Denis Carré, a passionate wine enthusiast, produces wines in his vineyard of 13 hectares in Meloisey, in the heart of the Hautes Cotes de Beaune AOC, with his wife and children.
All of the 13 appellations made by the Carré family are harvested by hand at the perfect stage of maturity to ensure a good concentration of fruit. The wood aging process is conducted with the potential of each cru firmly in mind to ensure that the final result is perfectly balanced. In Master of Wine Clive Coates’ opinion, this is one of best value for money Burgundy domaines.
Domaine Denis Carré practices ‘lutte raisonnée,’ which is essentially the same as sustainable viticulture. All of the fruit is hand harvested, including green harvest, and vinified using natural yeast. The white wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks. The reds undergo a cold soak and are then fermented in concrete vats. The wines are aged in tank and barrel, depending on the cuvée, and filtered.
Many producers are born into a wine domaine: their parents, grandparents and great grandparents probably grew grapes. Little by little vineyards and equipment were purchased. Production increased. When the patriarch retired, a new generation slips into place. They continue to expand the domaine’s releases. They’re the latest in the composite work of many generations with similar goals.
Some producers, however, begin with nothing. Such was the case of Denis Carré, who was not born into a wine family. But when he reached his teenage years and had harvested grapes in his native Burgundy for a few years, he knew what he wanted to do.
In 1975 he took his savings and rented a parcel of vines, later producing three barrels of Passetoutgrain. While financing his dreams working in a garage at night, his days were spent in the vines and small winery he began constructing in the late seventies in Meloisey in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune. Hautes Côtes or high slopes comes from the fact that most of the appellation’s 1,000 hectares of vineyards are at an elevation that ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 feet, well-above the height of the more famous vineyards in the Côte d’Or.
Nearly forty years later, the old family house is now surrounded by a modern winery and underground aging cellars. Their 13 hectares of vines are spread over 8 appellations from which they produce 12 wines. While Denis and his wife Bernadette’s children, Martial and Gaetane, have worked at the domaine for many years in various capacities, they both began working full time in 2008 with Martial in the vines and acting a winemaker and Gaetane directing the business side of things.
The vines are worked sustainably, and their lutte raisonnée certification is a testament to their green philosophy. They plow their vineyards a number of times during the spring, drop excessive fruit, harvest by hand and vinify using only natural yeasts. The white wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks. The reds are de-stemmed and undergo a cold soak and then go into concrete vats to ferment. Some cuvées are aged in tank, some in barrel, others in a combination of both. All wines are bottled after a very light filtration. The domaine produces about 100,000 bottles annually.