hen David Rebourgeon reaches retirement his family will have been making wine in Pommard for half a millennium. Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure is a seven hectare domaine run by David and his father Daniel. Their vineyards are all located in Pommard and the neighbouring communes of Volnay and Beaune. In many cases they have been in the family for a long time.
– For example, the Pommard premier cru Les Grands Epenots has been in the family since the French Revolution, says David Rebourgeon.
It was in 1552 that Jean Bourgogne, an ancestor of David Rebourgeon, came to Pommard. Through a leasing arrangement with the Abbaye Saint Marguerite in Bouilland he acquired some vines in Pommard.
After the First World War, in 1920, David Rebourgeon's great-grandmother Palmyre Bourgogne married Claude Emile Rebourgeon from Montagny-lès-Buxy on the Côte Chalonnaise. Together they took on the family domaine; cleared, replanted and brought new life to the domaine after a difficult period. This became Domaine Rebourgeon-Bourgogne.
– Later on the domaine was split between their two sons, says David Rebourgeon. My grandfather created Domaine Rebourgeon-Mignotte when he got married. Since 1991 we are working the vines of my maternal grandparents, the Mure family, hence the name Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure.
You'll find the domaine on the Grande Rue, just above the main square. The wine portfolio holds eight different premier crus – four in Pommard (Clos des Arvelets, Charmots, Clos Micault, Grands Epenots), three in Volnay (Les Mitans, Caillerets, Santenots) and one in Beaune (Les Vignes Franches).
– For me Volnay is the most elegant of the three, says David Rebourgeon. Especially the Caillerets, which I think has a lot of finesse and a very good complexity. In Pommard there are certain parts that produce wines that are more structured, a bit more tannic. The Pommard vineyards south of the village are not that different from Volnay. On the opposite side, north of the village where you'll find Les Grands Epenots, Les Charmots, En Largillière etc, Pommard gets another aromatic complexity. Beaune, for me, produces wines with more roundness and freshness.
He points out that it is important to separate the two sides of Pommard; the vineyards north of the village, the Beaune side, and the vineyards south of the village, the Volnay side. Pommard is located at the end of a valley leading out from the Hautes-Côtes. depending on which side of the village the vines are, both the exposure and the soil will be different.
– It is very interesting to compare the two sides at tastings, he says. Take the Clos Micault for example. It's located below Rugiens and Les Poutures, so it is on the Volnay side and therefore a bit more tannic. Les Grands Epenots, one of the more well-known Pommard premier crus, is on the Beaune side. It has more of densiity and complexity. Les Charmots is just above Les Grands Epenots. It has the same kind of terroir, but is slightly less rich in character.
The Pommard premier cru Clos des Arvelets has a long history in the family. It is part of Les Arvelets, up behind the village on the northern side. The clos, a vineyard surrounded by walls, was originally bought by David Rebourgeon's great-grandmother.
– Back then it was a monopole, one single owner of the whole clos. Then it was split between the seven children of my great-grandparents. My maternal grandmother inherited a part right in the middle of the clos. But even though it was split it has remained in the family. Today my parents and I work my grandmother's part. The other parts of the clos belong to my uncles.
– I believe there is a difference between the Clos des Arvelets and the rest of Les Arvelets, mainly because of the large wall. The vines inside the clos tend to bud earlier and produce grapes with high maturity. It is a place that rarely suffers from spring frost.
– We don't use a tractor inside the clos. During the summer we only work there in the morning. After lunch it is too hot.
Being a domaine in Pommard, with vineyard holdings in this part of the Côte de Beaune, means that red wine is dominating the Rebourgeon-Mure cellars. But they are not entirely red, there is a small quantity of Bourgogne blanc, Cuvée de Maison Dieu, produced each year. The vines are located in the commune of Pommard, but outside the Pommard village and Pommard premier crus appellations, making it part of the regional appellation.
– Our chardonnay vines are well located close to the village. Both Volnay and Pommard are red only, says David Rebourgeon. So it's nice to make some white wine as well, both beacuse it enables us to offer our clients some white and because it is interesting for ourselves from a professional point of view.
He sums up the domaine's philosophy in the cellar as a focus on terroir. And in order to be able to do that they need high quality grapes. Therefore they go for low yields, below average.
– We want to make wines that express the terroir, explains David Rebourgeon. Except for a bit of gamay, the only red grape variety in Burgundy is the pinot noir. It is interesting to have different parcels of vines, but of the same variety and be able to taste the differences in the finished wines.
– In the vineyards we have adopted the lutte raisonnée practices, explains David Rebourgeon. We respect the terroir, the character of each cru. We do weed control by ploughing the soil and we only spray the vines when necessary. Today there are small meteorology stations that allows you to keep better track of the weather conditions. For instance, if it was raining yesterday certain temperatures today will mean a higher risk of mildew. This means you can spray only when necessary. Towards the end of the growing season we spray twice a month. In the past we would have sprayed every two weeks.
© 2011 Ola Bergman