Domaine de la Bongran Grand Vin de Bourgogne Viré Clesse 2012
Winegrower: Gautier Thevenet
Region: Viré Clesse, Mâconnais (Burgundy) France
Delivery: June 2018
“…these are the wines of a genius… Thevenet makes the finest wines of the Mâconnais.”
- Robert Parker
“Gautier Thevenet took over from his father Jean in 2000, but nothing has changed at this domaine, celebrated since the early 20th century for its uncompromising winemaking. Low-yielding Chardonnay selections, late harvests and protracted fermentation and maturation in tank produce deep, concentrated, singular wines.”
- Decanter Magazine, June 2017
This wine is a triumph! When a Chardonnay over delivers like this, it’s impossible to beat. And if you love Chardonnay as much as I do, you should snap up all you can because you won’t find it cheaper anywhere else. This wine is delicious, complex and fascinating, and just as age-worthy – possibly even more so – than most Burgundies. De la Bongran is the Thevenet family’s original flagship domaine. Their Viré-Clessé is the stuff of legends; what they are able to do with Chardonnay is nothing short of amazing. We are able to offer this incredible Chardonnay for $46, but be aware; this wine is difficult to find and easily sells for $50 and more. This is the most delicious, complex, and compelling white wine you’ll find from the Mâconnais and exceeds many from the Côte de Beaune, but at a far better price. If you’ve been a following our emails for a while you might recall we offered this wine last year. It sold out quickly then and we expect the same this year, so act now to avoid disappointment
In Viré Clessé, an appellation in the Mâconnais in Southern Burgundy, Gautier Thevenet crafts Chardonnays that transcend any preconceived notions you may have about this region. Mainly known for mass-produced, ordinary, primarily white café wines from large co-operatives and négociants, the Mâconnais also has winegrowers of greatness. Today’s Domaine de la Bongran hails from such a vigneron. Gautier is a staunch non-interventionist who produces Chardonnays of great distinction and complexity. He farms his clay and limestone soils as naturally as possible; chemicals haven’t been used in his family’s vineyards for over 40 years, and he drastically reduces the yields and harvests later than anyone else in the region. This leads to wines of much greater depth and richness.
Domaine de la Bongran is grown in a 4.5-hectare vineyard of clay with white marl subsoils. The vines are 40 to 60 years old and all vineyard work is by hand. Cool fermentations with natural, indigenous yeasts and takes about two years. The wine is aged in old oak on its fine lees and then lightly filtered and bottled with minimal sulphur added. The wines are then further aged in bottle before being released. Today’s wine is a terroir-driven beauty of poised fruit, elegant balance and beautiful, bold aromatics.
In ancient times, the Mâconnais was a major Roman crossroads and an early site of viticulture. Here the vines occupy a landscape of little hills and valleys that look like they were painted with watercolours. Today the appellation’s best winegrowers are delivering an unprecedented level of quality and have received much well deserved praise. Located in southern Burgundy, Mâconnais generally has the same type of soils as its more northern neighbors but enjoys a slightly warmer climate. This can result in wines with a touch more fruit and richness.
The Thevenet family has been living and making wine in the Mâconnais since the 15th century. For over 100 years they have stayed true to their tradition of taking time to make the best wines possible using a traditional approach. Gautier’s father, Jean, was one of the early proponents of organic, minimalist, natural viticulture and winemaking in France in the early 1980’s. Gautier learned his craft from his father, who in-turn learned it from his father when there were no oenology schools and vignerons were clueless about malo-lactic fermentation. Gautier makes his wines the traditional way, the way that wines were made before the two World Wars. He is a vigneron that takes the risks necessary to create great wine. It all starts in his vineyards along the slopes of the village of Quintaine where he farms without the use of any artificial chemicals and more importantly harvests later than anyone else in the region. This yields fully ripe, mature, flavourful grapes, but always at the risk of frost destroying the crop.
Domaine de la Bongran 2012 pulsates with life, incredible purity of fruit and the essence of the soil. It’s a beautifully crafted Chardonnay that displays the Thevenet family’s trademark richness, complexity, depth and elegance. Deep golden in colour, when you swirl this wine it behaves more like a red, clinging noticeably to the side of the glass. The bouquet is a heady, intoxicating mix of white flowers, orange blossoms, fennel and spice. It has a wonderful mineral backbone and mouth-watering, refreshing acidity that chimes in perfect harmony with its residual sugar of honeyed fruit to produce a perfectly balanced wine with a long finish. Serve this wine at 10˚ in white wine stems with this delicious chanterelle chicken pasta and enjoy. This is a stunning, luxurious wine at a great price. Our allocation is small so what are you waiting for?