Côte de Nuits

Domaine ALAIN JEANNIARD

Morey-St-Denis

Alain’s cave is as Burgundian as Boeuf Bourguignon, cramped, the ceiling low and arched, walls stacked with bottles, a spittoon balanced between the barrels. From this most traditional of settings he produces wines which are perhaps unconventional but, at their best, utterly delicious.

Background

Alain left his job in industry to take over his family’s tiny domaine in Morey in the late 1990s. He quickly made a name for himself, from 2000-2006 he looked after the viticulture for the Hospices de Beaune’s parcels of Mazi and Clos de la Roche. He built his domaine to 4 hectares, buying or renting parcels in Chambolle, Gevrey, Fixin and Pommard amongst others and now produces just short of 20,000 bottles a year. Alain thinks deeply about both viticulture and vinification. He experiments restlessly, he has no simple answers and is a joy to question over a glass of wine. Alain prunes his vines to the Cordon Royat rather than the traditional Guyot, he believes it gives low yields and ripe, thick skinned berries. He has been using whole bunch fermentation longer than many, but again, he has his own ideas. Foolish, he says, to try and get the stalks ripe. The wines don’t need the stalk tannin; his grapes have thick and ripe skins, plenty of structure, the stalks are there to keep the cap loose and do away with the need for violent punching down during fermentation, a gentle foot tread is all that is needed. In this way Alain extracts as gently as he can. He farms without herbicides, ferments with natural yeasts and filters his wines as little as possible.

Current Vintages

White WinesVintage
Bit of a cult wine here, always seems to have tremendous mineral lift alongside popcorn and hazelnut flavours. These Nuits Blancs can be lovely and show a different side of white Burgundy.
2016
This caught my eye in Alan’s cellar, and I had to ask to taste it. ‘An experiment’ Alan said, half apologetically. An ‘orange’ wine is essentially a white made like a red, with long skin contact before, during and sometimes after fermentation. Just like a red this long maceration, four weeks in this case, brings tannins from the skins and pips into the wine, as well as a certain amount of colour; white grapes being rarely white. Alain’s wine isn’t oxidative, it is fresh and lively, gently structured, he foot treads the grapes to ensure a very gentle extraction. 100% Chardonnay of course. The nose reminded me of orange peel and ripe peach, the palate has super texture, a bit of burgundy mineral grip and a pleasing, grown up bitterness on the finish, like fruit stones. You must buy a bottle or two to try for the experience. Then come back for a case, it is delicious!
2016
Red WinesVintage
Fixin En Combe Roi2012
Morey St Denis, Vieilles Vignes2009
Gevrey Chambertin2016
Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Combottes2012
MagnumsVintage
Gevrey-Chambertin Magnums2016
Fabulous wine, very low stocks!
2016
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