Morey St Denis Rouge
In Morey-Saint-Denis, Clerget owns just under half of one hectare of vines in the Les Crais lieu dit at the bottom of the slope. He has divided it equally between red and white grapes. 100% Pinot Noir from a small parcel planted in 1984. The soil is a mix of limestone and clay. At harvest, the Pinot Noir grapes are sorted in the vineyard and then again at the winery. They are moved to the winery in small plastic crates to avoid damage and are totally de-stemmed on arrival. Clerget ensures that the fermentation proceeds slowly by keeping the vats at a maximum temperature of about 32 degrees C. The cap of grape skins is punched down once per day to obtain a controlled extraction of color and flavor. After pressing, Clerget allows the liquid to separate from the solids in tank for 3 days. He then moves the cleared young wine into casks by gravity flow. The maturation period is 18 months in barrels that are 20% new and 40% each one and two years old, in Clerget’s cool cellar. The casks are then assembled in tank and the wine is bottled without filtration. Clerget’s Morey-Saint-Denis Rouge is a soft and fragrant expression of Pinot Noir. It mixes red and dark fruits –cherries, cassis and dark plums – with a touch of earth and spice, and has a round, open and inviting texture.
About the Producer
The origins of Domaine Christian Clerget date back to the beginning of the 20th Century, when the great-grandparents of Christian Clerget, the present owner - together with his wife Isabelle - assembled various parcels of vines in the villages of Chambolle, Vougeot and Morey St-Denis. The 5-hectare family estate was known in the 1980s and 1990s as Domaine Georges Clerget, named for Christian’s father. Christian took over in 1996 and built a new winery in 1998 as a first step to taking the domaine to its present level of quality; all of the production is now sold under Christian’s name.
Christian Clerget’s vision is to produce the purest, most natural wines possible. The land is worked by hand and no herbicides or insecticides are used. Clerget believes that balance in the vineyard will help lead to balanced wines. He plows all of his vines at the end of winter and lightly tills during the growing season so as to allow the grass to grow naturally between the rows. The vines are pruned severely to limit yields. Clerget strips leaves and green harvests before veraison to aerate the bunches and enhance maturity.
Christian Clerget places great confidence in his long-standing team of harvesters who know the vines and ensure that only perfectly ripe fruit is picked by hand. The team sorts the grapes in the vineyard and places the grapes in small plastic crates for transport to the winery without damage. A second sorting is done at the winery on a sorting table before the grapes are de-stalked and placed in tanks where fermentation starts slowly with native yeasts. Clerget takes care to prevent the fermentation to advance too rapidly by maintaining a maximum temperature of 32 degrees centigrade. He circulates the liquid over the cap to aerate the must and does a pigeage (or punching down of the cap) daily towards the end of the 3 week fermentation period. After pressing, the wines settle in tank to separate out the gross lees and are then moved into barrels by gravity flow.
Clerget ages his wines in barrels for 12 months and then racks them off the lees by hand. The wines are then redistributed in barrels to complete the last 4-6 months of their elevage. Malolactic fermentation takes places naturally in the spring as the cellar warms up. Clerget’s barrel regimen follows the intensity of the cuvées, and no casks are older than two years: 20% new with the balance one and two year old barrels for the Morey Rouge and Chambolle AC; 25% new barrels for the Vosne; 33% new for the Vougeot and Chambolle 1er Cru; and 50% new oak for the Echezeaux. The wines are bottled after a second racking, without fining or filtration, and with the natural CO2.
Farming practices: organic, not certified.