Domaine Pierre Damoy in Burgundy is one of the prize domaines of Gevrey Chambertin and no longer one of the underachievers – some others with hearty helpings of grand cru vineyards still are. This Domaine made some beautiful wines in the 50s and early 60s, after which there followed a significant dip until the current Pierre Damoy took over in the early 1990s. While Pierre sells some grapes from Chambertin Clos de Bèze, since he has such a large holding, and even a few from Chapelle-Chambertin, he purchases grapes from the lower appellations where he is short of supply himself: Bourgogne Rouge, Marsannay Longeroies and Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice. Pierre does not like the idea of ‘bio’, nor of lutte raisonée. He describes his methods in the vineyards as durable viticulture which is neutral for the soil – whereas the organic farmers are too reliant on copper for his taste. His plots are ploughed twice a year and then the natural grasses which grow between times are mown. He likes to pick relatively late so as to make sure the grapes are fully ripe, though there are signs that he may pull back from the recently fashionable ultra-late picking camp. The grapes are selected in the vines and again in the cellar, destemmed using very sensitive equipment, then given a long cool pre-maceration before the fermentation gets under way, during which there is minimal manipulation. There is a relatively high percentage of new wood in the barrel cellar, 30% for the Bourgogne, 50% for Gevrey Chambertin, rising to 70-80% for the crus and 100% for the vieilles vignes cuvée. Most of the barrels come from François Frères with some from Berthomieu and Ermitage. Interestingly, Pierre feels that medium fine grained wood from such forests as Bertranges suits his wines better than the fine-grained Tronçais. Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
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