Mercurey 'La Plante Chassey' 2017
A Wine That
is the wine version of a wood nymph. The aromas seem to float out of the glass, all whispy and ethereal. This is as pretty and elegant as Pinot gets — and it's helped further along by around 15% of Pinot Beurot, an ancient grey-skinned Burgundian mutation of Pinot Noir (like Pinot Gris). Full of wild forest aromas, this is a wine that embodies the Derain magic touch.
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Where and How?
From the Mercurey appellation of Burgundy, in the Côte Chalonnaise right below the Côte de Beaune, together with "Le Ban" this is the beating heart of the Derain vineyards: his pride and joy. Planted by his grandfather in 1934, this is circa 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Beurot (a grey skinned mutation of Pinot Noir - like Pinot Gris), this is one of just a few vineyards that is still coplanted to this ancient Burgundian variety.
The vineyard has been farmed biodynamically since the 80s. The wine was foot trodden and fermented whole cluster with some berries destemmed to be able to fill the tank. It was fermented naturally in old wooden tanks, with very gentle vinification - only pigeage where necessary. The wine was then aged for a year in old oak barrels and bottled with just a tiny addition of sulphur.
Dominique may have officially retired, but he still spends his days in the vineyards and in the cellar, tasting with Julien Altaber and Carole Schwab; the duo who have taken over the domaine. Honouring Dominique, they continue to make the wines under his name and according to his vinification practices, for this is not simply a retired vigneron.
Dominique has been a friend, teacher and influence for so many aspiring farmers and winemakers who wish to work without chemicals. Here, it has never been about making fancy, dressed-up wines in their tuxedos, dresses and heels. Rather, this is Burgundy in the nude - it is the skin and bones of these old vines that speak through the unadulterated wines.