Pataille is a genius. But he is also a farmer, just doing what he knows is right for the land. He works biodynamically, plows by horse, and expresses not only Marsannay, but each of the many vineyards and rare, nearly-gone grapes of the region with precision, and elegance, and depth. When you think of natural wine, all to often the fuzzy, barnyard-y, soif-y stuff comes to mind. These are among the most serious and crystalline wines I've had, and yet they could not be more of nature itself, and someone who truly understands it. This is a special collection of three of Sylvain Pataille's rarest and most beautiful wines, wines that prove place and speak volumes with no words at all.
Marsannay Rosé Fleur de Pinot, 2015: A rosé made of mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Pinot Beurot, from vines planted in the 1930s; this is as stunning as rosé gets. It's not bubblegum pink or filled with grapefruit and cartwheels; it's serious f'ing wine that runs deep and lasts forever, waxy, rosy, and infinite in its seduction and length. It is a masterpiece, a Van Gough to the herd of paint-by-numbers, a wine that can age but will no doubt disappear before its time, because it is all too enchanting not to open.
Marsannay Blanc Chardonnay Rose, 2015: This white wine might be one of the rarest things you ever drink. The grape is a pink-hued mutation of Chardonnay, specific to the Marsannay area. Sylvain noticed charming pops of pink growing amongst his Chardonnay, and another brilliant producer and friend of his (Bruno Clair) confirmed it was indeed the rare Chardonnay Rose. Sylvain began bottling it on its own, and he makes only two barrels of this incredibly complex, salty, dynamic white.
Marsannay Aligoté Doré 'Auvonnes Au Pépé,' 2014: Different than the modern Aligoté Vert, Aligoté Doré is the pre-clonal version; it is very, very rare. It's not propagated anywhere, so the vines that do exist are very old, and for that reason, intensely expressive. Sylvain's vines, which belonged to his grandfather (Pépé, of course) produce a wine of such golden depth and complexity, such tension between broad, expansive reach and laser-like minerality, between delicate and powerful, that you'd have to taste it to believe it. And he only makes 25 cases. I am about to call this my favorite of the three, and then I think back to Fleur de Pinot, and can't say. I just know these are wines that baffle and confound me, delight and pacify me in the most honest and true ways a wine can do such things to a person.
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