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Domain Claude Dugat is a tiny domaine in Burgundy with cult status, and the quality to match. Claude Dugat has the good fortune to work in the Cellier des Dimes, purchased by his father Maurice in 1955. This, previously known as the Grange des Dimes, was where the locals would bring their tithe of grapes or cereal, depending on their holdings, for the benefit of the church. The building was constructed in 1219 though the stone pillars inside are thought to date back to Gallo-Roman times. The Dugats – Claude, assisted by his wife, son and two daughters – have three hectares of their own and a further three rented. The younger generation also run a very small negociant business alongside, La Gibryotte, just covering the wines of their commune – Bourgogne Rouge, Gevrey Chambertin, Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru (unspecified) and Charmes-Chambertin. The key to quality here is the raw material, from vines which naturally produce small berries through control of vigour. “I want just as many bunches as my neighbour, but berries half the size”. Claude Dugat is not one of the late picking faction in Gevrey because his grapes are properly ripe in good time. The grapes are entirely destalked and fermentation is allowed to start straight away, but there is virtually no pumping over so as to restrict the ingress of oxygen and to avoid too tumultuous fermentation. Instead the grapes are punched down twice a day. Total vatting time is about two weeks after which the juice is left to settle for two days before going to barrel. The Bourgogne is entirely in one year old wood, the village Gevrey a mix of 60% new and 40% one year old, and the various crus are entirely in new wood. All the barrels are provided by Francois Frères. Claude Dugat has evidently worked out what he wants to achieve and how he is going to get there. These are unusually rich, concentrated wines, without any feel of over extraction. Though there is a sumptuous outer layer which makes the wines attractive in youth, they are clearly built to age. Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
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Bottle 3 x 75cl