Domaine des Croix

Beaune Vivant: Beguiling Red and White Burgundies from a Grower on the Rise

David Croix is hot property right now. For those just tuning in, the tiny seven-hectare Domaine des Croix is now one of Burgundy’s brightest stars. Not only does he excite us with the outstanding quality of his wines, but David Croix also reminds us just how great the wines of Beaune can be, and not before time. For aeons, the wines of Beaune have been wholly underappreciated in the world of Burgundy; thanks to the area being dominated by larger negociants and the Hospices de Beaune. Indeed, as Croix points out, although the appellation spans 44 Crus, you would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of grower-producers bottling their own wine (and even then, a number of these are generic blends). David Croix has made it his mission to return Beaune to the glory that its best terroirs deserve.

Born and raised in Montlouis, Croix left the Loire Valley to study the Diplôme national d’oenologue in Burgundy. Completing the two-year course in half that time, he soon found himself under the tutelage of Benjamin Leroux at Pommard’s talent foundry, Comte Armand. I’m guessing the young apprentice must have shown a great deal of promise, as within a few years Croix was approached by Becky Wasserman to head up the historic négociant Camille Giroud. By this point, Croix had reached the ripe old age of 24.

Beaune has not had a benchmark artisan for far too long: Domaine des Croix is now well on the way to filling that gap.

Wasserman noted that although young, Croix has long been considered un homme sérieux in the wine world, a conscientious and shrewd wine mind who is wise beyond his years. By 2004 he had joined a group of American investors to purchase the vineyards and winemaking apparatus of the underperforming Beaune estate, Domaine Duchet. With 5.5 hectares spread across the vineyards of Beaune and a little Corton, the new entity was named Domaine des Croix, after the rising star who was to head it up. Croix continued his role at Giraud (a position he would leave in December 2016 after 15 years of service). Domaine des Croix released its first wines in 2005 and has now grown, each year releasing 14 wines including Beaune villages, six Beaune Premiers Crus and two Corton Grand Crus. The single white wine hails from two small parcels in En Charlemagne.

Croix’s work in the vines is extremely precise: he coaxes out the kind of balance, fresh fruit and mineral crunch seldom encountered in other Beaune wines. His craft in the cellar also continues to evolve, eking out a level of purity and finesse that is often considered the exclusive birthright of Côte de Nuits growers. The vineyards, which have been managed organically since 2008, take up the lion’s share of Croix’s work at the Domaine. His vines are typically exceptionally low yielding, and in the cellar, his measured use of new oak and thoughtful use of whole bunches, minimal sulphur and comparatively long lees aging; mirrors the precise and softly-softly approach of his friend (and neighbour) Benjamin Leroux. The red wines are fermented with natural yeasts in wooden vats, before being separated into pressings and free-run juice wines. The wines are then aged in mostly neutral oak for between 12 and 15 months. After blending and resting in tank, the wines are bottled unfiltered. Croix’s wines are seductive and delicious, and yet, for all their approachability, they are also wines of serious depth, cascading textures and fine structure. Importantly, Croix’s wines speak loudly and proudly of the terroirs from which they come.

For a long time, the wines of Beaune have been underappreciated in the world of Burgundy. This is largely because the commune is dominated by the big négociants. It was precisely Beaune’s ‘modern-day underdog’ status that inspired Croix to get involved in this project.

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“David Croix is rapidly gaining kudos within Burgundy as a winemaker with that “touch,”—a preternatural gift for making wine and giving it that extra “je ne sais quoi.” Every year he seems to be honing his craft. If you have not climbed on board and discovered David’s wines for yourself, do so now.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

Country

France

Primary Region

Côte de Beaune

People

David Croix

Availability

National

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