2016 Domaine Sylvain Pataille, Bourgogne Rouge, France.
I first discovered Sylvain Pataille’s wines with his awesome set of 2012 wines and in that time, between and now he has become one of Burgundy’s hottest stars and the wines are extremely difficult to get and the prices have soared up, though not outrageous they give you pause, with his basic Bourgogne Rouge being the best value in the lineup. At the time I was left with a sense of awe, with his gorgeous and flavorful Marsannay being a stand out wine and one of my wines of the year, so there was a lot of expectations when I opened this 2016, and it delivered, it is a beautifully balanced and tasting Pinot Noir with classic Marsannay coolness of style, expressive dark fruits and mineral notes. The 2016 Pataille Bourgogne Rouge has more depth and expressive flavors than one is used to expect in such a bottling, it displays an array of red fruits as well as having a core of classic dark cherry, accented by strawberry, cranberry, spiced raspberry along with a hint of blueberry, apple skin, earth, black tea, the mentioned mineral tone and seeped rose petals, added to a silky palate that offers a generous and vinous mouth feel. There is a virgorous and lively energetic sense to this lovely Pinot Noir that keeps your attention without seeming shrill or aggressive allowing just a balanced tartness to remind you there there is structure here and plenty of zippy acidity to go great with food. I was thrilled to find this wine again and I look forward to dig into upcoming vintages and exploring the Pataille Cru and Lieu-Dits expressions, especially his Marsannay Clos du Roy. This dark ruby/garnet Bourgogne comes from vines planted in 1956, set on clay rich soils with classic limestone, which gives this wine it’s soulful personality, in this vintage it saw about 10% or so whole cluster and maybe 15% new oak to allow all of its terroir to shine through.

Sylvain Pataille, who consults for a dozen or so high end domaines in Burgundy and founded his own label in 1999, specializes in natural style winemaking and organic farming with his wines coming almost exclusively from vines in the village of Marsannay. Pataille does a tidy set of quality wines, these include around 12 distinct Marsannay cuvées, including not only red, white and rosé Marsannay (Marsannay is the only appellation in the Côte d’Or permitted to label as an AC Rosé), but also Aligoté, Passetoutgrain (a Gamay and Pinot Noir blend) and Bourgogne Blanc and this Rouge. Everything Pataille does at his own domaine, as noted, comes from Marsannay and are all organic, and I believe now all biodynamic, all of the wines were highly impressive, but especially his base Marsannay AC (Pinot Noir) and the single Cru versions, which I thought were stunning when I first tried them, and that impression still holds true after trying this later vintage Bourgogne Rouge. Pataille makes his wines with almost no sulfur and follows the style of Philippe Pacalet, though different in detail, without question he is making some of the most delicious natural wines in Burgundy. Pataille’s wines all see natural, indigenous yeast fermentation, in a combination of fiberglass tank and in stainless steel, with his maceration (with partial whole cluster) and primary being relatively short, they last usually only 10-12 days and are rigorously temperature controlled to preserve freshness and clarity of flavors. The wines are then racked into oak barriques with surprisingly enough, about a third being new barrels and then aged for up to 24 months, though usually this Bourgogne is more like 10 to 12 months and seeing less of the new wood. It is clear Pataille has it all going in top gear these days and is completing the biodynamic certification, joining the elite producers of the region, if you’ve not had Sylvain’s wines yet, it is time!
($35 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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