Domaine Frédéric Esmonin is a small domaine in Les Estournelles, Gevrey-Chambertin. It has approximately 3.6 hectares vineyards. The production of each wine is tiny with the average production of each of the vineyard designated wines varying from around 75 cases to 300 cases. Most of the holdings at this Domaine have old vines. Prior to 1987 the wines were sold to negociants such as Leroy and Jadot. Some of the very great wines of the 50s from Leroy are believed to have come from this Domaine. Those wines can still be remarkable today. Domaine Frédéric Esmonin is in relatively in the shadow of the cousin Sylvie Esmonin and represents a great value in the blossoming world wide demand of burgundy wines.
Of, perhaps, sixty thousand bottles per year, by volume there is just a little more négoce wine today, mainly from ‘smaller labels’ such as Bourgogne; though until 2004 they had some more interesting labels under a metayage agreement with Domaine Thomas-Moillard which brought-in Bonnes-Mares, Chambertin and Clos de Bèze. The contract for Griotte-Chambertin as unfortunately ended in 1996.
Frédéric is in his mid-forties but has limited mobility so is still supported by his father André and mother Michelle – and of-course Michelle’s two basset-hounds – Sylvie Esmonin is a cousin. André had previously sold all the produce of the domaine to a quite decent selection of négoce: Drouhin, Jadot and Leroy. Starting in 1988 they began to commercialise their own bottles. About 1/3rd of the wines go to the US, but UK and Japan are well represented, the wines are little known in France; “we have good quality price relationship, so we always have more demand than wine” says Frédéric.
The wine marking is largely organic, as ‘lutte raissonée’ translating to ‘reasoned struggle’, with no herbicides and regularly ploughing and after a decade, the soil is accepted as ‘bio’. The wines are made with 100% destemmed grapes, cold macerated for 5-6 days before the fermentation begins using only indigenous yeast. Fermatation temperature is relatively high at 34-35 deg Celcius. The Esmonins believe in pigeage and remontage (pumping via gravity, and stirring to encourage the yeasts to activate further. As much as 80% new oak is used especially for the Gran Cru and depending on vintage.
Domaine Frédéric Esmonin Estournelles St-Jacques 1er Cru 2015The Estournelles St Jacques 1er Cru is on higher slope compared with the Lavaux St-Jacques. There’s less soil here on a limestone base. The soil is a mixture of sand and clay. harder, red soil and produces a powerful wine with depth!
Age of vines: 61
Area: 0.42 hectares