Domaine Bruno Clair
Savigny-lès-Beaune “La Dominode” ♥
1er Cru Red barrel
Tasted: Jan 15, 2018
Outstanding Top value
Note: from a 1.7 ha parcel of vines planted in 1902
Producer note: Bruno Clair and winemaker Philippe Brun jokingly told me that “we should have known better last year than to have admitted that 2015 was a surprisingly easy growing season to manage. We say this because the wine gods must have heard us and decided that we needed to be taught a lesson because 2016 was about as difficult as 2015 was easy. The late April frost was hugely destructive and particularly so in Marsannay where we got completely killed but the damage was limited to just Marsannay. For example we have owned La Dominode since 1961 and it has never frosted once until 2016! Pernand was also terrible and there will be almost no white produced. In fact the last time that that there were such widespread losses was in 1981. On the plus side, Gevrey wasn’t too bad and Bonnes Mares was largely untouched. As this weren’t enough then the mildew hit and that induced real panic because we already knew that yields were going to be tiny and the prospect of losing even more production obviously was frightening. In the end though the summer weather was warm and there was just enough rain to for the vines to bring the fruit to excellent maturity. We used on average 20% whole clusters in the vinifications though in a few wines there was as much as 40%. Because the fruit was so clean and ripe, the fermentations finished with no trouble. As to the wines, they’re pure and really pretty in the sense that they possess elegant aromas and tannins. They’re well-constituted and 2016 is the kind of vintage that should drink well young but it also has the stuffing necessary to age well.” The Clair wines are often somewhat austere in their youth but in 2016 that character is less evident if not to say nonexistent. I was particularly impressed with the line-up of Gevrey wines and they merit a place in your cellars. Clair again noted that the Bonnes Mares lease agreement with Fougeray de Beauclair (see herein) has ended and thus the domaine will now possess a remarkably 1.6 ha on the Morey side. Lastly, the 2015s reviewed below were bottled in May 2017. (Becky Wasserman & Co., www.beckywasserman.com, Beaune, France; The Source Imports, www.thesourceimports.com, CA, Martin Scott Wines, www.martinscottwines.com, NY, Fine Vines, www.finevines.com, IL, Classified Wine & Spirits, LLC, www.classifiedwine.net, TX, Terroir Imports, www.terroirimports.net, CO, Wines Unlimited, www.winesunlimited.com, LA, Pinnacle Imports, www.pinnacle-imports.com, MO, C’est Vin, LLC, 703.243.3559, VA, Vineyard Road, www.vineyardroad.net, MA, Small Potatoes Wine, www.smallpotatoeswine.com, ID, all USA; Goedhuis & Co., www.goedhuis.com, Direct Wine, www.directwine.co.uk, Gunson Fine Wines, www.gfwl.co.uk, Nickolls and Perks, www.nickollsandperks.co.uk, all UK).
Tasting note: Here too the aromatic profile is quite cool and pure though in this case it’s both riper and more deeply pitched with its blend of red and dark currant, earth and violet scents. The old vines are very much in evidence as there is excellent concentration and an abundance of sap supporting the medium-bodied flavors that culminate in a serious, very firm and built-to-age finish. This slightly rustic effort is fashioned in a no-nonsense style and it’s not likely to be a candidate for early drinking.