Profile: Domaine des Croix (Beaune)

Update 11.3.2010(20.3.2007)billn

david croix in bourgogne aujourd'huiDomaine des Croix is work in progress.

While flipping through the January issue of the magazine ‘Bourgogne Aujourd’hui’ the smiling face of the domaine’s regisseur, David Croix, greeted me. Apparently, he was the magazine’s great hope of the year in their annual awards (left). The self-effacing David told me it was probably a mistake caused by him giving the judging panel too much wine while tasting!

Back in 2004 David, (still also) of Maison Camille Giroud noted that the Domaine Duchet with five hectares of well-sited vineyards, centred on Beaune was on the market – he mentioned it to the shareholders of Camille Giroud with the idea of buying Duchet to secure quality of fruit for Giroud, but at that time it didn’t fit the shareholder’s plans so the idea was rejected.

Only a few days later David was joining one of the annual ‘Bouilland Symposia’ – a week of top domaine visits and dinners organised by Becky Wasserman and hosted by Clive Coates; the subject of vineyards was amongst the Friday lunchtime discussion points. By the afternoon one of the the attendees was already considering making a bid with 2 friends, by Saturday a successful offer was made!

Things moved quickly for the agreement but the legal wheels ran more slowly – it was January 2005 before the last signatures were in place. The shareholders wanted David Croix as ‘gerant’ (the management!) which required some negotiation with Giroud’s managing director – Becky Wasserman – it seems successfully! In June 2005 David found interesting premises in a quiet Beaune backwater, only a short walk from Giroud – which prompted Becky to describe him as ‘the walking winemaker’ rather than a flying winemaker! It was a relatively large but run-down location. Since December 2006 this is very much a building site requiring some dexterity to bypass the fresh concrete if you want to get into the barrel cellar – but when I visited, it was worth the effort.

The vineyards consist of vines in Savigny, Pommard and Corton-Charlemagne plus five Beaune 1er Crus; Teurons, Grèves, Cent Vignes, Bressandes and Pertuisots. Of these 5 hectares, the fruit from 2 hectares were still purchased by Camille Giroud for the 2005’s and this may become a long-term contract. The remaining 3 hectares made up the following 2005 cuvées – look out for them!:

2005 Domaine des Croix, Bourgogne Pinot Noir
David is looking to establish a very high base for the domaine such that this bourgogne is actually a blend of Savigny and Pommard vines together with some (even further) declassified Beaune 1er cru that he didn’t feel was almost good enough to include in that cuvée. The nose is wide with red fruits that are faintly creamy. The palate has quite a narrow entry but gets wider and wider in the mouth – super intensity and acidity – this is excellent, great length too. This wine has quality way above it’s regional appellation and even from 2005 fruit the various parts were harvested at only 28-39hl/ha. This is easily the finest Bourgogne I’ve tasted from 2005 – come to think of it, it’s better than most villages wines from other vintages – can one case really be enough?
2005 Domaine des Croix, Beaune 1er Cent Vignes
Creamy red fruit on the forward and quite concentrated nose. The palate has dense concentration, it’s a rather lush and rich palate with plenty of feathery tannins. The acidity provides ample balance and pushes the finish longer and longer with just an edge of oak texture too.
2005 Domaine des Croix, Beaune 1er Bressandes
The darkest wine yet. The fruit is very deep on the nose yet also retains it’s width. The palate is just a little fresher than the Cent Vignes. The tannins are a little more obvious but the concentration of fruit on the mid-palate is enough to balance – it’s really quite intense. Good length again, and once more some oak texture at the end.
2005 Domaine des Croix, Beaune 1er Les Grèves
Like the other wines in this ‘family’ we find a soft and concentrated yet penetrating nose with an undertone of cream – this is lovely. This is the most sophisticated wine so far with a fine textured palate. Again this has very good length with a twist of transient oak right on the end.
2005 Domaine des Croix, Beaune 1er Pertuisots
A deep and brooding nose – the wine is not yet racked – of dark and creamy fruits. Similarly deep is the palate – quite impressive – with a width to match. Very well managed tannins and a good length.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 11 responses to “Profile: Domaine des Croix (Beaune)”

  1. Richard Brooks23rd March 2007 at 3:55 pmPermalinkReply

    Sounds great. Any idea where they will be available in the UK?

  2. bill nanson24th March 2007 at 12:15 amPermalinkReply

    Hi Richard,
    I’ve asked if I’m allowed to disclose!
    Waiting for the reply!

  3. bill nanson3rd April 2007 at 12:59 pmPermalinkReply

    Le Serbet should be distributing in the US, and Berry Bros & Rudd for the UK
    Cheers, Bill

  4. richard jacobs23rd October 2007 at 2:04 pmPermalinkReply

    Thanks Bill – I should have thanked you months ago as I got on to Berry Bros as soon as I read the above and secured cases of the Bourgogne and the Greves (at very modest prices). Looking forward to them.

    Best –

    Richard

  5. bill nanson23rd October 2007 at 2:16 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Richard,
    I also look forward to testing some of the reasonably large quantities of bourgogne I bought. I know that due to the construction work David Croix had to delay the bottling of his 05’s and felt that he had lost a little of the freshness because of that – I expect this might be evident in early-opened bottles but much less likely in stored bottles.

    Will probably collect my purchases before the end of November
    Cheers, Bill

  6. richard jacobs23rd October 2007 at 3:13 pmPermalinkReply

    Thanks Bill. Berrys still have some Greves (which I bought) at £210 IB, Bressandes at £192 and Cent Vignes at £162 (the Bourgogne has gone). Do these prices relative to each other match your sense of the quality differences or would you recommend one or more of them as particularly good value at its price point?

    Many thanks –

    Richard

  7. bill nanson23rd October 2007 at 3:40 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Richard,
    I’d have no problem taking any of these – the Grèves and the Bourgogne were the relative standouts (from memory) but at the prices you quote, all seem very reasonable versus some of the 05 hype…
    Out of interest, how much for the Bourgogne?
    Cheers

  8. richard jacobs24th October 2007 at 12:33 pmPermalinkReply

    Thanks again, Bill. I think the Bourgogne was about £96IB. Bit concerned about the delayed bottling issue – was this with the Beaune 1ers too or just the Bourgogne and does it mean a question-mark over the wines in terms of the qualities you noted in cask?

    I expect you’ve seen Allen Meadows’s endorsements – 90-92 for Greves and Bressandes, 89-91 for Cent Vignes and of course he’s a stingy marker! Looks like you’ve discovered that rarity of rarities – a genuinely well-priced top quality domaine – perhaps like Lignier Michelot in Morey (which I’ve followed since 02). His top 1er Faconnieres was same price as Greves (£210IB) in 05 en primeur (then it moved rapidly skywards!).

    Best and thanks –

    Richard

  9. bill nanson24th October 2007 at 12:45 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Richard,
    I believe this was for all the cuvées. This is always an issue with tasting from barrel – I think that many tasters do not sufficiently emphasise the possibility – that’s why in my NoteFinder page I only include bottled wines. I reserve judgement on the later bottling until I taste – certainly David waited longer than his wish. Interestingly on the BurgHound scores (from memory) Allen rated the Camille Giroud Bourgogne higher than that of the des Croix – I had far and away a different view – but then my tastings of those two were also quite some weeks apart.

    I agree on Lignier-Michelot – I only really bought my first bottles from this producer with the 05’s – but those I’ve drunk to-date have been excellent value and quality. I didn’t yet try different vintages to get a measure of his ‘average’ level or any of his grand crus, I also didn’t see the price appreciation – but perhaps that’s because they are all sold in my neck of the woods…
    Cheers

  10. richard jacobs14th March 2008 at 12:47 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Bill – thought I’d just add that I’ve been enjoying the Bourgogne very much – very Beaune! It was my favourite of my 4 or 5 05 Bourgognes till the other day when I cracked open the case of Lafarge. Crikey! Got 2 more cases the next day – still needs some time but already like a seriously good Volnay villages.

    Best

    Richard

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