One of the highlights of my October trip was the visit at Domaine de la Cras.
Domaine de la Cras is owned by the city of Dijon, and Marc Soyard is the manager and winemaker at the estate located just outside Dijon – on the Côte and north of and above Marsannay and Chenôve.
Domaine de la Cras – an alternative setup
The city of Dijon purchased a 160 hectare agricultural property called Domaine de la Cras in 2013. The estate is located just outside the city limits and the previous owner had already built some wine making facilities and planted 8 hectares of vineyards – 5 ha red and 3 ha of white.
The vineyards are classified as Bourgogne AOC, and there are possibilities to plant additional 13 hectares. The vines currently in production are around 35 years old offering a perfect start for the project.
A process was initiated to find a manager and winemaker to the estate – and one of the criterias was that the vineyards had to be farmed organically, another criteria that it should be a young vigneron with no family vineyards who took over the estate.
The rent paid for the estate was set at 2000 bottles of wines per year, and the manager is then allowed to produce his own wine from other vineyards on the facilities at hand.
They chose the young Marc Soyard!
Marc Soyard – from Jura via Vosne-Romanée – to Dijon!
Marc Soyard is the perfect man for the job – as he came from a position as vineyard manager at Domaine Bizot in Vosne-Romanée. For six years he worked the vineyards for Jean-Yves Bizot who has a organic and biodynamic approach. Furthermore he also worked closely with Jean Yves-Bizot learning the winemaking process at Domaine Bizot.
Jean Yves-Bizot has clearly been an inspiration for Marc Soyard, and the wines are closely related stylewise to the magnificent wines of Domaine Bizot.
Marc has adapted the same philosophy at Domaine de la Cras that he learned at Domaine Bizot. The vineyards are farmed organically with some biodynamic methods applied. The reds are normally made with 100% whole cluster grapes – natural yeasts and a mix of new and old oak. So less impression of oak than Domaine Bizot …
Domaine de la Cras is the only estate that is allowed to produce under the Coteaux de Dijon name – or appellation. Marc Soyard began with the 2013 vintage, and is gradually expanding the portfolio of wines produced on the estate.
Burgundy beyond hyped appellations and expensive Grand Crus
In many ways the Domaine de la Cras project is a fresh new side of Burgundy just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
Aside from the wines I taste as a journalist I do struggle more and more to buy the great Burgundy wines for personal consumption. – not that I should complain (do remember to sign up for Winehog Premium though!).
The prices on Burgundy wines are increasing rapidly and the innocence of the market has sort of disappeared – and even worse – along with that the careless and impulsive enjoyment of even village wines.
The financial side of the Burgundy hobby is somehow taking over, and even if one bought the bottles at a relatively low price back in the days – the value today somehow clouds the enjoyment.
I do miss the feeling of just enjoying a wine without remorse and financial hangovers.
I am!, we are?, in need of some fine and happy wines from the “new” appellations of Burgundy to deliver affordable drinking with a smile – wines like Monte Cul made by Marc Soyard is a fine example.