2017 Reds - A High Wire Act from Marc Soyard

By: Josh Adler

Since his first vintage in 2014, Marc Soyard has managed to perfectly balance between the worlds of natural wine and “serious” Burgundy - a most impressive balancing act indeed. Perhaps because he is originally from the Jura, and not from the Côte d’Or, he has an unusual vision of winemaking in a region that hews close to tradition. Who else would release a shockingly light red Burgundy nouveau jokingly called Deprimeur?

Since the city of Dijon selected Marc to take over the vineyards and winemaking at Domaine de la Cras in 2014, the vineyards have been farmed organically, and all wines have been made with native yeast and no temperature control in the cellar. Marc has used increasing amounts of whole cluster in his red wines, and in 2017 nearly all of the cuvées are 100% whole cluster. The exception is the Coteaux de Dijon, produced with a “whole-cluster sandwich” method that Marc made up - a base layer of one third whole cluster at the bottom of the tank, followed by a third destemmed grapes, and finally another third of whole cluster on top. Fermentation and Elevage is sans-soufre, with a small amount of SO2 added add bottling for all cuvées except L’Equilibriste.

The wines from Marc Soyard have always been excellent, but 2017 shows a clear step up to the next level. Marc attributes the improvement to 3 years of organic viticulture and work in the vines, but I have a hunch the winemaker deserves a bit of credit as well.

Without further ado, a rundown of the 2017 red wines from Domaine de la Cras.

The designation Coteaux de Dijon is officially “tolerated” for the Domaine de la Cras vineyards within the AOP Bourgogne, though it is not necessary to add it for all wines that come from these vineyards.

Domaine de la Cras 2017

Bourgogne Coteaux de Dijon Rouge - vinified using the “whole cluster sandwich” method described above. ⅔ whole cluster, ⅓ destemmed. Grapes come from En Bessy, a lieu-dit next to the winery in Plombières-les-Dijon, planted in 1983 and 2001. 11 months elevage in mostly used barrels and demi-muids.

Bourgogne “L’Equilibriste” - Grapes come from clonal selections in En Bessy, a lieu-dit next to the winery in Plombières-les-Dijon, planted in 1983 and 2001. Vinified 100% whole cluster with semi-carbonic maceration.9 months elevage in used barrels and demi-muids. Bottled sans-soufre.

Bourgogne Coteaux de Dijon “Cras” - Tasted out of barrel. Grapes come from the oldest vines in En Bessy, a lieu-dit next to the winery in Plombières-les-Dijon, planted in 1983. Vinified 100% whole cluster with semi-carbonic maceration. 18 months elevage in used barrels and demi-muids. To be bottled in Spring 2019.

Marc Soyard

Wines under the Marc Soyard label are from vineyards owned by Marc outside the Coteaux de Dijon area. The vineyards and harvest are managed exactly the same as Domaine de la Cras by Marc, and vinified at Domaine de la Cras.

Bourgogne Montre-Cul - Grapes come from the imaginatively named Montre-Cul (show your ass), a 4 hecatre vineyard which is one of the last remaining parcels within the city limits of Dijon. Supposedly, the vineyard is so steep that you can see the knickers of the person in front of you. A quick visit will reveal that most of the vineyard is actually flat, and only the very top part has any significant slope, where Soyard’s small parcel of vines can be found. Vinified 100% whole cluster with semi-carbonic maceration. 18 months elevage in used barrels and demi-muids. Bottled in Spring 2019.

Bourgogne Hermaion - These grapes come from Marc’s 0.20 hectare parcel in Ladoix which suffered hail damage in 2016 and again in 2017, resulting in painfully low yields. Vinified 100% whole cluster with semi-carbonic maceration. 18 months elevage in used barrels and demi-muids. Bottled in Spring 2019.

Tercet

Marc started the Tercet label in 2017 with two friends who have deep connections in Burgundy. All wines are vinified and bottled by Marc Soyard at Domaine de la Cras in Plombières-les-Dijon.

Bourgogne Rouge - These grapes come from Marc’s own vineyards at Domaine de la Cras that are used to make the Bourgogne Coteaux de Dijon, and were part of Marc’s participation to help start Tercet. Vinification is 100% whole cluster, with an elevage of 9 months in used barrels.

Pommard “En Boeuf” - From a 0.15 hectare parcel in Pommard planted in 1934. This microparcel is owned and farmed organically by one of the partners in Tercet, then harvested and vinified by Marc Soyard at Domaine de la Cras. Vinified 100% whole cluster with semi-carbonic maceration. 18 months elevage in used barrels and demi-muids. Bottled in Spring 2019. Wow.