We first met Gilles Corsin at his family stronghold in Davaye in the Maconnais district of southern Burgundy in 1989. Gilles was relatively new to winemaking but carried an unmistakable air of determined confidence. We started with a Pouilly Fuisse from the inferno that was the 1983 growing season. The wine was very rich -- perhaps a bit too much so -- still lively, but a touch heavy-handed. We said as much to Gilles. The young winemaker just smiled. Then he pulled out another bottle of 1983 Pouilly Fuisse. Huh? Why was he opening a second bottle? The first was sound, just a bit over-the-top.
The second bottle was completely different: still rich, but much tighter and more restrained, in perfect balance with the heat of the vintage. "Pour quoi," we asked Gilles. The first bottle had been vinified traditionally with full malolactic fermentation. For the second he had stopped the malolactic to preserve acid. Then he laughed. "Il y a une troisieme!" ("There's a third!"). The third had been done with partial malolactic fermentation and ended up somewhere between the first two in terms of acidic backbone.
It became quite clear to us that Gilles was not your run of the mill winemaker -- following a set recipe written generations earlier. He was an innovator with an obsession for perfection, characteristics that have placed him at the head of negociant consulting for Duboef, Jadot and Verget. Gilles's fine tuned palate and obsession for winemaking have led him to create a winemaking process that morphs with each vintage in a pursuit of simple perfection -- a balance between richness and brightness.
So it's no surprise that in the soft 2007 vintage Gilles was able to produce an old-vine Saint Veran -- made from 50-year-old hillside vineyards perfectly situated on the majestic slopes of Davaye -- that is both rich and perfectly cut. Green apples and pear on the nose, but with almost Riesling-like minerality, this 2007 Chardonnay is plenty ripe, but it has the benchmark Corsin signature: the fine, firm finish that is already beginning to show off its bitter honey core. Drink now-2020. No kidding.
Winemaker Giles Corsin
Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Pale golden color, tinged with green. Bright, mineral, zesty nose of green apple and citrus. Rich on the attack with good weight, and almost a Riesling-like crispness. Fine and long on the finish. These old vine wines from Gilles Corsin last a long time. Drink now-2015."