Alain Jeanniard In 2000, Alain Jeanniard left behind a career in industry and returned home to Morey-Saint-Denis with the goal of becoming a vigneron. Through the renting of vineyards from his family and some shrewd purchases, Alain formed an estate totaling four hectares. The domaine, whose first vintage was 2004, annually produces about 2,000 cases from its tiny facility located just down the street from the Domaine des Lambrays. When not occupied with his own wines, Alain works at a prestigious part time job. The Hospices de Beaune entrusts him with the task of making two of its grand cru cuvees, Mazis-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche.
Alain believes in producing wine that is true to its terroir and each of his cuvees is distinctive. The winemaking is a blend of modern and traditional practices. After being harvested by hand, the grapes are completely de-stemmed. The vinification of the must takes place at 30 degrees Celsius and the juice is then aged in 20% new oak. Batonnage is performed once a month. The result is pure, honest wines.
Jeanniard’s operation is based in Morey, but his portfolio stretches over several villages. Perhaps the best value produced by the domaine is the Hautes-Cotes-de-Nuits, blanc. The wine’s intensity of fruit and rich texture bring to mind a good village Meursault, but for a fraction of the price. Several bottlings are made from Morey fruit, including the village level Vieilles Vignes cuvee. Sourced from 45 year old vines, the Vieilles Vignes is very firm and shows a core of intense black fruits. The premier cru vineyards La Riotte and Les Chenevery are both located below the village and produce full, meaty wines. Situated just above Clos de la Roche, the premier cru LesGenavrieres is a stony vineyard with little surface soil. From this terrain, Alain makes a bright, elegant and focused wine. The domaine’s top cuvee comes from the Chambolle-Musigny premier cru Les Combottes. The wine has the silky, smooth charm that one expects from this commune combined with deep, ripe fruit flavors. The British critic Steven Spurrier took notice of the Les Combottes at a trade tasting in the spring of 2008. Mr. Spurrier wrote “Alain Jeannaird, a domaine in Morey-Saint-Denis and new to me, showed tight, intellectual wines with a superb Chambolle 1er Cru Les Combottes that rivaled the Clos des Lambrays on the next table for half the price.”