DOMAINE CATHERINE & DOMINIQUE DERAIN, MERCUREY ROUGE “LA PLANTE CHASSEY”, 6 Bottle Case 75cl
This is an interesting cuvee because it has a small amount of Pinot Beurot (Malvoisie, Pinot Gris) blended with the dominant Pinot Noir. (Incidentally, Pinot Liébault, which is a mutant of Pinot Noir is also permitted in this appellation).
The Mercurey appellation is increasingly receiving critical acclaim as a number of young winemakers have recognised the attractive nature of the terroir here and are producing wines of considerable elegance.
La Plante Chassey is a south-east slope with clay soil. The grapes for this wine are harvested by hand and the wine is fermented in wooden vats before being transferred to old wooden barrels for 18 months. The wine is not fined or filtered before bottling.
Some think of Dominique Derain as a non conformist, something of a loudmouth and the star of the Parisian Bistrots where he first sold his wines in the 1990s, (Between the Vines, Laroche, Henry, Annoni 2016) but he has done it all in his 40 years amongst the vines of the Cote-d'Or. He started work as a cooper in the late 70s and then graduated to wine making with Henri Clerc in Puligny Montrachet. He then worked in Alsace for a time at Dietrich and was fired by Michel Laroche. Over the years, he has bought white wine from Beaujolais and sold it as Hospices de Beaune, he has chaptilised, added alicante bouchet to enrich the Pinot, made wine with no sulphur on the sly and won a gold medal for it and even made late harvest Remilly by mistake and refused to sell it to the Tour D'Argent. The guy has seen and done it all. He started experimenting with biodynamics in the 90s and worked closely with guys Giboulot, Montchovet, Lammerville and others. In his words, 'in the early years, natural wine had a bad reputation, but it was a way of working that interested me. My main aim is to experience pleasure, I don't want to make a stew'. Dominique now works exclusively biodynamically although he pulled out of Demeter certification in 97 when the cost doubled, he doesn't feel he has anything to prove to anyone. The proof is in the tasting. Wines are beautifully crafted, pure, very low in sulphites but completely stable.