Olivier and Sandrine Dovergne at Domaine de la Luolle, Moroges, Burgundy.
T

hey are the new kids in town, Olivier and Sandrine Dovergne. Perhaps the new kids in the village is a more appropriate description since Moroges in the Côte Chalonnaise only counts about 600 inhabitants. Half-way through life they decided to switch careers, move to Burgundy and set up a domaine of their own. In 2017 they did their first harvest.

– We spent the first part of our lives in the north of France, near Lille, explains Sandrine Dovergne. We decided to take time off and travel. We wanted to figure out what we wanted to do in the wine world. With the family we set off across the Atlantic in a sailboat. We brought French wine and in each port we made new friends.

Prior to that their interest in wine had been purely a passion in their spare time with tastings and wine clubs, while working as a teacher and an engineer. Eventually, when their journey across the Atlantic had come to and end they decided to go all the way and make their own wine.

– We found this house, which is called La Luolle, says Sandrine Dovergne. It was built 200 years ago and it had not been used for wine production before. We built a cuverie, a storage space and a place where we make the crémants. We took on six and a half hectares of vineyards, which had never been anything but organic. In addition to that we added another hectare of Coteaux Bourguignons around the village and in Mercurey.

Moroges is just west of Chalon-sur-Saône and Givry. The majority of the vineyards of Domaine de la Luolle are in or around Givry. There are several cuvées from regional appellations – in all three colours – Coteaux Bourguignons, Bourgogne Aligoté and Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise.

– Our white Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise, Les Daluz, is not far from Givry, says Sandrine Dovergne. It is on a small slope in Saint-Desert. The soil is clay and limestone, silty.

– It’s up on the slope which produces a good maturity, continues Olivier Dovergne. It’s well drained and well exposed. At the bottom of the same slope you don’t get the same results.

– In Givry it is not far between Les Plants sont Fleuris and Champ Pourot. The soil is quite similar in both places, but Champ Pourot is stonier. The rows do not have the same exposition and Champ Pourot is higher in altitude.

As you enter Givry from the south Champ Pourot and Les Plants sont Fleuris are the first vineyards you see on your left. The Dovergnes’ parcel in Les Plants sont Fleuris is planted with both chardonnay and pinot noir. In red Domaine de la Luolle even produces two different cuvées, one standard and one labelled ”Sélection”. The age of the vines – in both Les Plants sont Fleuris and Champ Pourot – is in average 50-55 years, with parcels planted 20, 50 and 70 years ago.

– Les Plants sont Fleuris spends nine months in barrel and Champ Pourot at least eleven months, says Sandrine Dovergne. The name Champ Pourot comes from "champs de pierre” (fields of stones) because there used to be a Roman road there. On the nose it is quite aromatic with notes of pears, not very buttery as Les Plants sont Fleuris for instance.

In red there are two cuvées of Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise – La Coulée Douce and Les Oiseaux Rares. Both are blends from three parcels. Each of the parcels have its strong points. One has good fruit. One has a nice spiciness. One has good structure. On their own they are not good enough, but blended they complement each other.

– You’ll find the three parcels in Saint-Desert and Rosey, says Sandrine Dovergne. For La Coulée Douce we focus on the fruit and tenderness. Les Oiseaux Rares (the rare birds) takes its name from the fact that one of the parcels is next to a hedge where there are many birds. In French the expression ”oiseau rare” signifies something original, in a positive sense. The two cuvées are vinified in the same way, but we use about 30 per cent whole bunches for Les Oiseaux Rares.

The two cuvées of red Givry, Les Plants sont Fleuris are different in both how the grapes are chosen and how they are vinified. Some of the pinot noir vines, depending during which era they were planted, produce grapes which are more refined. Whole bunches are used. The vinification takes place in oak and the result is bottled as Sélection. The rest, which is more fruity, is vinified in concrete tanks and used for the other cuvée.

– Our Mercurey – Le Balcon – is a parcel just above the premier cru Clos du Roi, says Olivier Dovergne. Between Clos du Roi and the church. It was planted after the classification, so it was not included in the premier cru Griffères, so now it is on the waiting list for an upgrade. But it produces premier cru results.

– The yields are low he continues. It’s a small parcel, 0.30 hectare. Very stony. All work is done by hand there, by foot. It requires a lot of work, but the results are interesting, even if the quantities are small. We use a lot of whole bunches.

Already at the outset Domaine de la Luolle went for the biodynamic approach. They began with 30 per cent of the domaine as an experiment. Today the whole domaine is certified biodynamic.

– When we tasted wines from colleagues who were already working biodynamically we found their wines more appealing, says Sandrine Dovergne.

Domaine de la Luolle is roughly one third reds, one third whites and one third bubbles. Slightly more red than white, though. The different Crémants de Bourgogne, and one Bourgogne Mousseux, are all made at the domaine.

© 2022 Ola Bergman