With 18.5 hectares of vineyard, Olivier Lamy – owner of Domaine Hubert Lamy – is one of the Saint-Aubin appellation’s proudest ambassadors, an area that is woefully underestimated and that offers great alternatives to Chassagne wine. The cuvées made here are sublime in their sound character and elegance thanks to particularly well-mastered maturations. A must-try signature from the Côte de Beaune.
If you haven’t heard of Saint-Aubin, you won’t be the only one. This Côte de Beaune appellation has a penchant for white wines, though it is somewhat discrete compared to its neighbours, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet. A tour of the surrounding area will take you past such famous names as Coche Dury, Arnaud Ente, les Charmes, and Etienne Sauzet. Before reaching the village of Chassagne, we take a right and venture into a land of exciting appellations with treasures ready and waiting to be explored. We find the excellent vintner Olivier Lamy in Saint-Aubin, where Chardonnay is the varietal par excellence and is crafted into the kind of wine that enthusiasts dream of.
Around 160 hectares make up the Saint-Aubin appellation, around 80 of which is planted with Chardonnay. 30 of the climats here are classed as first growths. The soils in the area are rich in clay and chalk, and the slopes can be quite steep, some of them reaching altitudes of 300 to 350 metres. This is quite a dry part of the country that experiences relatively cold winters. Saint-Aubin wines, less renowned and less onerous than those of neighbouring appellations, are beginning to pique serious interest in those who love the richness of a Chardonnay at a more attainable price. This is where the Lamy family has been growing vines since the mid-17th century. Hubert Lamy, Olivier’s father, founded the domain in 1973 on 8 hectares of land. It was in the 1990s that things really began to develop, including the renting and purchasing of first growth vines in Saint-Aubin, Santenay, and Chassagne, as well as new planting. Some of the Pinot noir vines were replaced with Chardonnay grapes, such was the family conscious of the area’s potential for fine, white cuvées.
Olivier joined his father at the domain in 1995, armed with theoretical and practical training in both growing and selling wine. They complement each other in their work, figuring out a balance between tradition and innovation. The domain now covers almost 18 hectares.
In the vineyard, the fruit comes first, and everything is done with this in mind. The Chardonnay vines are pruned using the Guyot method, whereas Cordon Royat is applied for the Pinot noir. The parcels are ploughed using a tractor and the yields are controlled by debudding. This means that only the best bunches grow and develop out of everything the vines could give before harvesting. Work on the vineyard is organic; it has been ten years since these plants had any kind of chemical additive near them. Harvesting takes place in September using small cases.
Once in the winery, the grapes are sorted and each parcel is vinified separately so that its identity can be fully expressed. The Chardonnay grapes are pressed pneumatically before being transferred to 600-litre vats for a long fermentation. Malolactic fermentation also takes place in the same casks. The wine is matured for 12 to 18 months before bottling.
Domaine Hubert Lamy produces wines that are pure and elegant in character. They are lively, opening up the possibility for Saint-Aubin to rival its more prominent neighbours. We recommend trying these while you can, especially as the volumes produced by the domain are limited!