If one of the world’s greatest vignerons, Jean-Marc Roulot, trusts him to guide the precious wines of Domaine Roulot, what can we expect from David Croix’s personal domaine? The answer was expressed most succinctly by Clive Coates eight years ago in his book The Wines of Burgundy: “I expect great things here,” he wrote of Domaine de Croix. And indeed, the domaine has delivered.
There can be no question that David Croix is one of the outstanding talents in Burgundy. We’d continue to call him “young”—as he has been tabbed for more than a decade—but the 36-year-old has made exceptional wines for long enough now that he no longer requires an age qualifier. An adult in full possession of his powers, David’s ascent has been steady and observable, starting with his first stint as an (actually) young winemaker in charge of turning around the negociant Camille-Giroud (which he did). His star continued to rise in 2005 when he and an investor group took over the old, burnished Domaine Duchets and its outstanding holdings in Beaune and Corton to create Domaine des Croix. Now, in addition to running Domaine des Croix, David has stepped down from Camille-Giroud to serve as winemaker for Jean-Marc Roulot. Not only an honor and a compliment, this is an unprecedented opportunity for Croix to continue his development alongside a modern master.
Roulot’s wines, however, will always be Roulot’s. With Domaine des Croix, David Croix has nothing less than an opportunity to change the way we view Burgundy, because the holdings Croix bought from Domaine Duchets are mainly centered on the village of Beaune. With its whopping 42 Premier Cru vineyards, Beaune is the largest yet largely forgotten commune of Burgundy. It’s overlooked because an overwhelming amount of its vineyards belong to the big negociant houses of nearby Beaune. How does this limit Beaune as a wine region? Because in the hands of large companies, the wines will never be pushed to reach their greatest potential: the attention to farming and winemaking by negociants will never compare to the work of a talented, small domaine. Once bottled, the wines disappear into large portfolios, becoming lost among the hundreds of labels the negociants produce. There’s simply no one to advocate for these terroirs, to represent them in the marketplace. The result is a never ending cycle of unfulfilled promise: The absence of parental love, the lack of individual attention condemns the wines to be forever what they are, what they ever have been—solid if unspectacular, tasty but lacking charm and personality.
David Croix can change this. He can be the one. With his skill propelling his portfolio of excellent Beaune premier crus, Croix can command new attention to Beaune. He can raise expectations. We only have to be there to listen and pay attention. On Beaune’s vast hillside, David’s vineyards stand out, sumptuously teeming on a spring day with a of thicket of organic life, bursting with wildflowers and herbs and butterflies. Domaine de Croix doesn’t possess official organic certification, but one look at the plots suffices to explain his practices, which respect vineyard life in all forms. His winemaking is straightforward and without flash. David prefers to quiet his own influence that we may hear the vineyards speak. Above all, he prizes balance—extractions are tailored for the sites; the wines develop flesh and body, but not too much or too little. Each wine expresses a solidity, a respect for structure, and a frame for aging.
One of the most compelling qualities about David is his directness. He answers all questions with honest answers, no candy-coating, no embellishment. His wines have similar qualities; they’re honest and direct. Respectful. We must remember that wine is a collaboration between people and nature. These are beautiful things to see: a humble young winemaker who has been diligently practicing his art for years reaching new heights; the joy of an entire wine zone getting the attention it deserves.
To find David’s wines, click here