2018 Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Marsannay “Clos du Roy” Red Burgundy, France.
One of my favorite Burgundy producers for immediate pleasure and value, the Domaine Sylvain Pataille offers a stunning lineup of Marsannay bottlings, including the gorgeous Clos du Roy, with this dark ruby colored 2018 version showing beautiful aromatics, silky layers and pure Pinot fruit in an impeccably balanced and expressive wine. Sylvain Pataille, who is a top consultant in the region, makes his wines in a very non intervention way with no additions and is very committed to organic and biodynamic farming in all of his vineyard sites, which are most all within the boundaries of the Marsannay zone in the northern part of the Cote de Nuits. There is so much to admire here in this Clos du Roy with a distinct mineral charm, spice and floral intensity, it shows smooth flowing layers of red berries, black cherry, plum and strawberry/pomegranate fruits along with a delicate earthiness, subtle sandalwood/cedar, snappy herbs and orange tea. The texture and expressive medium bodied palate give this wine its graceful refinement, while it still has an easy transparency, energy and wonderful length, this is a wine that gives you what you want in an affordable Burgundy, it is opulent, complex and drinks exceptionally well in its youth. Sylvain Pataille, the wild haired vigneron that looks like middle school chemistry teacher, does mainly Pinot Noir, but also crafts a selection of Aligote based whites and a classic Marsannay Rosé, called Fleur de Pinot, as well as a set of Chardonnays and a extremely rare Pinot Beurrot, which we know as Pinot Gris.

For the 2018 Marsannay Clos du Roy, Sylvain Pataille employed a100% whole-cluster and indigenous yeast fermentation with a very gentle and cool maceration period to extract color and flavor, but to also allow for an easy elegance to shine through, which is clearly in evidence in this wine already. After the juice finishes primary fermentation the wine is softy racked to the mostly used wood with the wine then being aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, after which Pataille did the final blend and let the wine settle in stainless steel tank for 5-6 months, with only a minimal sulfur dose at bottling for stability. This premier lieu-dit is set on clay and marl with a, as the winery notes, unique calcium rich gravelly (grèzes litée), slightly reddish and iron-rich top soil with some vines that date back to 1950s. Interestingly, according to the Syndicat d’Appellation Marsannay, the Clos du Roy (Roi and Roy means King) in the little town of Chenôve was originally called “Le Clos des Ducs”, as it was a possession of the Dukes of Burgundy. The vineyard was renamed Clos du Roy in 1477, after the defeat at Nancy of the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, and the subsequent annexation to the Kingdom of France of his lands. The Clos du Roy is a special site and American geologist Brenna Quigley, who recently was honored in the press for being one of the country’s best 40 under 40 wine industry personalities, was instrumental in understanding the soils here, and has impressively bedrock (soil) mapped the region. The wines of Pataille are incredibly terroir driven and natural expressions of place, especially this exceptional Marsannay Clos du Roy, a wine that always way over delivers for the price and one I highly recommend.
($60 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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