, one new, one one-year-old, and the other four years old. The wine has 20 months in wood, so it clarifies naturally.”
He said many so-called innovations are all about saving time, and filtration is one of those.
“But you cannot rush wine. You have to give it time. If it takes two days to rack five barrels, then take two days, and do it properly.”
His philosophy is simple: to be honest to his terroir and his grapes.
If it’s time that makes the difference between great wine and ordinary wine, it’s hard to imagine why people in the world’s best chardonnay region wouldn’t take as much time as necessary.