Domaine Goisot's place in the wine world is beatifully summed up by Burghound's Allen Meadows: "No one but no one delivers more quality for the price than Goisot. The quality is flat out amazing, particulalry given the modest appellations with which he works". Domaine Goisot is, in truth, a fine Chablis estate, but history has not been particularly kind to the region, as Saint Bris was removed from the Chablis appellation after phylloxera paralyzed the area in the late nineteenth century. Prior to this, Saint Bris was part of Chablis, which seems quite logical, given that it shares the same base of profound Kimmeridgian limestone and the same northerly climate as its neighbor a few kilometers to the east. But now Saint Bris is officially a sub-region of the Côte d’Auxerre, which is only officially entitled to Bourgogne status. However, one of the delightful side reprocussions of the switch in official status is that the Goisots, like all of the other growers in Saint Bris, are allowed to plant other grapes beyond chardonnay, and in fact Saint Bris is quite well-known for its excellent sauvignon blancs made in these same deep, chalky soils.
Guilhem and and father Jean-Hugues Goisot, like all top vignerons in France, recognize that great wine comes from great viticulture, and they work tirelessly in the vines to ensure that their parcels are as well treated as is possible. Their viticulture is certified biodynamic, with great pains taken to produce as natural an environment for the vines, with a particular goal of stimulating the natural defenses of the vines against disease and depredation. Yields are also kept very low by Saint Bris standards, in an effort to produce world class wines that defy the dictates of the late nineteenth century officials who downgraded Saint Bris and cast it from the Chablisienne constellation. The results are a bevy of beautifully made wines that have a very strong following in France and offer absolutely brilliant price-quality rapport. The wines across the board are deep, racy and soil-driven, with as transparent an expression of underlying chalky terroir as any in Chablis proper.
The Goisots make a lineup of lovely bottlings of Bourgogne Blanc from both Aligoté and Chardonnay. The wines are fermented and raised in stainless steel tanks, and bottled carefully to retain as much of their purity and precision as possible. The Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay is one of the best values to be found in the world for soil-driven, complex and full-bodied chardonnay. Further up the Chardonnay lineup are the rich and racy single vineyard wines of Biuaumont and Gueules de Loup. Wines that we refer to as WOW wines for their ability to be at once concentrated and lythe. The Sauvignon Blanc bottlings that are labeled as Sauvignon de Saint Bris share many attributes with top bottlings of Sancerre from terres blanches soils, and are generally cropped at lower yields than all but the very best estates in Sancerre. In top vintages the domaine makes a reserve bottling of their wines, which they call “Corps de Garde”, which are made from the family’s’ finest parcels of old vines in their top vineyards. They are meant to age for a few years and are exemplary expressions of their underlying terroirs and varietal composition.
The Goisots are extremely gifted and dedicated vignerons who turn out superb expressions of their respective terroirs from one of the greatest value-producing appellations in all of France. If you have not yet dipped a toe in the water of Sauvignon de Saint Bris or the lovely Bourgogne Blancs to be had in the Côte d’Auxerre, you could do no better than starting at the top with the wines of Domaine Goisot.