Domaine Louis Carillon is perhaps the finest estate in Puligny-Montrachet, but it has not attained the cult status of its neighbors Leflave and Sauzet. The reason for this lack of attention is puzzling, especially considering that the Carillon family has been making wine in Pulingy since at least 1520. Cult status or not, few estates in Burgundy produce great wines as consistently as Domaine Louis Carillon. The brothers Jacques and Francois currently run the winery, with Jacques in charge of the winemaking and Francois the vineyards. The domaine is named after their father, Louis Carillon, who oversaw the transition from selling in bulk to estate-bottling. Up until the late 1950’s, most the Carillon production was sold to merchants, and a small amount was reserved for private customers. Excluding some village level juice, all of the estate’s production is currently bottled under the domaine label. The Carillons possess only one holding in a grand cru vineyard, but every wine released by the estate is a top example of its terroir.
The majority of Domaine Louis Carillon’s 11 hectares is planted with chardonnay, but there is also a little Bourgogne, Aligote. At the village level, there is an elegant Puligny-Montrachet that comes from 11 different parcels spread throughout the village with an average vine age of 35 years. With the exception of one parcel in Chassagne-Montrachet (Les Macherelles, 0.5 ha.), all of the estate’s premier cru holdings are all located in Puligny-Montrachet. Three of the premier cru parcels sit on the Meursault border. Les Referts (0.25 ha.) and Les Champs Canet (0.75 ha.) produce rich, powerfully textured wines, but the latter site shows a touch more elegance. Sandwiched between the two is Les Combottes (0.5 ha.), from which Carillon bottles a full-bodied and intense wine. Les Perrieres (0.75 ha.) is closer to the heart of Puligny and makes a precise, mineral wine. Located high up the hill looking down on the Carillon’s home village is Les Champs Gains (0.25 ha.), a site renowned for wines that are strongly scented with white flowers. The most sought after wine in the Carillon cellar is the Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet (0.12 ha.), which is perhaps the finest example of this underrated grand cru. The profound Carillon cuvee is very floral, elegant, and intensely flavored. There are also a handful of red wine cuvees produced by the domaine, including a basic Bourgogne, Mercurey, Chassagne-Montrachet, and Saint-Aubin, 1er cru, Les Pitangerets.
While not certified organic, the domaine refrains from using weed killers and only treats the vineyards when absolutely necessary. In the cellar, Jacques employs a very restrained style of winemaking with the aim of producing pure, refined wines. Fermentation of the whites occurs in barrel, 15-20% of which are new, and limited batonnage is performed. After spending one year in barrel, the wines are transferred to steel tanks, where they rest for six months. The reds are mostly destemmed and cold soaked for 3-4 days. After a cuvaison of 15-20 days, the red cuvees spend one year in barrel, followed by six months in steel tanks. The wines bearing the Domaine Louis Carillon label, both white and red, are impeccably made and amongst the finest in Burgundy.