Friday, December 2, 2016
Tasting from Barrel at Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron in Prémeaux-Prissey, Côte de Nuits, with Owner/ Winemaker Louis Meunier - Burgundy (and Champagne) 2016 Tour by ombiasy WineTours
The roots of this domaine go back to the year 1926 when Jean Confuron of Vosne married Anne Marie Bouchard of Prémeaux – vines came from both sides of the family and the newly married couple chose to live in Prémeaux. Today the domaine is in the hands of their granddaughter Sophie who married Alain Meunier.
Our host was their son Louis Meunier, who had just came back from working a year in the wine industustrie in Argentina.
Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron
When Jean-Jacques Confuron fell ill in 1982, wife Andrée and daughter Sophie took charge of a sleeping giant among Burgundy domaines. The vines were superbly located in many of the Côte de Nuits' best sites, but the cellars were outdated and the majority of stock was customarily sold to local négociants.
Everything changed when Sophie Confuron enrolled at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune: she not only discovered a natural talent for winemaking, but also met Alain Meunier, now her husband. The young couple returned to the domaine in 1988, and instigated a veritable quality revolution.
New cellars were constructed in 1989, equipped with the latest technology including pneumatic presses and temperature-control systems. In the vineyards, yields have been significantly reduced, and from 1991 onwards the domaine has been fully "biologique". The wine is no longer sold in bulk, but instead every last bottle is distributed on a tight allocation basis to key customers all around the world.
Alain and Sophie share winemaking responsibilities, and have between them developed a house style that emphasises luscious, rounded fruit and soft, velvety tannins.
The initial cold soak produces deep colour and the right tannins; closed vats and strict temperature control during fermentation maximise fresh, intense fruit flavours and aromas; new oak adds hedonistic appeal, with low yields ensuring that the wines have enough concentration to absorb and balance this oak. The results are quite simply irresistible.
Overwhelming demand has led Alain to create a new "super-négociant" operation, buying grapes which he vinifies and ages with the same care and attention lavished on the J.J. Confuron domaine wines. These are sold under the Féry-Meunier label - see separate factsheet for more details
“In order fully to respect the character of each terroir, we have chosen to use only natural products to treat our vines and have done so since 1990” said Alain said at a dinner in Washington DC a few years ago. He also referred to the parcel of Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru: at eighty years old, it is the oldest in the domaine. Since 2003 he has ploughed it by horse. This is a slow (and costly) job which requires patience and precision but which has the utmost respect for the soil.
Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron has just over 7 hectares, with 12 appellations of the Côte de Nuits. They range from a Côte de Nuits Les Vignottes to the rare Grand Cru Romanée Saint Vivant and Grand Cru Clos Vougeot, through two Chambolle-Musigny: Village and First Cru. The domaine also offers three Nuits-Saint-Georges, a Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Fleurieres Village, a Aux Boudots First Cru, and a Les Chaboeufs First Cru. Let's not forget their Vosne-Romanée 1st Cru Les Beaux-Monts, and their two latest wines: the Côte de Nuits La Montagne white and its red sibling, Côte de Nuits La Montagne rouge, first released with the 2010 vintage, or their Bourgogne Cuvée Jeunesse, the most affordable way of enjoying the Confuron style.
Côte de Nuits Villages, Les Vignottes (1.3 ha)
Nuits-Saint-Georges, Les Fleurières (1.2 ha)
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Les Chaboeufs (0.5 ha)
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Aux Boudots (0.3 ha)
Chambolle-Musigny (1.2 ha)
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru (0.4 ha)
Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru, Les Beaux-Monts (0.3 ha)
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru (0.5 ha)
Romanée Saint-Vivant Grand Cru (0.5 ha)
Average Age of Vines:
Village level: 20 to 35 years old
Both 1ers Crus in Nuits-Saint-Georges: 45 years old
Chambolle and Vosne 1ers Crus: 50 years old
Clos Vougeot: 35 years old
Romanée Saint-Vivant: nearly 80 years old
Soil: Rocky limestone marls, with varying proportions of clay depending on the vineyard.
See: Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron, Côte de Nuits, Winemaker Dinner with Owners/Producers Alain and Sophie Meunier at Todd Gray’s Equinox in Washington DC, USA
Vinification and Aging
The reds are sorted and destemmed, but not crushed. There is a cold, pre-fermentation maceration of 4 to 6 days to extract colour and soft, velvety tannins; the vats remain closed to preserve freshness. Gentle heating induces fermentations, which continue for 12 days at temperatures of around 30°C, with 3 pigeages a day. The young wine is drawn off into barrel for malolactic and subsequent ageing of 15 to 18 months. The Grands Crus see up to 100% new oak, the 1ers Crus 70%. Racking is kept to a minimum, and there is neither fining nor filtration before bottling.
Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron produces 3000 cases annually.
Thanks to Sophie, Alain and Louis for a wonderful tasting from barrel.
Postings: Burgundy (and Champagne) 2016 Tour by ombiasy WineTours:From Lyon to Reims - Wine, Food, Culture and History (Published and Forthcoming Postings)
Burgundy (and Champagne) 2016 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: From Lyon to Reims - Wine, Food, Culture and History
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Visit and Tasting: Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune – Bourgogne (and Champagne) Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours, France
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Cellar Tour and Tasting at Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron in Prémeaux-Prissey Côte de Nuits with Louis Meunier
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Cellar Tour and Tasting at Domaine Armelle et Bernhard Rion in Vosne-Romanée, Côte de Nuits, with Alice Rion
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