Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is one of the finest and most integral producers in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet. The domaine has its origin in the fine Gagnard-Delagrange holdings of fifty years ago, as the vineyards hail from the marriage of Richard Fontaine to Jacques Gagnard’s oldest daughter, Laurence Gagnard, in 1982. The Gagnard family is very close-knit, with much of the vineyard work shared by various branches of the family. The intiutive and graceful Céline Fontaine manages the the heart and soul of Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard -- the family's Chassagne-Montrachets, which includes a fine clutch of premier crus as well as the grand crus of Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Montrachet itself.
The style of the wines at Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is intense, focused, deep and complex. These are Chassagnes that start out life as classically balanced and accessible, but always with fine expressions of terroir and the underlying structure to age gracefully. The wines are generally aged in about a third new oak for the premier crus and a bit more for the grand crus. Céline's Chassagne Blanc is one of the villages great values, but the real fireworks begin with the premier crus. The range of Fontaine-Gagnard premier crus is quite similar to those of Michel Niellon, beginning with Chassagne “Clos St. Jean”, always the most forward of the premier crus and quite popular on wine lists due to its early appeal. There are holdings as well in Chassagne “Maltroie” and “Vergers”, two wines with a bit more structure than the Clos St. Jean, and able to age fifteen to twenty years in a top vintage. The top two premier crus in the lineup are "Caillerets," whose very chalky soils typically produce the longest-lived premier cru in the domaine’s portfolio, and their dramatic and always superb "La Romanée." The domaine also has a rare holding in the tiny vineyard of Chassagne “Grande Montagne”, which is located in the heart of the band of the best Chassagne premier crus at the top of the slope, including Virondot, Grandes Ruchottes, La Romanée and Caillerets.
Amongst the grand crus, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard has one of the largest pieces of the smallest grand cru in the Côte de Beaune, "Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet." Clive Coates named the Fontaine-Gagnard Criots as “one of the very best sources for this tiny grand cru.” There is often a touch of exotic complexity in Criots, as it offers up lovely spice elements and an almost “salty” nuance to go along with the layers of apple and pear fruit and a fine base of chalky minerality. Céline Fontaine also makes an excellent example of Bâtard-Montrachet -- one of the raciest and most mineral Bâtards -- and a small slice of Le Montrachet itself. The red wines here are not to be overlooked, as there is a sturdy and age-worthy Chassagne-Montrachet rouge, as well as the consistently fine Volnay “Clos des Chênes” and Pommard “Rugiens”. All in all, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard is one of the very best in Chassagne-Montrachet, and a consistently excellent source that we strongly recommend discovering.