There is no respite for the poor old Domimode vineyard, which already produces very little wine, for 2014 is now the third year on the trot that it has been hit extensively by hail, reducing yields ever further. What little wine was made is concentrated, packed full of dark hedgerow fruit flavours, gripping and dense but with a lovely velvety texture, beautiful notes of damson fruit on the finish. A legendary Savigny parcel of extremely old vines many of which were planted back in 1902.
Bruno Clair started his own domaine in 1979 with small holdings in Marsannay, Fixin, Morey and Savigny Dominode. Alongside this sat his family's Clair-Dau estate, one of the great Burgundian domaines, however following the death of his grandfather Joseph Clair family disaggreements sadly lead to its dismantling in 1985. The following year, to add to his own small domaine, Bruno was entrusted with the vineyards of his parents, brothers and sisters which included those of Clos de Bèze, Cazetiers, Clos St-Jacques, Vosne-Romanée, Clos du Fonteny and Chambolle-Musigny.
Bruno Clair’s wings are spread widely over the Côte d’Or covering nine appellations in total. Bruno, first and foremost, is a vigneron and, with the help of winemaker Philippe Brun, produces some of Burgundy’s purest examples, adopting an approach that involves back-breaking vineyard work and minimal intervention winemaking, using a mixture of large old wooden foudres and smaller barriques for the long slow ageing process. New oak, though used, is kept to a minimum - rarely going above 40% even for the Grands Crus. The estate is renowned, in particular, for its excellent value Marsannays, stunning Gevreys and old vines Savigny Cuvées. Though not always a fan of whole bunch, Bruno will, from time to time, use them in certain vintages to aide more gentle extractions. These are high-toned, vivid red Burgundies of great purity.
A town just north west of Beaune, as lès (Old French for near) implies, with its own appellation for red wine and a small amounts of white. The reds are fruity, approachable and at their best can rival those of Beaune itself, but don't usually quite have the intensity or complexity of a good Pommard or Volnay, communes that aremore prominently sited on the limestone escarpment of the Côte de Beaune.
The village is divided by a river. Vineyards on the southern side, including premiers crus Les Peuillets, Les Narbantons, Les Rouvrettes, and Les Marconnets, are on sandy soil and produce wines similar in style to those of Beaune. Those on the other side, towards Pernand-Vergelesses, including Les Lavières and Les Vergelesses, are on stonier soil and produce more sturctured and mineral wines.