Bongran Viré-Clessé "Cuvée E.J.Thévenet"
100% Chardonnay. Bongran is the heart of the Thévenet family's holdings, its original home estate going back to post-WWI years; in later years, Jean Thévenet added two more small properties and created separate domaines and labels for them (Roally and Domaine Émilian Gillet). His son Gautier has staunchly carried on the family viticultural tradition. Each of the three domaines features classic Mâconnais clay-limestone soils and is farmed organically (certified in the case of Bongran and Roally) and worked and harvested meticulously by hand. Each produces a single AOC Viré-Clessé wine, vinified and aged identically in the cold Thévenet cellar, varying only in the terroir particulars and the fermentation and aging lengths. Bongran is arguably the most challenging ground to work: poor, spongy, sticky, rocky, heavy-clay marl soils with old vines of up to 85 years old. The harvest is notably late. It is clearly the finest, most complex and longest-aging of the Thévenet wines.
The bunches are picked at an extremely high level of ripeness. They are destemmed and pressed very slowly and gently. The must is settled and fermented in old epoxy tanks with indigenous yeasts. The cellar is cold and the sugars high, so the fermentation can take up to two years--malolactic fermentation occurs naturally during the alcoholic fermentation--and never finishes without a few grams of residual sugar. The wine is aged further in tank and then bottled with a light, non-sterile filtration and then aged at least two more years in bottle before release. Sulfur usage is minimal. Bongran is unfailingly rich in flavor and texture with firm minerality, beautifully Burgundian in a very old-fashioned way.