2020 Auxey-Duresses, Les Vireux, Domaine Denis Carré, Burgundy
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.
A small village in a side valley off the Côte de Beaune, with a slightly cooler local climate making for a more austere style of Burgundy. Nonetheless this can be an excellent source of relatively inexpensive wine in warmer years, or from top producers. At the moment production is about 75:25 red to white. The reds can age well, while the whites can have a most attractive minerality.
- 138 hectares of village Auxey-Duresses
- 32 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (nine in all), the best being Les Duresses
- Recommended producers: Comte Armand (red), Fichet (white)
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" 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.
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Only the angle of the slope separates this vineyard from its Meursault homophone. From 0.26 hectares planted in 1978 at the top of the slope and facing east, the wine is cool and clear, resonant with the white limestone that dominates. The palate offers citrus notes and a chalky minerality. This is a wine of individuality and interest. Drink 2023-2030.
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