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.