t may sound modest. Sylvain Dussort's main appellation is Bourgogne blanc. Half of Domaine Sylvain Dussort is made up of this. But when the vines are located around Meursault and in the hands of a skilled winegrower it is a different story.
– Meursault is such a large village, so when the appellations were drawn up the appellation Meursault village ended up quite high on the slope, leaving a lot of very good land for the Bourgogne appellation. Many of my Bourgogne blanc parcels, like En l'Ormeau, Les Pellans, Les Dressolles and Les Grandes Coutures, are bordering on the Meursault appellation, explains Sylvain Dussort.
Domaine Sylvain Dussort is a six hectare domaine located down on Rue Charles Giraud in Meursault, out towards the route nationale. The domaine was created by Sylvain Dussort's parents, but it wasn't until Sylvain's arrival at the domaine in the early 1980's that they began bottling their own wine.
– When my parents started out it wasn't 100 per cent wine, says Sylvain Dussort. My father had a business on the side for phytosanitary products, corks, bottles etc. When I took over that business was very small.
At the time Domaine Dussort was only half its present size. No red wine was produced, only Meursault, Bourgogne blanc and Bourgogne Aligoté.
– I bought some more Meursault, says Sylvain Dussort, a lot more Bourgogne blanc and the reds – Beaune, Chorey-lès-Beaune and Bourgogne rouge.
– I have 15 different parcels of Bourgogne blanc. All of them are in Meursault, from the Volnay side north of Meursault to the Puligny-Montrachet side south of Meursault. My parents sold the wine en vrac or to négociants. I started to bottle, but in the beginning I only made one single cuvée of Bourgogne blanc. As the years went on I ended up with vines of different age. I had vines that were 30–35 years old and I had those who were five. So I started making two different cuvées, vinfied differently.
There is the Bourgogne, Cuvée des Couture, which sees very little oak. Vinification mainly takes place in vats for a minimum of 14 to months. The vines are younger, between 15 and 35 years old, and are located in Les Dressolles, Les Grandes Coutures, Les Lame-Roses and Les Durots.
– For this cuvée I focus on the fruit and the freshness. The other cuvée – Bourgogne, Cuvée des Ormes – comes from older vines, between 30 and 50 years old, in En L'Ormeau and Les Pellans. Vinification takes place in barrels, but there is no new oak, just barrels that have been used for one, two or three wines before. In general I bottle the Cuvée des Ormes after 18 to 20 months.
– All the different parcels have different characters; they are spread out all over Meursault. On the Puligny-Montrachet side you have the white soil and on the other side, close to Volnay Santenots there is red soil. On this side the soil is fatter and richer. It produces a more opulent wine. Together all these parcels make a good blend.
One step up in the hierarchy, Sylvain Dussort has the same approach for his Meursault wines. In total he makes the different Meursault village – a Meursault, a Meursault Limozin and a Meursault Vieilles Vignes.
– My old vines Meursault is a blend of Les Pelles and Les Forges. The Limozin I used to blend with the straight Meursault, but the vines are getting older so nowadays I make a separate cuvée from this lieu-dit. They are 25 years old now, so it is starting to be interesting.
– Limozin is a beautiful Meursault, surrounded by Charmes and Genevrères (both premier crus). It is vinified in barrels and bottled after 18 to 20 months. The vinification is exactly the same as for the Cuvée des Ormes. I'm not a fan of oak, so there is only ten to 30 per cent of new oak, depending on the vintage.
Looking back Sylvain Dussort thinks Meursault as a whole has been going through a period where there has been a tendency to pick a little bit late, with loss of acidity and heavier wines as a result.
– You gain richness and opulence, but you get a wine which is tiring to drink up. It is important to find the right balance. A wine which is too nerveux isn't good either.
Domaine Sylvain Dussort is a white domaine. Only a quarter of the surface area is planted with pinot noir. For the Bourgogne rouge the vines are located in Meursault, on the Volnay side of the village. In addition to that there is Beaune and Chorey-lès-Beaune.
– The Beaune is a Beaune Les Blanches Fleurs, says Sylvain Dussort. It is a village appellation on the Savigny-lés-Beaune side of Beaune, just below the premier cru of the same name. Because of its size the character of the wines are different depending on which side of Beaune you are. The Beaunes on the Pommard side resemble the Pommard wines. My Beaune is more like a Savigny-lès-Beaune, more supple, more fruitiy.
– The Chorey-lès-Beaune is a small parcel in Les Beaumonts. It's on your left as you leave Beaune, above the route nationale. It's surrounded by Savigny-lès-Beaune and Aloxe-Corton. It's a nice parcel, it produces wines that are a bit more tannic.
Both the Beaune Les Blanches Fleurs and the Chorey-lès-Beaune Les Beaumonts are vinified in barrels. They see ten to 30 per cent new oak and are bottled after 14 to 15 months.
– When I started people were familiar with Beaune, but not with the wines from Beaune. The wine from Chorey-lès-Beaune was blended with wine from other villages and sold as Côte-de-Beaune-Villages. Today people are looking for these wines, because with lesser-known villages the wines are less expensive.
© 2011 Ola Bergman