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Profile: Domaine des Croix (Beaune)

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.

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

  1. Richard Brooks

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

  2. Brooklynguy

    Since you’re asking, how about the US too? thanks!

  3. richard jacobs

    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

  4. richard jacobs

    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

  5. richard jacobs

    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

  6. richard jacobs

    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

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