Marie-France Largeot at Domaine Daniel Largeot in Chorey-lès-Beaune.
– F

or us Chorey-lès-Beaune is the little brother of Aloxe-Corton. A bit sturdy, with fruit and substance. Savigny-lès-Beaune is all about finesse, elegance and silk. Aloxe-Corton is rather sturdy, masculine and quite tannic. Beaune premier cru Les Grèves is a robust wine with tannins, combined with finesse and elegance.

Marie-France Largeot at Domaine Daniel Largeot in Chorey-lès-Beaune has been running the family estate since 2000. For a 13-hectare domaine in Burgundy there are unusually few appellations in this cellar. Including the regionals the total number of appellations is just six.

Les Beaumonts, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Burgundy.– Here in the village we are the biggest producer of Chorey-lès-Beaune, she says. We have more than six hectares, including four in Les Beaumonts. At the moment Les Beaumonts is the only one I sell in bottle. In the future I will probably make another cuvée since we have parcels in Les Champs Longs, Les Bons Ores and Champ Piétant as well.

Chorey-lès-Beaune is just a five-minute drive north of Beaune. The main part of the appellation is located east of the Beaune-Dijon road, with only Les Beaumonts and Les Ratosses on the same side of the road as Aloxe-Corton and Savigny-lès-Beaune. Les Beaumonts is bordering on both those villages and is often considered as one of the best lieux-dits of Chorey-lès-Beaune.

– We have eight different parcels in Les Beaumonts, says Marie-France Largeot. The age of the vines varies very much. I have maintained my father's philosophy to uproot and replant some vines every year. My oldest vines are those my grandfather planted. In 2016 I uprooted vines planted in 1926.

Domaine Daniel Largeot, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Burgundy.It was the grandfather of Marie-France Largeot who created the domaine around 1925. Before that there had been no winegrowers in the family.

Savigny-lès-Beaune, Burgundy.– My grandfather married the daughter of a winegrower, says Marie-France Largeot. That’s how he came to have some vineyards. Before that he was a farm worker. His parents were lumberjacks. My husband on the other hand is the 13th generation winegrower in his family.

Her grandfather did not bottle at all. Her father did some bottling – just between 4000 and 5000 bottles annually – but sold most of the production to négociants. Since the arrival of Marie-France Largeot and her husband Rémy Martin at the domaine bottling has increased considerably. Some is still sold to négociants, but annual production in bottle has now reached 50 000.

– For the future I would like to work more with different parcels, separate them into cuvées, says Marie-France Largeot. Until now we have had to focus on bottling a lot more ourselves.

You’ll find all the vineyards of Domaine Daniel Largeot in Chorey-lès-Beaune or in any of the neighbouring villages. This includes the regional appellations – the Bourgogne rouge and the only white of the domaine, the Bourgogne Aligoté – which are both from vineyards in Chorey-lès-Beaune.

Domaine Daniel Largeot, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Burgundy.– With the Bourgogne rouge I try to make a brasserie style of wine. A light wine with fruit and freshness. It’s made with a brasserie or a BBQ in mind. A simple wine.

– For the aligoté I do a macération pelliculaire. I keep the grapes in the juice at 10°C for about twelve hours. Then I press. I do this in order to have a maximum of fruit. It produces a wine which has a balance between fruit and acidity. The aligoté vines are 30 years old and you’ll find them just behind Champs Longs and Les Bons Ores.

Choosing a career was not particularly difficult for her. Being one of three sister Marie-France Largeot was always the one following their father around when he was working. Still, there was never any pressure that any of them should take on the family domaine.

Corton, Burgundy.– I was lucky, she explains, because he was a cool guy. When I had finished high school and had my baccalauréat he said I knew the basics to make wine. He pointed at one of the tanks in the winery and said ”You do as you please”. When you’re 18 that’s not an easy task. He didn’t say anything, but he was always there by my side and I learnt a lot.

In Burgundy distances are rarely far and the vineyards of Domaine Daniel Largeot are a good example of that. Les Beaumonts in Chorey-lès-Beaune touches the corner of another lieu-dit of the domaine, Les Pimentiers in Savigny-lès-Beaune.

– When you go from Chorey-lès-Beaune to Savigny-lès-Beaune, after you have crossed the route nationale there is an S-shaped bend of the road. That’s where our vines are. We have two parcels there. It’s flat and stony. Not much soil. Generally the wines there, below Savigny, are fruity. Higher up they are more tannic.

The use of new oak at Domaine Daniel Largeot is modest, much thanks to Marie-France Largeot’s experiences in Australia. When she had finished wine school in 2000 she left for an internship in the Barossa Valley, near Rowland Flat, for three months.

– In Australia they use a lot of new oak, but that doesn’t interest me, she says. For me it’s about the combination of old and new barrels. For the Chorey-lès-Beaune and the Savigny-lès-Beaune I use 15 per cent new oak. For the Aloxe-Corton it’s between 30 and 35 per cent and for the Beaune premier cru Les Grèves close to 50 per cent.

Les Grèves premier cru, Beaune, Burgundy.The Aloxe-Corton comes from Les Boutières, a lieu-dit at the southeastern end of the appellation. The vines are between 40 and 45 years old.

– My parents bought the parcel in Beaune Les Grèves in the 1990s. We are in the middle. Les Grèves is next to Les Teurons, which is a more tannic wine. Of all the Beaune premier crus Les Grèves is the most subtle, with lots of finesse. Like elsewhere it’s clay and limestone. Lots of laves, flat stones.

Harvest at Domaine Daniel Largeot is done by machine. Pinot noir and harvest machine is often regarded as a difficult combination, but Marie-France Largeot sees advantages.

– There are harvesters you can hire, but they drive at twice the speed of our own driver. When I’m at the winery receiving the harvest I want whole grapes, not crushed grapes. Our driver understands our philosophy. It’s all about quality, not how fast you harvest. Thanks to the harvest machine and the fact that we use small cases that fill quickly the grapes are in tank just 30-45 minutes after they have been harvested.

© 2019 Ola Bergman