Francoise & Denis Clair Santenay Clos de Tavannes Premier Cru 2020
In creating this cuvée Francoise & Denis Clair wanted to try to make the best possible red wine. They set aside a barrel from their best terroir: their old Premier Cru "Clos de Tavannes" vine; it is from a one-year-old barrel which brings a fine oakiness which does not mark the wine too much. The result is a complete wine, concentrated with black fruit aromas, powerful on the palate with an elegant tannic structure.
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His wife Françoise was born in Saint-Aubin, a neighboring AOC village 2 1/2 miles to the northwest (a bit longer by car). This is where the Clairs' winery is located. They have a son, Jean-Baptiste, who joined the family business in 2000 working the vines. Jean-Baptist eventually began making their white wines.
Today the family owns 15 hectares, including parcels in Santenay and Saint-Aubin. They sell 75,000 bottles a year, with about 75% of that going abroad.
In the far southern end of the Côte de Beaune, Santenay forms a little notch that juts into the otherwise straight border with Côte Chalonnaise.
Santenay red wines show the true essence of red Burgundy at good price points and without demanding a lot of cellar time. Enticing aromas of rose-petal, violet, red fruits and licorice lead to sturdiness on the palate. With soils rich in oolitic limestone and marl, this is the home of well-constructed, hearty Pinot noir and represents a fantastic region to explore if you are just beginning your understanding of red Burgundy.
Reputable vineyards of Santenay include La Maladière, as well as the Premier Crus of La Comme, Clos de Tavannes, and Les Gravières.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”