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The Dijon School…Part II

Now including the the addition of the Côte de Beaune producers. No real text additions vs the last issue except to say ‘Congratulations’ to Carel Voorhuis who we met in the last report – in the last few days of March 2005 he was elected the Président de la Commission Terroir, Technique & Environnement – Chapeau!

Wine as Art?
I contend that wine is art, it inspires it disappoints. Like art, certain schools come together from time to time. They push the boundaries, share their knowledge and produce art that often defines a new approach…

There is a new school in town, one that I’ve christened the Dijon School:

When I first started out with Burgundy the likes of Dominique Lafon and Christophe Roumier were being hailed as the new generation of winemakers but that was over ten years ago. No lack of respect to Dominique and Christophe but they are my age (classified) and today are more establishment than new-wave. So where should we be looking for the next group to take the baton from Dominique and Christophe?

Question – If you’re going to make a short-list of the best young producers how would go about it? You really need more exposure to what’s going on and opportunities to taste than any reasonable person could have – so I went to two unreasonable persons – Becky Wasserman and Allen Meadows…

My aim was to short-list three to four producers from the Côte de Nuits and an almost similar number from the Côte de Beaune. The original target of below 30 years-old became a little more flexible as this piece took shape – I think we ‘maxxed-out’ at 32. A number of other names were thrown into the mix, but were dismissed not due to ability but due to age (perhaps un-PC) or not quite fitting the profile of the story. I’ve included these names at the foot of the page as I’m sure you’ll still be most interested.

Part 2 – The Côte de Beaune

Benjamin LerouxHugues PavelotOlivier Lamy

Part 1 – The Côte de Nuits

David Croix - Camille GiroudLouis-Michel Liger-BelairSylvain PatailleCarel Voorhuis - Domaine d'Ardhuy

Click an image to visit the winemaker in question. What I particularly like about this list is the variation of terroirs and backgrounds of the wine-makers covered; the most modest to the greatest terroir; there are newcomers to Burgundy plus the sons of established domaines. What’s special about this group is not just that most studied enology together (more or less) at Dijon but that they get together regularly as a group to taste each other’s wines over dinner, helping each other with problems and ideas what to do next and better – then again tasting the results. They define a modern approach to winemaking; the work in the vineyard is paramount to provide the best fruit – then to vinify it in the way that best suits the raw material – in the cuverie there is no recipe. They look for the vineyards to express themselves in the wines, not to add a signature.

I think it’s fair to say that not everyone has shared their knowledge so freely over the preceding generations. So the current approach of the Dijon-School can only bode well for the future…

Post-Script

Disappointingly there were no lady winemakers in the list but I would have no hesitation adding the name of Claire Forestier (who else can make Vougeots so tasty?) who would have no problems (of course!) with the age barrier but doesn’t go to the dinner-parties… Other names deemed worthy of the list were : Jean-Philippe Fichet, François Mikulski, the Chevillon brothers, Patrice Ollivier of Fougeray de Beauclair and Virgile Lignier.

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