Green but Delicious Morey-Saint-Denis

Today’s Story: Domaine Dujac

Domaine Dujac is a highly regarded wine estate established in 1968 by Jacques Seysses in the Morey-Saint-Denis appellation of Burgundy. Though Jacques loved wine at an early age thanks to his father, he worked until the age of 25 at his family’s biscuit manufacturing company before moving into wine full-time. In 1966 and 1967, Jacques worked the harvest with Gérard Potel at the Domaine de la Pousse d’Or to learn his winemaking craft, ultimately purchasing the 5 hectare (12 acre) Domaine Graillet in 1968 and renaming it to Domaine Dujac.

Over time, Dujac expanded from 5 hectares to 15.5 hectares (38 acres) and their holdings include some of the greatest vineyard sites throughout Burgundy. The Grand Cru sites of Clos de la Roche and Clos St. Denis came early in the portfolio, with later additions of Charmes-Chambertin and Mazoyères-Chambertin still somewhat early in Dujac’s history. Today Dujac produces seven Grand Cru wines, five 1er Cru wines, and two village wines under the domaine label. They also produce five white wines, three of which are 1er Cru. Beginning in 2001, Dujac started experimenting with organic viticulture and expanded the practices to all holdings in 2008. They also started experimenting with biodynamic practices in 2003 and utilize that philosophy on all holdings today as well.

Jacques, during the domaine’s early decades, was a staunch proponent of whole cluster fermentation thanks to the character stems bring to the wine. Though today they destem some of the fruit, this is still a major philosophical backbone and the fruit sees minimal destemming. Winemaking is rather traditional in practice, with the team using only native yeasts for fermentation with light punchdowns early in the process and pump overs toward the end. Oak usage has changed over time, with Jacques establishing the domaine with religious use of 100% new oak. Nowadays, however, new oak percentages vary by quality level and the team has discretion given vintage conditions. The wines are all bottled unfiltered and rarely fined.

Domaine Dujac today is operated by its second generation, though Jacques is still very much involved. Jacques’ son Jeremy started working at Dujac in 1998, followed by his wife Diana in 2001 and brother Alec in 2003. Jeremy was the leading force behind some of the whole cluster and oak aging changes to winemaking, though the wines of Domaine Dujac remain incredible representations of Pinot Noir and the terroir they come from.

Today’s Wine: 2011 1er Cru Morey Saint-Denis

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 2011 1er Cru Morey Saint-Denis is medium ruby in color and quite youthful in appearance. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the wine opens with aromas of medium (+) intensity and a nose of cherry, cranberry, stemmy strawberry, rose, forest floor, truffle, underbrush, olive, eucalyptus, menthol, mint, and crushed stone. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity and the palate showcases notes of bing cherry, black raspberry, strawberry, dried plum, violet, olive, forest floor, eucalyptus, green pepper, and mineral. This dry red is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, light tannin, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Very good quality and certainly showing the green notes of the vintage and stem inclusion.

Price: $150. I think this is a pretty solid price-point and offers decent value in the realm of red Burgundy. While the 2011 vintage can be overbearingly green in some wines, I think this handles it well and comes across rather memorable. It’s intense, complex, and should be long-lived. If you try to steer clear of greener wines, though, this might not be your thing.

Rarity From Nuits Saint Georges

Today’s Story: Domaine de l’Arlot

Domaine de l’Arlot is a historic and well-regarded wine estate located in Nuits St. Georges within the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy, France. Though its roots trace back to the 18th century and owner Jean-Charles Vienot, its more recent history begins in 1891 when the domain was purchased and expanded by wine merchant Jules Belin. Domaine de l’Arlot remained in the Belin family until early 1987, and then was purchased by the French investment company of AXA Millésimes. Around the same time, Jean-Pierre de Smet came on board after spending eight years with Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and he is largely credited with the winemaking philosophy at the domain of minimal intervention. Though Jean-Pierre retired in 2007, this philosophy remained largely intact and today de l’Arlot is run by technical director and Burgundy native Géraldine Godot.

Domaine de l’Arlot today consists of 14 hectares (35 acres) of vineyards planted 95% to Pinot Noir and only 5% to Chardonnay. Average vine age is about 50 years, however the property does maintain some vines aged 70+ years. de l’Arlot farms their vineyards adhering to biodynamic viticulture, a transition that started in 2003 following several years of organic viticulture. A couple of the most prized plots are monopoles of the domain, the 1er Cru vineyards of Clos des Forêts Saint Georges and Clos de l’Arlot.

In terms of winemaking style, Géraldine practices a minimal intervention and “less is more” mentality. Fruit is hand-harvested and every motion within the winery and cellar is accomplished by the use of gravity. The wines ferment spontaneously with only native yeasts, seeing minimal pumpovers and punchdowns by foot. For aging, Géraldine uses less new oak than what was previously used over the domain’s history, which in turn provides a more transparent and true-to-variety and terroir expression. New oak percentages and length of aging vary by vintage and bottling, however the end goal never wavers of producing terroir-driven wines.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos de l’Arlot

100% Chardonnay; 13.5% ABV

The 2015 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos de l’Arlot is pale golden straw in color. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the wine opens with aromas of medium (+) intensity and the nose showcases notes of lemon, green apple, white florals, flint, wet river stone, mild green herbs, and chalky mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of green apple, lemon pith, white peach, floral blossom, dried green herbs, and wet stone. This dry white is medium- to full-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very good right now, but I would love to see if this adds complexities perhaps with a few more years of bottle age.

Price: $120. I think there are better values out there, however I think the pricing here is partly due to the great reputation of the producer as well as how rare white wines are from Nuits Saint Georges. As one of their rarest and top bottlings, I can see why this is priced the way it is.

Precise and Linear 1er Cru Chablis

Today’s Story: Louis Jadot

Louis Jadot is a very large and prominent wine producer in the Burgundy wine region of France, established in Beaune in 1859 by Louis Henri Denis Jadot. Though the house owns fairly extensive acreage of their own vineyards, they also purchase high quality fruit throughout Burgundy and offer an incredibly extensive portfolio of wines ranging from Bourgogne and Beaujolais through to some of the great 1er Cru and Grand Cru wines across the Côte d’Or and up to Chablis. Though production is high with both the domaine holdings and négociant business, Louis Jadot is an important example that quality does not have to suffer. The winemaking team blends tradition with technology in the cellar, producing wines with as little intervention as possible given their scale and using restrained amounts of new oak depending on vintage conditions.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume

100% Chardonnay; 13% ABV

The 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume is pale gold in color. Given some time to open up in the glass, this wine blossoms into beautifully expressive aromas with pronounced intensity. The nose showcases aromas of crisp underripe pear, lemon, white peach, white florals, flint, gunsmoke, and wet river stone. Meanwhile the palate is also of pronounced intensity, displaying notes of tart green apple, lemon zest, white peach, honeysuckle, flint, a hint of smoke, dill, and saline mineral. This dry white is medium-bodied with racy high acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $50. I think this is very, very good value. The intensity and precision in this wine are very impressive, while the flavor profile and complexity at a young age promote promise for the future with the coupled high acidity. Many people say Fourchaume is as close as you can get to a Grand Cru without being one, and it shows.

One of the Most Important Names in Burgundy

Today’s Story: Domaine Faiveley

Domaine Faiveley was founded in 1825 as Maison Joseph Faiveley by Pierre Faiveley, a cobbler by trade who was also passionate about wine. Pierre worked his cobbler and wine merchant businesses side-by-side until the end of the 1840s when he decided to put all of his energy into the wine trade. In 1860, Joseph Faiveley began his wine merchant business with vine parcels he inherited from his uncle and his entrepreneurial spirit led him to export wines to Northern Europe to expand his brand. A plasterer, painter, and glazier by trade, Joseph exported his wines most notably to Belgium and the Netherlands and often exchanged his wines for textiles. In 1873, Joseph expanded his holdings by acquiring Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Porêts-Saint-Georges, Les Lavières, and the monopole of Corton Clos des Cortons Grand Cru.

François Faiveley, a doctor by trade, moved to Nuits-Saint-Georges in 1889 and spent the remainder of his life fighting to save the domaine’s vines from phylloxera, the worst crisis in Burgundy’s history at the end of the 19th century. In 1893 the domaine acquired vines in the Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Saint-Georges climat and in 1911 the famed Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru parcel.

In 1919, Georges Faiveley took over the domaine and shortly thereafter faced the economic crisis of the early 1930s that nearly destroyed his holdings. During the crisis, the domaine’s cellars were filled with inventory (even Grand Cru wines whose barrels were worth more than the wines inside them) and Georges decided to start the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a rebirth of an ancient wine brotherhood from the Middle Ages. With nobody buying the wines, Georges invited this brotherhood to the domaine and they drank wines together and helped provide rebirth to the popularity of Burgundy wines.

As the economic crisis subsided and Burgundian wines grew in popularity, the domaine acquired more vineyards and remained a family endeavor. In 1947, Guy Faiveley followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the domaine. He also became the Grand Master of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in 1969 and worked tirelessly to share his wines with the brotherhood and the world. In 1976, François Faiveley joined his family domaine at the age of 25 and continued acquiring vineyards. François produced wines known for their rich and concentrated character as well as long aging ability.

Today, Domaine Faiveley is under the guiding hands of its seventh generation in Erwan and Eve Faiveley. Erwan was always passionate for Burgundy wines and his family’s estate, so he took over from his father in 2005 and quickly set about investing in new facilities to modernize the winery and improve on the already exceptional quality in the wines. In 2014, his sister Eve joined the domaine after working in the cosmetics industry. She is the first daughter in seven generations of the family.

For more including their portfolio of wines, farming and winemaking methods, as well as pictures of the domaine, check out there website here. There are a lot of cool rabbit holes to go down!

Today’s Wine: 1996 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Chaignots

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

The 1996 Aux Chaignots is medium garnet in color and moderately transparent. I simply let this breathe for a bit in the glass and there was some funk that needed to blow off, though I decided not to decant the wine in case it became oxidized too quickly. On the nose, I get aromas of dried raspberry and strawberry, cherry, rose, tobacco, forest floor, truffle, wet gravel, thyme, underbrush, and a touch of oak. Once in the mouth, this wine showcases notes of cherry, cranberry, black raspberry, sous bois, dried green herbs, earthy mushroom, slate, and peppery spice. This nicely aged Burgundy is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) dusty tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $130. Not a bad price for aged red Burgundy from one of the best producers in Nuits-Saint-Georges. This wine has the structure to go a little further, though I would drink up now. Pair this with roasted chicken, roasted pork, feathered game, or mild cheeses.