Tasted in Aluze with Alain Hasard, 26th February 2015.
Domaine Alain Hasard
Les Champs de l’Abbaye
9 rue des Roches Pendantes
Tel: +33 3 85 45 59 32
Alain Hasard was originally a caviste, sommelier and psychologist; “I really came to wine from a culture of gastronomy. I began this adventure with my wife, Isabelle, who I met when we were both studying in Montpellier. We arrived in Beaune in 1994, where I studied at the CFPA. I started to make wine in 1997 with 4 hectares of passetoutgrains in the Couchois – straight away with culture biologique and lower yields because I thought it important to differentiate from generic wine. We later moved to here to Aluze.
“Our village of Aluze has a classic argilo-calcaire terrior that looks white when it rains. There are two hillsides; one a prolongation of Rully that’s west-facing and one in the village that’s south facing.
2002 was Alain’s first year ‘totally independent’ where they bottled all the production themselves for first time. “We have a little over 5 hectares, which is just the right size for a life for two! We have 9 different cuvees, including some parcel selections.”
“I use a small team at harvest-time, and we do all our triage in the vines. Our politique is low yields, looking for intensity and precision – the terrior should decide. So it’s 20-25 hl/ha for the reds, and ~35 hl/ha for the whites. We are quite minimalist, definitely preferring to work more on the vines than in the cellar. I like to think that our work is an ouvre – it can be like music or chants from ‘champs’ (fields), hence, the musical symbol on our bottles.
“Freshness, minerality and intensity is always my target – I don’t chaptalise – or very rarely anyway – as I’m not looking for higher alcohol. Harvesting is by a local team, so we harvest over 15 days allowing the picking each small plot at its optimum ripeness, and often with more than one pass through the vines. The whites are also triaged at the vine, the whole clusters then pressed in our Vaslin press. Normally we have quite long alcoholic fermentations – of about 8 months – often the malos starting before the sugar is exhausted.
“Our fully destemmed style changed a little in 2011, coinciding with a new destemmer that left perfect grapes.” Since then Alain has been augmenting the quantity of whole clusters up to 35% in some cuvées (so far).
“Because we already have a low rendement, I’m not looking to extract with pigeage – the material should already be there.
“We’re working with various coopers, always with a very fine grain. No barrels older than 5 years are used, and as much as 50% new oak used for many cuvees.
Alain on 2013:
“2013 was extremely rude but in the end it passed well. There’s a vivacity and lightness to the wines that I think combines very well – I think they will keep well too.”
All the 2013 wines were bottled September to October, by hand, according to the phase of the moon. What a smart set of wines at this address – they may be in a relatively unknown corner of the Chalonnais, but the wines have a focus and precision that are really top draw. Ones to search out!
2013 Bourgogne Blanc Les Champs de l’Abbaye
This name is in the cadastre where the house/domaine is sited. The vines needed quite a bit of work to start, replanting some of the less optimal vines, looking for most diverse plant material possible – There’s even a little pinot gris – up to 15% is allowed here, and you’ll certainly find plenty in old vine plots in this region.
Silky, faintly floral with white flowers. Also quite silky texture, with a fine line of intense flavour, slowly peaking in the mid-palate.
From the plateau just above the 1ers.
A more forward freshness and modest aromatic complexity. Lovely width and freshness in the mouth – there’s a modest sucrosity and beautiful mouth-watering flavour, something of a hybrid of fruit and minerals. Not explosive, but very, very lovely – also a lovely persistence.
2013 Bourgogne Rouge
Only 8 days vinification to ‘catch the fruit’ and a mix of tank and barrel elevage.
Medium, medium-plus colour. Nice high-toned fruit, with a tighter bass. Quite round and a little textured, mineral with a slowly rising fruit quality above. A modest floral note in the mouth and a lovely lingering fresh line of flavour. Super balance.
2013 Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Clos la Roche
A real clos. Old vines, 60+, from the south-facing vines in Aluze, part replanted with pinot tres fin. Not more than 12°
Medium plus colour. A nose with a little more weight and floral quality. A little more weight of flavour and just a little more texture too – but a very similar mouth-watering length. Super again, and with very fine perfume from the last drops in the glass.
2013 Mercurey La Brigardier
On the Mercurey hillside above the village, and just above les Combins 1er with a marne blanches soil. Vines about 40 years old.
A suggestion on reduction, but the nose slowly opens. More weight and more structure; mouth-watering with a faint dryness but also a lovely mouth-watering note through the middle. This needs a little time in your cellar, but it has fine potential.
Very different terroir with lots of iron and clay, sited above Clos Myglands. It’s always first harvested, and with the highest degree of potential alcohol too. A mix of old and young vines…
A beautiful perfume of flowers and fruit – super. Silkier, again with fine weight, sucrosity of fruit and quite some complexity too. Really super finish with complex fruit and flows – brilliant Mercurey.
2013 Monthélie Les Sous Roche
‘Not hailed more than normal!’ But 2014 produced only 10 hl/ha. This is 0.35 hectares of vines, 2/3 planted to chardonnay, hoping for the first white vintage in 2016. These are typically the latest vines to be harvested by this domaine – mainly millerande grapes too.
Medium, medium-plus colour. A deeper nose of dark fruit – gelée-fruit. Starts narrow in the mouth but quickly builds to a round ball of flavour. The structure holds it firm today but it’s quite a friendly if tight ball of flavour. Only in the mid-palate is there a release of high-toned fruit. A rather serious wine and again one to wait for – but with ample reward. This will be super.