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Domaine Françoise & Denis Clair: Pure and Seductive Chardonnay from Burgundy’s Côtes de Beaune

Domaine Françoise & Denis Clair was created in 1986 when Denis set out to bottle his own wine – The Clair family had owned parcels in the Santenay area for generations but sold most of their production to négociants. Initially stretching over only 12 acres of Pinot Noir, today the domaine has expanded to 37 acres, mainly with the acquisition of Chardonnay plots from the best terroirs in Saint-Aubin, where Françoise was born and where the winery is located.

Denis built the domaine’s reputation through seductive red wines. Their son, Jean-Baptiste Clair, joined the family business in 2000 and quickly elevated the production of white wines to the highest levels of quality. The domaine takes great effort to work as organically as possible. The fruit is hand-picked and the wines are fermented by indigenous yeasts. Sulfite addition is minimal. Like most winemakers at the highest level, the aim is to produce wines that speak of the land they are from.

2014 is a fantastic vintage for white Burgundy and the Clair family have executed their wines as well as any producer in the region.

Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune (2014)
~$21/bottle

From chalk and clay parcels facing south-east in the Maranges hills just south of the commune of Santenay. Vinified in 50% barrel of an average age of four years and 50% in a stainless steel tank. The barrels and the tank are blended after ten months. Crisp, clean, full of fruit, and versatile enough to pair with fancy seafood dishes or friends on the patio. 3,000 bottles annual production.

 

Saint-Aubin “Les Champlots” (Premier Cru 2014)
~$33/bottle

From a chalky, southwest facing Premier Cru parcel located above the village of Gamay. Vinified and aged entirely in oak barrels (20% new). The wine is aged for about 10 months before bottling. The result is a wine that shows the potential richness of fruit and walnut aromatics of Saint-Aubin. Ideal pairing for everything from seafood to pork loin. 1,500 bottles annual production.

 

Saint-Aubin “En Remilly” (Premier Cru, 2014)
~$44/bottle

One of the top Premier Cru sites of Saint-Aubin situated directly behind the Grand Cru hill of Montrachet and below Les Murgers des Dents de Chien, another top vineyard of Saint-Aubin. The plot is very chalky and faces due southwest. Vinified and aged entirely in oak barrels (20% new). The wine is aged for 10-15 months before bottling, depending on the vintage characteristics. This is the height of Saint-Aubin terroir, opulent and complex with the potential of developing in a cellar over the next 5+ years. 1,500 bottles annual production.

 

Puligny-Montrachet “La Garenne” (Premier Cru 2014)
~$71/bottle

60+ year old vines from Puligny-Montrachet’s highest elevated Premier Cru parcel touching the northern edge of Saint-Aubin’s Les Murgers des Dents de Chien. South facing exposure with very chalky soils. Vinified and aged entirely in oak barrels (20% new) for 15 months. This wind-swept parcel produces wines of freshness and elegance, capable of developing in a proper cellar for a decade. 1,200 bottles annual production.

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Posted on 2016.08.12 in Burgundy, France, Saturday Sips

 

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