- Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France
This domaine has existed since the end of the 18th century; however, the wines were sold to negociants until 1988, when Bruno Clavelier, after a distinguished career playing rugby for Dijon in the French first division, decided to estate-bottle all their wine.
Clavelier has an uncluttered, purist’s approach to winemaking: the focus is care of the vineyards. The domaine has a total of 6.5 hectares of vines, mostly 1er Cru and village-designated holdings in Chambolle, Gevrey, and Vosne, and a single 1/3 hectare parcel in Corton. These vines are their pride and joy: all are selection massale, and the majority were planted in the 1930’s and 40’s. Clavelier was one of the early adopters of organic viticulture (certified in 1999) and he has practiced biodynamic viticulture since 2000 (certified since 2005). Because of the advanced age of the vines, yields are naturally low, and the root systems are very developed, giving the vines a lot of contact with minerals in deeper layers of the soil.
In the cellar, as in the vineyard, the idea is to reveal what Mother Nature gives in each vintage. Primary fermentation happens in open-top tronconical wood fermenters; up to 30% of whole clusters are kept during the vinification. Fermentations start naturally, with gentle manual punchdowns if necessary. The first fermentation normally lasts about three weeks, after which the wine is very gently pressed and the juice is racked by gravity to barrels for aging. Malolactic fermentation happens in barrel and generally starts in the spring following harvest, and the wines are aged for 16-18 months in barrel as well. Up to one-third of the oak is new for the 1er Cru and Grand Cru wines. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration, and the bottling happens under a neutral gas so that the amount of SO2 can be as low as possible.
All of the village-level Vosne is bottled by climat, rather than blended into a single Vosne village wine.