Domaine Jacques Girardin produces superior Burgundy wine from 17 hectares in Santenay. This commune in eastern France lies at the southern end of the Côte de Beaune. The vineyard takes in land from Santenay, Savigny les Beaune, Chassagne Montachet and Pommard.
‘Let nature express itself’
In the Girardin family, the winemaking tradition goes back several generations. After the Second World War the family decided to specialise in making Burgundy wine instead of farming. This means they have a legacy of vines to draw on, such as chardonnay vines which are 25 years old on average.
Valérie and Jacques were the twelfth generation of Giradins to make wine. They have extended Domaine Girardin over the last few decades. Their son Justin studied viticulture and oenology in Bordeaux and Beaune before joining his parents. Since 2012, Justin now manages the domaine with his parents occasionally helping out. Although the thirteenth generation is now in charge, the philosophy remains the same: let nature express itself, while watching over and respecting the land.
The Burgundy tradition of meticulous care when pruning, disbudding or stripping vines is observed at Domaine Girardin.
From vine to wine
The grape harvest is carried out by hand to avoid crushing the grapes or damaging the vines. Grapes go through three levels of selection:
- by the grape pickers
- by a small team who discard unsuitable bunches from the vines
- in the winery, passing over a vibrating selection table
To obtain fine, rounded wines, bunches are de-stemmed and lightly crushed. This allows their juices to run and encourages the natural yeasts present in and on the grapes to start working. Ageing happens in French oak barrels. As Justin believes oak should not be detectable in a wine, old oak is used rather than new.
Although not officially biodynamic, many of the methods the Girardins inherited from their ancestors could be described as such.