Domaine Jean & Gilles Lafouge

Auxey-Duresses is a major wine village in the Cote de Beaune area of Burgundy, south of Beaune. The production consists of around two-thirds red wine, and one-third white wine. There are no Grand Cru vineyards within Auxey-Duresses, but there are nine 1er Crus. The AOC Auxey-Duresses itself was created in 1970, but before the introduction of the appellation system in the 1930s, wines from this village were generally sold under the names of the more famous neighbors such as Volnay and Meursault.

Jean & Gilles Lafouge are the 6th generation of winemakers to run this small family Domaine, which is regularly cited as one of the top Domaines of the Appellation. Gilles has now fully taken over the reins, but his father, in typical Burgundian fashion, still works in the vineyards. The family is closely connected with the famous Meursault family Michel Bouzereau, whose daughter Gilles married!

Vineyard work is meticulous, virtually organic with minimal chemicals, organic fertilizer and regular airing of the soil. Harvest is all by hand and sorting severe. Vinification includes cold soaking for up to 2-3 weeks and ageing is all in oak barrels with the premier crus benefiting with up to 40-50% new oak depending on vintage.

While reference/comparison is often made to more famous neighbors, such as Meursault and Volnay, the wines from the finest winemakers in Auxey-Duresses undoubtedly stand on the own merit and have their own “terroir specific” individuality.

Auxey-Duresses Blanc “Les Hautees” – Perfumed, beautifully poised with crisp acidity and firm ripe fruit, underpinned with a liquid core of minerality of wet stones and hints of acacia blossom. A benchmark white from the best limestone soil of Auxey-Duresses which would stand it in good stead against its better-known and more expensive neighbors.

Meursault – One of the finest village whites that can be found in this famous appellation from an excellent vintage. Crystalline purity, perfect richness allayed with an acidity that draws you to yet another mouthful, nose beginning to develop typical Meursault characteristics hints of hazelnuts, honey and multi-layered minerality.

Auxey-Duresses Rouge – Not to be under-estimated, this Village Auxey, from a Marne/Limestone soil. Takes 2-3 years to lose its slightly tannic edge and meld into a fluid and finely balanced Pinot Noir. The nose is already developing notes of small red fruits, cassis, blueberry, which will develop into a wider palette of saddle leather and spice fused onto a more interesting mineral base.

Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Rouge “Les Ecusseaux” – One of the more fruit-forward of the Auxey 1er Crus. This Pinot is already showing notes of red fruits and darker fruit notes of brambles and black raspberries. A very fine and beautifully balanced wine, the tannins are present, but perfectly melded with the ripe expressive fruit. There is a purity in the Lafouge style that is evident throughout his range. Add to this the multi-layered mineral personality in this Premier Cru and you have a very fine example of a top rank Burgundy at a very reasonable price point. This wine has additional depth and structure over the Village wine.