When I first met David, he didn’t speak much English. These days it flows gracefully off his tongue as someone born speaking it. Much like his brisk improvement in English, the quality and integrity of his wines and vineyards has advanced at a rapid pace since he took over in 1991, while still attending winemaking school. In 1999 he abandoned conventional farming and by 2006 was completely organic. An overhaul of his vineyard protocol was a dramatic step that allowed an evolution in David’s winemaking style, which has become more sensitive, more precise, in an attempt to articulate a more intimate engagement with his terroir. Over the last five vintages or so, he extracts less, uses less oak and has increased his percentage of whole cluster fermentations. These changes and the beauty of the plots he purchased from Jacky Truchot (now-retired, but in his day a vigneron with terrific collection of very old vineyards and a cult following of Burgundy lovers), David’s wines are turning the heads of both his colleagues in Burgundy and wine lovers around the world.
Lay Of The Land
It would be hard for a wine Francophile to not be familiar with Burgundy and its famous sub-region, Côte de Nuits. The Côte de Nuits is the most northern part of the central area of Burgundy; of course, there are many appellations further to the north such as Chablis and many other smaller ones. This region is known to reach the highest of highs with one of the worlds most exceptional grapes, Pinot Noir. The general soil composition of the area is very complex and can be oversimplified by naming limestone and clay as the dominant features. The climate brings quite a variation in vintages (even more so recently) which can change the quality of a vintage over night, as it has done many times, with a single hailstorm. It is a region of reverence by the world’s wine elite and has nearly priced itself out of the hands of the average consumer. However, when they are good, they are worth every penny.