2000 – Wine

Burgundy’s wine reputation owes much to time honored traditions. But is the latest generation of wine makers following familiar foosteps, or blazing its own trail ? Kim Maxwell finds out.


« I know what each parcel can do for quality and I try to have the ideal number of grapes per vine, not hectolitres per hectare. Unlike the previous generation where quantity was important, now there is a lot more focus on quality with every vintage. » Former literature student Anne Gros has been making wine since she was 18. Now 30, she has seen the family domaine grow from 3 to 6.5ha, and has recently installed an impressive barrel cellar. She used wooden vats for fermenting reds initially, but now favours cement tanks.

Gros’s approach uses science only to confirm intuition. « When I vinify I don’t bring my samples to oenologists until afterwards. I’d rather do it myself and trust my own instincts. » The biggest change that she has introduced in five years is the destalking of all grapes to produce soft tannins; for the rest she builds on what her father François started.

« It takes time to understand what Pinot Noir is – the time in oak, the terroir, which clones I grow. Some produce a dark wine, more like Shiraz. But in fact that isn’t what Pinot is about, » Gros says, offering a barrel sample of Vosne-Romanée village 1998, with elegant spicy cherries enveloped in oak. Going up a step, Clos du Vougeot Grand Cru 1998, with a smoky cherry and blackcurrant nose, offers classic style, while Vosne-Romanée Richebourg Grand Cru 1998 shows more power and tannin structure, with dark chocolate elegance.

Aside from trying to perfect Pinot, Gros is making a Chardonnay Bourgogne Blanc and Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc. « In 1996 I produced one barrel. From 1999 I’ll be producing five barrels. It gives me the opportunity to try to make a white. »