Denis Clair Cotes de Beaune Villages 2013

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Jancis Robinson – Light cherry red. Hint of cough-linctus sweetness on the nose and lots of sweet cherry fruit on the palate. Deliciously juicy, approachable and fresh but not without a gentle structure. 16 Points.

About This Wine

The fruit for this bottling comes from several parcels, which include plenty of old vines, situated on the chalky slopes above Santenay, Saint-Aubin and in Maranges. Old vines, low yields, destemming and cold soaking are some of the keys to Jean-Baptiste's (Francoise's and Denis son) exuberant style, which offers a lot more stuffing than you might expect of this appellation. The 2013 is a juicy, chewy, spicy Côte de Beaune with a core of red cherry, Pinot fruit, and complexing notes of nettle, iodine, and brown spices. It's racy and persistent on the palate with some serious, steely structure that begs for food. Impressive length, leaving the palate bright and vibrating with lingering ferrous and spice notes. Really benefits from a good decanting too. Raised in old 228-litre Burgundian pièce, there's a little bit of the old school here (the firm structure) combined with the new (purity, freshness, etc.). Perhaps a little of the father and a little of the son. Regardless, it's a Burgundy that punches well above its weight from an admired Santenay grower.

Type Red Wine
Varietal(s) Pinot Noir
Country France
Region Burgundy
Appellation Beaune
Brand Denis Clair
Vintage 2013

Wines from Burgundy

A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide. In the Jurassic time period, the area was part of a vast, tropical sea. Over hundreds of millions of years, the seabed transformed into various layers of limestone, sandstone and clay soils that have entrapped the fossils of ancient sea creatures. These soils are the secret behind the zesty minerality that Burgundy wines are famous for.

Burgundy is probably the most terroir-centric wine region in France. Huge emphasis is placed on the specific vineyard, soil type, elevation, and angle of slope where the wines were made. This is reflected on the wine's labels where appellations are more prominently displayed compared to the producers’ names.

The most prestigious wines of the region come from a long and narrow escarpment called the Côte d'Or split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. Côte de Nuits produces many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir’s, all but one of Burgundy’s red Grand Crus are made in this area. Whilst interestingly, the opposite is true for the Côte de Beaune where all but one of the Chardonnay Grand Crus are made. From this information it may seem you should be buying a Pinot from the North and Chardonnay from the south, that is only true for the pinnacle of Burgundian wines. Both outstanding reds and whites are produced throughout the Côte d'Or.

In Burgundy, they use a wine quality tier system that goes:
Grand Crus 1.4% of total production
Premier (1er) Crus 10.2% of total production
Appellations Villages 37.3% of total production
Appellations Regionales 51.1% of total production

When one refers to “Burgundy wines” they are usually talking about those produced in and around the Côte d'Or. While the Chardonnay’s from Chablis and the Gamay’s from Beaujolais are formally apart of the Burgundy wine region, those subregions are generally referred to by their own names rather than being considered “Burgundy wines”.

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