Domaine Arlaud: Balance and Biodynamics in Burgundy

Domaine Arlaud: Balance and Biodynamics in Burgundy 1

The story of Domaine Arlaud begins like many of the world’s great stories do, with the love between a French man and woman. During World War II, Joseph Arlaud (originally from the Ardèche) met and fell in love with a Burgundian woman by the name of Renée Amiot. Her family just happened to own a few choice parcels of land in the Côtes de Nuits, which included little vineyards by the names of Clos St. Denis and Bonnes Mares. Part of the couple’s wedding gifts included these grand parcels, paving the way for the founding of Domaine Arlaud. Joseph’s son Hervé Arlaud took over the estate in 1982 and expanded the domaine with purchases of prime vineyards, mostly in their home village of Morey St. Denis. Today, the star of the show is Hevré’s son Cyprien, who in the last ten years, has come into his own as one of the most exciting growers in all of France.

Cyprien Arlaud
Cyprien Arlaud

Cyprien Arlaud took the reins of the domaine in 1997 with the simple and unwavering vision of making pure, benchmark Burgundy. He knew the only way to achieve this goal was to be forward thinking in the cellar, and most importantly in the vineyards. The same year he was put in charge, he began the conversion of the estate to biodynamics (certified in 2014). He also began using horses to plough domaine vineyards in order to keep the soils as healthy and alive as possible. With top holdings in Morey St. Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Vosne-Romanée, he immediately saw the difference in the health of the vines between those that were horse ploughed and those that were ploughed by tractor. As Cyprien notes, “It’s hard to get good grapes from vines planted on a cement highway.” Luckily for him, his sister Bertille has become one of the most important horse ploughers in all of France. With her two horses Nougat and Okapi, she ploughs every single vineyard herself, while also ploughing and training horses for many top estates across the country. The results from the intense and meticulous care for the vines became evident very quickly, with wines that spoke of terroir in the clearest of voices.

In the cellar, intervention is kept to an absolute minimum. Under Cyprien’s stewardship, elegance has been the focus with lower levels of extraction and the reduction of new wood to zero on the Bourgogne and 15-30% on the rest of the lineup. Partial whole cluster is only employed on the upper level wines (maximum 30%), based on the nature of the vintage and if the stems are perfectly ripe. The cellar in Morey St. Denis is one of the coldest in the Côtes de Nuits, helping Cyprien pursue a slow, non-interventionist vinification, with minimal use of SO2. All of his wines are also bottled unfined and unfiltered. Meeting Cyprien makes it clear how in touch he is with every meter of vines he farms. He is immensely talented, but also has an insatiable curiosity that allows him to keep learning and keep getting better. We are absolutely sure that his name, and the wines he is crafting today and in the future will sit at the summit with the legends of Burgundy.
Horsey #4

 

 

Wine and Spirit Label 1

Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge 2014

Practicing biodynamic – will be certified next
From a vineyard that is 300m west of Romanée-Conti – right on the border of Vosne-Romanée.
Many of Vosne’s elite growers have vines here
Same high density plantings as used in Vosne – allows vines to compete for nutrients, limiting yields.
10cm of dirt before hitting solid bedrock
50+ year old vines
Aged in older barrels

Wine and Spirit Label 2

Bourgogne Rouge ‘Roncevie’ 2014
Certified biodynamic
100% Gevrey-Chambertin – Roncevie is a lieu-dit that was until 1964 Gevrey-Chambetin Villages. Half is still Gevrey Villages, the other declassified purely for political reasons.
A stone’s throw from Griottes-Chambertin
50+ year old vines
Aged in older barrels

Wine and Spirit Label 3

Vosne-Romanée 2014

Practicing biodynamic – will be certified next year
From the lieu-dit ‘Aux Communes’ – one of Vosne’s finest
A stone’s throw from Clos des Réas
Aged in barrel (20% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 4

Vosne-Romanée ‘Aux Réas’ 2014

•Practicing biodynamic – will be certified next year
A legendary lieu dit in Vosne that sits directly adjacent to the 1er Cru monopole Clos des Réas
45 year old vines
Aged in barrel (20% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 5

Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru ‘Les Porrets Saint-Georges’ 2014

Practicing biodynamic – will be certified next year
250m altitude
A very rocky vineyard that runs north to south
Part of the band of 1er cru Nuits Saint Georges that should be Grand Cru
Sits just below 1er Perrières – considered a top cru
40+ year old vines

Wine and Spirit Label 6

Morey St. Denis 2014

Certified biodynamic
From the superb lieu-dits of ‘En Seuvrées’ and ‘Clos Solon”
Many top producers bottle these on their own
40+ year old vines
Aged in barrel (15% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 7

Morey St. Denis 1er Cru ‘Les Blanchards’ 2014

Certified biodynamic
From a 0.27 ha plot in the center of Morey St. Denis
55+ year old vines
Aged in barrel (25% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 8

Morey St Denis 1er Cru ‘Les Millandes’ 2014

•Certified biodynamic
40+ year old vines
Higher percentage of clay that comes from Clos de la Roche
Aged in barrel (25% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 9

Morey St. Denis 1er Cru ‘Aux Cheseaux’ 2014

•Certified biodynamic
40 year old vines
Located on the Gevrey-Chambertin border of Morey St. Denis
Sits directly adjacent to Mazoyères-Chambertin
Higher percentage of limestone in Mazoyères
Cool northern winds allow for a longer ripening period
Picked 9 days after 1er Cru Ruchots (which is less than 1 km south)
A spicier expression of Morey
Aged in barrel (25% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 10

Morey St. Denis 1er Cru ‘Les Ruchots’ 2014

Certified biodynamic
60+ year old vines
A walled clos that is on the Chambolle-Musigny side of Morey
Just below Bonnes Mares and Clos de Tart, with the great 1er Cry Chambolle Sentiers directly adjacent
Considered by many to be the top 1er cru in Morey
The walls on 3 sides protect the vineyard from a cold north wind, lending the grapes perfectly balanced ripeness each year
Aged in barrel (25% new)

Wine and Spirit Label 11

Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2014

Certified biodynamic
From the Mazoyères-Chambertin section of Charmes-Chambertin
From the highest section that sits below Latricières -Chambertin
Leroy’s Latricières plot is just above a 5m wide road
45 year old vines
Up to 30% whole cluster depending on the vintage
Only the very old vines are whole cluster when the stems achieve perfect ripeness.
Aged in barrel (30% new)
Picked and vinified in 3 sections. The very old vines (80+), the regular old vines (50+) and the “young” vines (25)
Each section is vinified separately so that Cyprien can declassify the younger vines