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Discover Burgundy. Domaine Louis Lequin - 400 years in Santenay

Not a celebrity appellation hidden amongst the famous Grand Cru sharks of Burgundy? Very good, sounds like an appellation to discover! Learn about Santenay AOC in my previous post. Below all about my visit to Domaine Louis Lequin - a family run winery in Santenay that has been farming here for more then 400 years.

Pinot Noir vineyards in Santenay in summer during a winery visit and wine study trip
A church, a chateau and vineyards - your classical Burgundy

Domaine Louis Lequin - in Santenay since 1604

Visiting Domaine Louis Lequin in Santenay during a wine trip to Burgundy and meeting Antonin Lequin
Antoine Lequin - the next generation of the Lequin family

Isn't it very inspiring to meet a descendant of a family that has been farmers in Santenay since at least 1604? And that every next generation was true to this calling? Antoine Lequin is the current 'trustee' of the Louis Lequin winery and the history of more than 400 years. He will pass it on to his children and I hope their sequence will never cut short. Specifically, Philibert Lequin in 1669 bought a vineyard that indebted him, his son and grandson for 120 years. The family home that is also the winery, and is still up and running today was built in 1852 by Louis I. Lequin. In winter when the volume of works in the winery is low, he worked at siliceous sand mines to afford buying more vineyards.

In Burgundy the one who plants the vines is never the one who roots them up.

Vineyards in Santenay with Pinot Noir vines

They first started selling bottled wine in 1920. Next two generations developed the export market and bought vineyards in other appellations, including Pommard and Nuits Saint Georges. Antoine told me the following words:

I'm lucky to have a lot of experience from my ancestors, it's good to be innovative but it's also good to understand the past, to change is not always the best thing.

...and now going through their family history I understand what he meant. Every generation was doing huge sacrifices to develop this estate, knowing that most probably they will never reap the fruits of those sacrifices. In Burgundy the one who plants the vines is never the one who roots them up.

Burgundy is like magic ...

So 40 000 bottles (in a good year) and 7 ha of vineyards spread around 5 appellations. Focus here is on 'Équilibre' - balance of tannins, acidity, body and oak. And, of course, ageing potential. Antoine might decide to sell his Santenay Vieilles Vignes of 2015 and 2016 now, but keeping 2014 a year or two more, because it still needs to 'open' for the consumers to appreciate the bouquet. And then we talked a bit about magic: "People like Bordeaux wine and it takes time to learn appreciating Burgundy. But when they learn Burgundy, they don't drink much Bordeaux anymore. The goal in Bordeaux is to make the same wine every year by blending different varieties. But in Burgundy ever