Bruno Clair

When all is said and done, Bruno Clair’s wines have been among the most impressive for some time and are deserving of a much wider audience. I highly encourage readers to check them out. ANTONIO GALLONI

When Bruno was ready to begin life as a vigneron there were family problems at the domaine, so he began by creating some vineyards of his own, replanting in Marsannay and reclaiming some friche at the top of the slope in Morey-St-Denis. However in the mid-1980s the domaine – less vineyards sold off by one family member to Louis Jadot – was reconstituted with Bruno in charge. He soon recruited a former colleague, Philippe Brun, to work with him in the cellar and the pair have now developed the domaine to its current size of 24 hectares and 24 different wines, made possible when certain contracts with Maison Louis Jadot (Vosne-Romanée, Gevrey-Chambertin-Clos St-Jacques and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze) and Fourgeray de Beauclair (Bonnes Mares) came to an end in 2006. Chambertin-Clos de Bèze) and Fourgeray de Beauclair (Bonnes Mares) came to an end in 2006.

The grapes are rigorously sorted in the vineyard, then usually destemmed, though some stalks were retained in 2005. The wines are powerful but do not seem over-extracted, even though Philippe Brun is strong proponent of punching down, albeit happy to modify his techniques according to the vintage- so just one pigeage per day in 2007 instead of the usual five or six. While there is a hefty proportion of new oak, a good proportion of the village wines are matured at least for part of their élevage in wooden foudres, to reduce the overt effect of the barrel. JASPER MORRIS