A long-standing partnership with Domaine Jean Collet is at the origin of this unique cuvée, produced for Kermit from the blending of three Vaillons lieux-dits—Châtains, Sur les Vaillons, and Les Epinottes—and bottled under this fabulous historical label bearing fourth-generation Romain’s great-grandfather’s name, Henri Costal. Romain says Les Vaillons is “rich, fleshy, and overflowing with stone fruit aromas.”
Domaine Costal is a unique collaboration between the well-known Chablis producer Domaine Jean Collet and Kermit Lynch. The project began with a simple barrel tasting with Kermit and led to the first of now two cuvées, a custom label, and custom vinification and bottling process exclusively for the American market.
The vines are worked organically and Kermit and the Collet family together agree on a blend of stainless steel, foudre, and barrel vinifications. The skill of the Collets and their excellent terroirs combine to give us wines of extraordinary purity and finesse. There is no mistaking it—one taste and you are in Chablis territory: zesty minerality, wet stone, freshness and nervosity.
In eastern central France, Burgundy is nestled between the wine regions of Champagne to the north, the Jura to the east, the Loire to the west, and the Rhône to the south. This is the terroir par excellence for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The southeast-facing hillside between Dijon in the north and Maranges in the south is known as the Côte d’Or or “golden slope.” The Côte d’Or comprises two main sections, both composed of limestone and clay soils: the Côte de Nuits in the northern sector, and the Côte de Beaune in the south. Both areas produce magnificent whites and reds, although the Côte de Beaune produces more white wine and the Côte de Nuits more red.
Chablis is Burgundy’s northern outpost, known for its flinty and age-worthy Chardonnays planted in Kimmeridgian limestone on an ancient seabed. Vézelay is a smaller area south of Chablis with similar qualities, although the limestone there is not Kimmeridgian.
To the south of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise extends from Chagny on its northern end, down past Chalon-sur-Saône and encompasses the appellations of Bouzeron in the north, followed by Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny.
Directly south of the Chalonnaise begins the Côte Mâconnais, which extends south past Mâcon to the hamlets of Fuissé, Vinzelles, Chaintré, and Saint-Véran. The Mâconnais is prime Chardonnay country and contains an incredible diversity of soils.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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