hierry Beaumont at Domaine des Beaumont in Morey-Saint-Denis has a nice selection of Chambolle-Musignys, Gevrey-Chambertins and Morey-Saint-Denis in his wine portfolio. Alongside these very serious reds he makes a Crémant de Bourgogne rosé. He says with a smile that he felt that his wife was buying too much champagne, so he stopped making Bourgogne Passetoutgrain, Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire and Bourgogne Aligoté in order to have grapes to makes his own sparkling wine.
It's probably not entirely true, but it nevertheless makes a good story. And on a more serious note Thierry Beaumont explains that the demand for bubbly Bourgogne has been increasing in recent years.
– Crémant de Bourgogne has become very fashionable. The big négociants produce a lot of Crémant de Bourgogne. It's interesting to see the development in Burgundy. A large part of the grapes from appellations such as Bourgogne Passetoutgrain, Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire etc are bought by the négociants and turned into Crémant de Bourgogne. And they are buying more each year.
Domaine des Beaumont is a fairly new name when it comes to domaine-bottled wine, but Thierry Beaumont comes from a family that have been winemakers for several generations. It was with the 1999 vintage that Thierry Beaumont and his wife Sylvie decided to give it a go and starting bottling their own wine. To begin with 80 percent was bottled. Four years later the whole production was bottled and Thierry was even beginning to buy some grapes.
– I had many winemaker friends telling me that I really should start bottling myself, says Thierry Beaumont, and 1999 was a very interesting vintage to start with.
– It's a big difference when you bottle yourself, you have a new responsibility. You put your name on the label, so it's a new thing.
But Domaine des Beaumont was not as anonymous as most others are when selling to a négociant. The Nuits-Saint-Georges négociant firm Labouré-Roi bought the whole harvest and decided to put both their own name and Domaine des Beaumont on the label.
Today Domaine des Beaumont covers 5,5 hectares and the annual production is between 25 000 and 30 000 bottles. They have vines on both premier cru and village level in Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis and Chambolle-Musigny. In Gevrey-Chambertin they also have a bit of grand cru in Charmes-Chambertin.
– I have been buying some grapes since 2003. For instance, the Morey-Saint-Denis "Les Sorbès" is not part of the domaine. I buy the grapes from another winemaker in Morey-Saint-Denis that owns a large part of Les Sorbès. He was selling it to a négociant so I offered him to buy it. I both green-harvest and harvest the grapes myself. It's not really a négociant activity, more of an elaborateur activity.
The labels have the same design regardless of the origin of the grapes, but for the domaine wines it says Domaine des Beaumont on the label while wines from bought in grapes get Thierry Beaumont.
For Thierry Beaumont Morey-Saint-Denis is a wine that is a bit more powerful than its neighbours to the north and the south – Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. It has more tannins and a beautiful structure. He says that often a Morey-Saint-Denis needs an extra year to open up, compared to Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny.
Thierry Beaumont makes three different premier crus from Morey-Saint-Denis – Les Ruchots, Les Sorbès and Les Millandes.
– For a Morey-Saint-Denis premier cru Les Ruchots is the lightest and the most elegant. It's bordering on Les Sentiers, the Chambolle-Musigny premier cru. When the winemakers in the village taste Morey wines we start with Les Ruchots because it's the most Chambolle-like, elegant and feminine.
– Les Sorbès is an interesting place. It's right in the middle of the village, right by Clos Sorbè. The wine is more structured, more full-bodied than Les Ruchots. It has the balance of Les Ruchots and the power of Les Millandes.
– Les Millandes is below Clos Saint-Denis, the grand cru. The vines are very old and the wine is the most structured and rich of the Moreys we produce. During the winter of 1984-1985 it was very cold, -27°C. A large part of the vines died and my father told me to replant the whole vineyard since it was old anyway. But I said that I would only replace the vines that had died, so I replanted 30-35 percent.
Domaine des Beaumont also offers one of Côte de Nuits' rarities, a white Morey-Saint-Denis. Of the total production of the village only four or five percent is white. For Thierry Beaumont quantities are limited as well – a fifth of a hectare gives him about 1200 bottles a year.
– The place where I produce Morey-Saint-Denis blanc is an old place where there used to aligoté planted. In the past this was not part of the Morey-Saint-Denis appellation; it was just part of the Bourgogne appellation. But approximately 40 years ago it was reclassified as Morey-Saint-Denis.
– The aligoté was very good here, so I thought it would be interesting to replant it with chardonnay to make some Morey-Saint-Denis blanc since it is a very rare thing. For me it is also a chance to make some white wine; most of what we produce is red.
© 2008 Ola Bergman