Domaine Dujac Fils & Pere Echezeaux Grand Cru 1998
Possibly Jacques' greatest contribution to the Domaine has been to instill his desire to search for new ways to improve the wine and the way wine is made. Though his vinification style looks relatively simple and non interventionist, it is result of much thought and experimentation. The style of wines must be elegance and finesse, with supple and well integrated tannins. The search is for equilibrium, harmony, length and complexity! This is why the grapes are vinifed with little or no destemming, Jacques being convinced that experience has shown that, despite certain inconveniences, such as loss of color, this give the wines greater complexity.
His style is influenced by his great respect for Burgundy's terroir. His complete trust in the terroir means he tries interfere as little as possible in order to allow the fruit to fully express itself and its origins. Burgundy made great wines far before the arrival of oenology and modern equipment. Experience, knowledge and technology are here to help us remedy the imperfections of the year, but if all is well there is no reason to tamper or intervene.
Claiming the two famous Grand Crus, Echezeaux and Grands Echezeaux, the identity of this village, Flagey-Echezeaux, rides predominantly on the glory of those two crus. All of the village or Premier Cru status vineyards in Flagey-Echezeaux market themselves under the name of their neighbor, Vosne-Romanée.
Echezeaux Pinot noir tends be light, bright and full of finesse, whereas those of Grands Echezeaux typically have more heft and complexity.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.