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Sylvain Pataille Marsannay La Combe Rouge 2012

Sylvain is not part of a family with generations of history in Burgundy winemaking, he did not inherit 5-star Grand Cru and Premier Cru sites. He made his own way after completing his oenology studies, beginning in 1989 with only a single hectare of vines and slowly building his 16Ha domaine from there in the Cote de Nuits.

He employs low yields, ploughs his land by horse, and works according to organic and biodynamic principles with plant concoctions and the 501 preparation (crushed powdered quartz buried in cow’s horns). Previously certified organic, he lost certification in 2016 as he was forced to use a disbarred product in order to save his harvest. Consequently he lost his certification. Subsequently Sylvain takes an approach which rejects certification –citing inconsistencies, incoherencies in the rules – but nevertheless maintains a philosophy respectful of vines and terroir though without seeking certification from professional bodies.

Pressing is long and gentle. The wines are matured for 15 to 18 months, with a low proportion of new casks (generally around 30%). No additives apart from a little sulfite at bottling.

La Combe offers an inviting, dense note of black fruits with overt minerality. The palette is perfectly balanced with poised acidity and fine tannin structure. An earthiness and black fruits echo across a longish finish.

A wine ready to drink right away, though some laying down would be rewarded.