Jean-François Germain recalled that it was hot in August 2017 and they started the harvest on the 30th August taking 10 days to pick. There was no rain and the weather was good. They use a 25 strong team of pickers, all French. There was some millerandage on the old vines which reduced yields a little. They also had a little bit of frost on some Aligoté vines. “It has the style of 2014,” he thinks, “but has a little more body.” He says the reds have more black fruit than the 2016s. He receives few, if no journalists during the year and doesn’t send samples for review either relying instead on his distributors to promote his lovely wines.
It’s always a pleasure to spend time with such a calm, modest and affable character as Jean-François Germain and a treat to taste his wines, which are so highly rated by his winegrower peers. This is a small estate of only 8 ha, centred on Meursault but with some vines in Chassagne-Montrachet. These came by way of Jean-François’ mother, one of the extended Pillot family of Chassagne. Jean-François is therefore a cousin of Thierry Pillot, his wife is a Jobard and his brother Eric is winemaker at Vincent Girardin: it’s an interconnected world in the Côte d’Or! Germain wines are reliably charming and complex thanks to a very full flavour profile that can be attributed to the domaine’s cool, damp cellars, a factor that can stretch fermentation times to over a year. Those conditions also create a fascinating mosaic of penicillin and colourful fungi on the wet walls! Germain wines have been great favourites at Tanners since the very early eighties when we started dealing with Henri Germain, Jean- François’ father, always in the same cellars beside a tiny vineyard among the old backstreets of Meursault. Little has changed in the intervening years! Due to the slow development of these wines in the cellars they also age extremely well.