DOMAINE ALAIN GRAS
Alain Gras has long been acknowledged as the pre-eminent vigneron in Saint-Romain – a village of wonderfully sited vineyards and a greater proportion of limestone than any other commune in Burgundy. It has also benefited greatly from recent climate change – meaning that previously overly cool sites, due to their high altitude, are now routinely achieving full ripeness and physiological maturity.
His stunningly situated domaine comprises 12 hectares of Saint-Romain (8ha planted to Chardonnay and 4ha to Pinot Noir). He has 42 separate parcels in all, but prefers blending the grapes from the individual sites to ensure complexity and consistency. The Saint-Romain Blanc, from vines which average 40 years old, displays an impressive ripe core of white stone fruits, expressive minerally, elegance, finesse and tingling acidity. After a gentle pressing, it is vinified in a combination of 80% stainless steel and 20% new oak and bottled after 11 months.
His Saint-Romain Rouge, from 35 year old vines, offers an abundance of beautiful, vivid, bright, juicy red and dark cherry fruit. The grapes are 100% destemmed then fermented on the skins for 12-14 days before maturation for 12 months in 80% lined cement tanks and 20% new oak. He also possesses an incredible 1 hectare vineyard which results in his stunning Auxey-Duresses Rouge Tres Vieilles Vignes. This vineyard was planted in 1908 and over 90% of the original vines remain in astonishingly good health. The wine is vinified in the same way as his Saint-Romain Rouge, but sees 30% new oak. It offers a harmonious blend of profound, ripe, generous, sauvage fruit, fine-grained tannins and exquisite purity.
There are presently 26 restaurants in France with 3 Michelin stars and Alain’s wines are listed in 21 of those gilded establishments.