Made from relatively young vines planted on limestone soils in the village of Meloisey.
Lightly nutty. Fresh and nicely balanced with recognisably Burgundian savour. Not for long-term keeping but good value.
Drink 2023 - 2027
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (September 2023)
About this WINE
Domaine Denis Carre
Denis Carré did not inherit any vineyards, but – having harvested grapes as a teenager – he decided he wanted to make wine. He began renting vines, initially some Gamay and Pinot for three barrels of Passetoutgrains, while working in a garage in the evenings to fund his winemaking. He and his wife, Bernadette, slowly but surely added to their holdings, and the estate now totals 14 hectares across the Hautes Côtes and Côte de Beaune. Their children, Martial and Gaëtane, have been involved full-time since 2008, and now run the domaine.
Tucked away in Meloisey, in the Hautes Cotes de Beaune, this small family domaine has so far remained relatively under the radar, but the recent change of generation has seen their reputation grow. This is largely thanks to their careful work in the vineyards, which is geared towards achieving the best quality possible, as well as a sensible approach to winemaking, which focuses on producing accessible wines with fresh, clean, fruit profiles. Gaëtane and Martial are thoughtful, energetic and smart, understanding that wine is made to be drunk and enjoyed, and their focus is on making wines that give pleasure when young, but also have the potential to age gracefully. Everything is focused on preserving purity of fruit; a maximum of 25% new oak is used on the top wines, while the Pinot Noir is all de-stemmed, extraction is gentle and bâtonnage is avoided. Many of their parcels are at relatively high altitude, and the cool location of the Hautes Côtes gives their wines real energy and freshness.
Côte de Beaune
With its three musketeers of Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, alongside the imperial Corton-Charlemagne, the Côte de Beaune is home to the finest Chardonnays in the world. It hosts seven of Burgundy's eight white Grands Crus, along with a single red Grand Cru. Ironically though, much more red wine is made in this southern half of the Côte d'Or than white.
Stretching 30km south past the town of Beaune to Cheilly-lès-Maranges, the Côte de Beaune has a more expansive feel and gentler slopes than the Côte de Nuits. Its finest Chardonnays are characterised by an incomparable intensity and complexity, while its Pinot Noirs generally have softness and finesse as their calling cards. The best reds come from Beaune, Pommard and Volnay, and the powerful Grand Cru of Corton.
As in the Côte de Nuits, the fragmentation of the Côte de Beaune's vineyards brings the single biggest hurdle for any wine lover, namely the unpredictability of its wine. The human factor is paramount, and sadly too many lazy or unscrupulous growers and merchants have produced disappointing wines from some of the region's greatest names, while their more talented and quality-minded neighbours craft exquisite examples from the same terroir. Happily, quality is now higher than it has ever been here and organic and biodynamic methods are increasingly popular – especially amongst the younger generation.
Wines labeled `Beaune' come from the appellation adjoining the town while those labeled Côte de Beaune (red or white) emanate from a group of vineyards on the hill above. Côte de Beaune Villages is a red wine that can be made from a number of lesser, named villages in the region, while Hautes-Côtes de Beaune (mostly red) is produced from vineyards in the hills to the west of the appellation, divided in two by St Romain. These tend to be light yet often fine wines, especially in hot years like 2003 and 2005.
Chardonnay is often seen as the king of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.