François Raquillet, the 11th generation of grape growers in Mercurey, has 10 hectares of superbly sited, mostly old, vines. He believes in low yields, mature (rather than super-ripe) fruit and a severe selection at the sorting table. The depth, richness and concentration which characterise his wines are a result of this, rather than any over extraction.
The Bourgogne Rouge is from 3 parcels of 60 year old vines aged in old (1-3 year) wood – delicious, juicy and seductive.
This small, 4 hectare, domaine has, since 2003, been run by the ambitious and young Alexandrine Roy, the fourth generation to assume the reins at the family domaine “Marc Roy”.
Her attentive approach to the vineyard work includes aeration of the vines through a careful thinning of leaf cover as the growing season progresses, and reduction of yields through green harvesting. Consequently, she produces fruit which is uniformly ripe from vineyards which are clean and vines which are incredibly healthy. Only the best grapes make it to the winery, any suspect fruit gets left on the vineyard floor.
All the fruit here is 100% destemmed, with daily pigeage (punching down the cap) during the relatively brief fermentation in stainless steel, and a delicate application of new oak during the also brief elevage of only 12 months. The results speak for themselves – soft, silky, supple and always very pure with the emphasis on elegance and balance rather than power.
Alexandrine’s Bourgogne Rouge is from 50-60 year old vines from the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin. A wonderfully approachable red Burgundy with the emphasis on fruit and finesse. Red fruits (cherry and raspberry) are to the fore supported by gentle tannins and fine, balancing acidity.
Bernard Bouvier has 17 hectares under vine in and around Gevrey and Marsannay.
He has recently moved to new state of the art cellars just north of Gevrey and the quality of his wines has improved even further.
Yields are extremely low and never exceed 30 hl/ha and no chemical sprays are used in the vineyards and everything is hand picked. Fermentation of the reds involves a long, cold maceration and a gentle extraction – what Bernard calls an infusion. About one third new barrels are used. They are bottled without fining or filtration and are fine, pure, concentrated and subtle.
He is currently undergoing organic conversion.
The site of the vineyard “La Justice” is, in theory, on the wrong (east) side of the RN74. However, the soil of small stoney scree, gives a wine of pure, elegant, fine minerality from 45-50 year old vines.
Deep ruby red in appearance with hints of purple – clear, bright and strong. The elegant nose is of ripe black fruit with floral hints of violet, and a delicate touch of spice. The palate is ripe, supple and full with lively fruit and gentle tannins. The finish is long and persistent with excellent balancing acidity – very elegant.
This fine Morey-St-Denis domaine was created by Joseph Arlaud just after WWII and today extends to some 15 ha. Whilst his son Hervé is still involved he leaves most of the work these days to his children Cyprien and Bertille. The Arlaud family have farmed organically for several years and today they also follow a biodynamic regime in the vineyards and winery.
They always harvest manually and since 2004, under the guidance of Bertille, have used horses to plough the vineyards. Soil compaction can be a real problem and heavy machinery only adds to the problem whereas the horses have a lighter touch. Currently there are two horses working the Domaine, “Nougat” and “Okapi”.
Once harvested, the grapes are carefully sorted and de-stemmed but not crushed. Fermention is carried out using indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled cement tanks. The wines are aged in French oak barrels (15% of which is new wood) for 14 to 16 months before being bottled, unfined and unfiltered, according to the lunar cycle.
Arlaud’s Gevrey-Chambertin is from a 1 hectare vineyard and has a deep ruby / purple colour with a nose full of plum and black fruit aromas with hints of earth and leather. The palate is full and rounded with notes of strawberries and raspberries supported by fine tannins, lovely freshness and elegant acidity.
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