David Croix

The Story

One of the most compelling qualities about David Croix is his directness. He answers all questions candidly, no candy-coating, no embellishment. His wines have similar qualities; they’re honest and straightforward. Respectful. There’s only beauty coming from the wines made from this estate. And joy—the joy of realizing possibilities.

David Croix, like many other Burgundians his age, is always on the move. In the early years, his wines were by his own description: “Darker and tighter in the past.” He says that now the vines have changed and so have the wines. The fruit now is bright and expressive, and the wines more fun to taste when young. When he and his team bought the vineyards in 2005, he changed the vineyard culture from standard chemical conventional farming to a high-quality sustainable practice; I’ve visited them a number of times and it’s clear he’s taking the high road with respect to nature due to the life and biodiversity of flora and fauna inside his parcels, despite not carrying organic certification. David explained that after the stop of chemical use cold turkey after 2005 the vigor and yield initially dropped and the vines suffered, maybe too much. He says that as a result of this, the wines appeared to lack elements in the energy spectrum and were a bit awkward for a while.

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Lay of the Land

Most wine Francophiles are familiar with Burgundy. It’s divided into a few major areas, starting from Chablis in the north, the Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and finally Beaujolais to the south, just above France’s second largest city, Lyon. The grapes are principally Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on Jurassic limestone bedrock (pretty much all the vineyard bedrock between Chablis to the Mâconnais is from this same general geological period), and Beaujolais’ red grape, Gamay, where the soils are largely derived from granite and metamorphic bedrock from the ancient formations in France’s Massif Central.

Regarding red Burgundy, the two appellations David’s Domaine des Croix is focused on seem to be thought of as second or third fiddle within their classification. Beaune’s 1er crus are often placed in the middle to lower end of the totem—surely from all the Côte de Nuits’ main appellations. And perhaps it’s qualitatively (not only literally) scrunched in the middle of those from the Côte de Beaune, under Volnay, Pommard and even slightly lower on the hierarchy than Savigny-les Beaune, which I attribute mostly to the quality of domaines that achieve in the latter, like Bize, Pavelot and other big names from outside the appellation who have been drawn to it, like Lalou Bize Leroy, Bruno Clair and Mongeard Mugneret.

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David Croix - 2015 Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne

Price: $273.00
Size: 750ml
Availability: 

Out of stock

Type of Wine: Red
Style: Medium Body, Elegant and Aromatic

The Wine

David Croix’s Corton-Charlemagne parcel is located in Le Charlemagne, an interior subdivision lieu-dit of this grand cru and part of the commune, Aloxe-Corton. His vineyard is just below the forest that caps this three-sided hill, and faces west at an altitude of 320 to 330 meters. The bedrock here is pernand marl, a white calcareous marlstone with a high silt content, giving the rock a grittier texture to the touch than other usual marls within the Côte d’Or. The topsoil is composed of material derived from the bedrock as well as clay and limestone scree from the top of the hill. The parcel’s Chardonnay vines were completely replanted in the mid- and late-1980s.

On a number of occasions during visits with growers who own vineyard parcels in Corton-Charlemagne (we work with two others: Bruno Clair and Simon Bize), they explained that the picking time during harvest varies depending on where the vines are located. For example, Les Pougets, on the south-southwest face, is often the first picked. At the other extreme, the northwest facing section of Le Charlemagne inside Pernand-Vergelesses, it can be ten days to two weeks later. David’s section lands somewhere in the middle.

The upper section of Le Charlemagne’s white marls and their higher than average silt content seem to impart “a lot of texture with salinity and tannin to the wines—delicate tannins, sensitive to too much new oak,” David explained. In the most recent vintages he’s moved away from aging in newer wood to allow these finely textured grape tannins to not be covered by stronger and potentially harsher wood tannins from newer oak barrels. He now uses 350-liter barrels with a smaller proportion of new wood, which he views as a good compromise. The 228 and 500-liter French oak barrels found throughout his cellar he sees as less ideal given how “dense” the wine is. He believes his Corton-Charlemagne needs longer-term soft massaging through the right amount of aeration without taking on new oak notes to achieve his ideal wine. The longer aging time in the 350-liter barrels builds on the wine’s freshness, its naturally strong core power and intricate complexity.

Barrel aging in the past for this wine was twelve months followed by six months in stainless steel prior to bottling. Now David has extended the barrel aging to twenty months, followed by only a few months in steel to blend the barrels together in preparation for bottling. It’s easy to subscribe to this idea of a longer, older wood elevage because David is in “pursuit of grace and elegance” with a grand cru vineyard that can easily arrive to excessive primary characteristics in its youth that take a long time to develop while possibly missing some potentially elevated moments along the way. Longer wood aging with less newer wood has proven in more traditional winemaking styles (with both red and white wine throughout the world) to allow secondary and tertiary elements—like savory, earthy and mineral characteristics—to begin to take center stage over the primary fruit and fat earlier in the wine’s life without compromising its durability and complexity.

Despite David’s slightly augmented new approach and instinctive adaptation in the cellar, he believes that the vineyards have begun to behave differently in the recent years. Their conversion to organic culture in 2008 is now really starting to, well, bear fruit… Those secondary and tertiary components mentioned earlier began to take on more of the wine’s expression naturally. Perhaps it was the vines that influenced David’s style, not the other way around? Today, he believes that there is more natural balance in all of his wines. And his Corton-Charlemagne is notably more bright and elegant than ever.

About The Wine

David Croix’s Corton-Charlemagne parcel is located in Le Charlemagne, an interior subdivision lieu-dit of this grand cru and part of the commune, Aloxe-Corton. His vineyard is just below the forest that caps this three-sided hill, and faces west at an altitude of 320 to 330 meters. The bedrock here is pernand marl, a white calcareous marlstone with a high silt content, giving the rock a grittier texture to the touch than other usual marls within the Côte d’Or. The topsoil is composed of material derived from the bedrock as well as clay and limestone scree from the top of the hill. The parcel’s Chardonnay vines were completely replanted in the mid- and late-1980s.

On a number of occasions during visits with growers who own vineyard parcels in Corton-Charlemagne (we work with two others: Bruno Clair and Simon Bize), they explained that the picking time during harvest varies depending on where the vines are located. For example, Les Pougets, on the south-southwest face, is often the first picked. At the other extreme, the northwest facing section of Le Charlemagne inside Pernand-Vergelesses, it can be ten days to two weeks later. David’s section lands somewhere in the middle.

The upper section of Le Charlemagne’s white marls and their higher than average silt content seem to impart “a lot of texture with salinity and tannin to the wines—delicate tannins, sensitive to too much new oak,” David explained. In the most recent vintages he’s moved away from aging in newer wood to allow these finely textured grape tannins to not be covered by stronger and potentially harsher wood tannins from newer oak barrels. He now uses 350-liter barrels with a smaller proportion of new wood, which he views as a good compromise. The 228 and 500-liter French oak barrels found throughout his cellar he sees as less ideal given how “dense” the wine is. He believes his Corton-Charlemagne needs longer-term soft massaging through the right amount of aeration without taking on new oak notes to achieve his ideal wine. The longer aging time in the 350-liter barrels builds on the wine’s freshness, its naturally strong core power and intricate complexity.

Barrel aging in the past for this wine was twelve months followed by six months in stainless steel prior to bottling. Now David has extended the barrel aging to twenty months, followed by only a few months in steel to blend the barrels together in preparation for bottling. It’s easy to subscribe to this idea of a longer, older wood elevage because David is in “pursuit of grace and elegance” with a grand cru vineyard that can easily arrive to excessive primary characteristics in its youth that take a long time to develop while possibly missing some potentially elevated moments along the way. Longer wood aging with less newer wood has proven in more traditional winemaking styles (with both red and white wine throughout the world) to allow secondary and tertiary elements—like savory, earthy and mineral characteristics—to begin to take center stage over the primary fruit and fat earlier in the wine’s life without compromising its durability and complexity.

Despite David’s slightly augmented new approach and instinctive adaptation in the cellar, he believes that the vineyards have begun to behave differently in the recent years. Their conversion to organic culture in 2008 is now really starting to, well, bear fruit… Those secondary and tertiary components mentioned earlier began to take on more of the wine’s expression naturally. Perhaps it was the vines that influenced David’s style, not the other way around? Today, he believes that there is more natural balance in all of his wines. And his Corton-Charlemagne is notably more bright and elegant than ever.