TERROIR TALK: Thierry Pillot of Domaine Paul Pillot

TERROIR TALK: Thierry Pillot of Domaine Paul Pillot 23

The vines in their enviable palette of holdings are farmed organically, though not yet certified as such, and the wines they produce are matured for some 18 months on the lees, the final six being spent in stainless steel.

Percentages of new wood are modest, with plenty of larger format 350-liter barrels, and the lees are never stirred.

Characterful, elegantly textural and mouthwateringly incisive, these are superb white Burgundies, and to my mind, Pillot is one of a handful of exciting producers who win Chassagne-Montrachet the title of Burgundy’s most interesting white wine producing village today.

That he stills flies somewhat under the radar—at least relative to the quality to be found here—is perplexing. What’s more, that’s bound to change, and sooner rather than later, so readers shouldn’t hesitate to buy whatever bottles they can find.William Kelley, Jan 2019

Thierry Pillot is truly one of a kind – a thoughtful vigneron who consistently provides some of the most soulful insights into the world of Burgundy.

His family-owned Domaine Paul Pillot, that he took over in 2004 and runs with his sister Chrystelle and father Paul, has been making some of Burgundy’s finest whites and reds for some time now.

He produces understated, chiseled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of the best dirt in Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay, and St. Aubin. These are wines with texture, verve, and palate-staining length, made with a subtle use of wood.

The 2018s here remain a benchmark vintage for this property.

From Thierry:

I began the 2018 harvest on August 26th. Few growers were in the vines when I started. Pierre-Yves was out on the 27th I believe. For me, 2017 remains a better vintage for white than either 2018 or 2019. In 2018 everything was between 12.5-13% alcohol.

Everything that comes from this exceptional domaine is pure and lacy. The wood is always perfectly balanced in Thierry’s wines (a maximum of 10% new, with some of the top wines seeing recent barrels only). These are wines that deliver a distinctly crunchy saline quality. There is never a hint of green or over-ripeness. The needle is threaded to perfection! Timing, balance, elegance, touch, texture, and length – you really do get it all here.

The reds are equally compelling (listen to his thoughts on 2018 vs. 2019 below!). There is a grain and irony mineral component that is utterly mouthwatering in every glass. Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay are special in his hands and the reds are always unfined and unfiltered.

Our Terroir Talk with Thierry Pillot dives into the qualities of the terroir at Domaine Pillot, the 2017 vintage, and the larger conversations that are happening in Burgundy with the next generation of winemakers now at the helm.

Domaine Paul Pillot Bourgogne Aligoté 2018

Practicing organic • 45+ year old vines • From 40% Chassagne-Montrachet, 60% Remigny • Very rocky site in Remigny • Indigenous yeast • Aged in older 350L barrels 

Domaine Pillot Bourgogne Blanc 2018

Practicing organic • 35+ year old vines •  From 40% Chassagne-Montrachet, 60% Remigny • Very rocky site in Remigny • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Bourgogne Rouge 2018

Practicing organic • From vines in Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay • 50+ year old vines • 30% whole cluster • Indigenous yeast • Aged in older barrel • Unfined and unfiltered

Thierry Pillot St. Aubin ‘Le Ban’ 2018

Practicing organic • 40+ year old vines •  Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in in older barrels for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot St. Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Charmois’ 2018

Practicing organic • One of the finest vineyards in St. Aubin • Adjacent to 1er Cru En Remilly • 50+ year old vines • Lots of limestone • East facing • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot St. Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Pitangerets’ 2018

Practicing organic • On the Chassagne side of St. Aubin • Across from 1er Cru En Remilly • Very cold site • 50+ year old vines • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Santenay Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2018

Practicing organic • From the Chassagne side of Santenay • Lieu dits: Prarons, Champs Claude • 40+ year old vines • 30% whole cluster • Indigenous yeast • Aged in barrel (10% new) • Unfined and unfiltered

Thierry Pillot Volnay 1er Cru ‘Santenots’ 2018

Practicing organic • 45+ year old vines • East Exposure • 280 m altitude • 50% whole cluster • Indigenous yeast • Aged in barrel (25% new) • Unfined and unfiltered

Thierry Pillot Puligny-Montrachet ‘Les Enseignères’ 2018

Practicing organic • An exceptional lieu-dit directly below Grand Cru Bienvenues Batard Montrachet • 40+ year old vines • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in older 350L barrels for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2018

Practicing organic • From vines directly below 1er Les Morgeots • 50+ year old vines • Clay and reddish limestone • 50% whole cluster • Indigenous yeast • Aged in barrel (10% new) • Unfined and unfiltered

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge 1er Cru ‘Clos St. Jean’ 2018

Vineyard Clip

Practicing organic • Considered one of the top sites in Chassagne for Pinot Noir • 55+ year old vines • 50% whole cluster • Indigenous yeast • Aged in barrel (15% new) • Unfined and unfiltered

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 2018

Practicing organic • From 3 parcels in Chassagne • Lieu dits: Les Chaumes, Le Concis du Champs, Les Plantes Mornieres • 55+ year old vines • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet ‘Les Mazures’ 2018

Practicing organic • An exceptional lieu-dit, directly below 1er Cru Champs Gains • Southeast exposure • 25+ year old vines • Clay, limestone at 235m • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Champs-Gains’ 2018

Practicing organic • Directly below 1er Caillerets • 45+ year old vines • Limestone with deep clay • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Clos St. Jean’ 2018

Vineyard Clip

Practicing organic • 40-50 year old vines • High altitude – 300m • One of the highest altitude sites in Chassagne • Limestone, like Caillerets, with a little more clay • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Caillerets’ 2018

Vineyard Clip + Top of ‘Les Caillerets’

Practicing organic • One of the top sites in Chassagne-Montrachet • 60+ year old vines • 0.4 ha parcel • Steep, with very thin topsoil and a ton of rocks • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘La Grande Montagne’ 2018

Vineyard Clip + Bedrock Above ‘La Grande Montagne’

Practicing organic • One of the great crus of Chassagne • 35+ year old vines •  The highest altitude site in Chassagne • Tons of limestone, very little clay • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (10% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Grandes Ruchottes’ 2018

Vineyard Clip

Practicing organic • One of the great crus of Chassagne • Planted in 1997 • 0.2 ha parcel • Southeast exposure • Clay, limestone at 300m – limestone dominant • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in older 350L barrels for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘La Romanée’ 2018

Vineyard Clip + Bedrock Above ‘La Romanée + Massal Selection

Practicing organic • One of the great crus of Chassagne • 75+ year old vines • 0.49 ha parcel • One of the highest altitude sites in Chassagne • Tons of limestone • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in 350L barrels (13% new) for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Thierry Pillot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2018

Practicing organic • 60+ year old vines • From the cooler Pernand side of Corton Charlemagne, west facing • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in older 350L barrels for 12 months + 6 months in tank

Thierry Pillot Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2018

Practicing organic • 70+ year old vines • From the Puligny side of Batard-Montrachet • Indigenous yeast • Fermented and aged in older 350L barrels for 12 months + 6 months in tank