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Domaine Bruno Clair, Marsannay Les Grasses Têtes 2016

Red Wine from France - Burgundy
A wine of both power with finesse (the result of the sweet tannins that typify the 2016 vintage) and a certain solidity of structure, imparted by the red clay soils of Grasses Têtes.
Price: £38.00 Bottle
Price: £228.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: BU68881

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Pinot Noir
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2025
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Côte de Nuits

Taking its name from the town at its heart, Nuits-St-Georges, the Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d’Or, the escarpment upon which lie the greatest of Burgundy’s vineyards. Though there are a number of very fine white wines made it is the reds for which the Côte de Nuits is truly famous. Compared with the red wines of the Côte de Beaune the reds from Nuits have more sophisticated tannins, extra body and a more sumptuous texture than their southern counterparts.

The soils of the area are predominantly limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The finest have a happy conjunction of silt and scree over marl with protected and sunny aspects in some of the side-valleys that cut into the escarpment from west to east. These cuts provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as the various aspects. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile...
Taking its name from the town at its heart, Nuits-St-Georges, the Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d’Or, the escarpment upon which lie the greatest of Burgundy’s vineyards. Though there are a number of very fine white wines made it is the reds for which the Côte de Nuits is truly famous. Compared with the red wines of the Côte de Beaune the reds from Nuits have more sophisticated tannins, extra body and a more sumptuous texture than their southern counterparts.

The soils of the area are predominantly limestone of various types, which is excellent for drainage but also retention of water. The finest have a happy conjunction of silt and scree over marl with protected and sunny aspects in some of the side-valleys that cut into the escarpment from west to east. These cuts provide a number of meso- and microclimates as well as the various aspects. The best sites are neither at the top or the bottom of these slopes where the soils are too impoverished or too fertile respectively. More generic wines are produced at the top and bottom of these slopes, with the Premiers Crus and Grand Crus in a band running along the upper middle.

The climate here is semi-continental, though northerly winds can temper a hot summer while warmer winds from the south can bring warmth. Westerly winds that ultimately originate in the Atlantic can bring rain but at its worst may deliver devastating hail in incredibly localised storms. There is a degree of unpredictability about vintages in Burgundy that mean more variation than in any other fine wine region.

The appellations that sit above the generic regional ACs in the hierarchy are Marsannay, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Echézaux and Nuits-St-George. Côte de Nuits –Villages is made from grapes grown at either end of the Côte, where the soils and sites are less impressive. Gevrey-Chambertin is a complete and balanced wine, full and harmonious. Wines from Nuits-St-Georges are the most tannic and, like Pommards, need long maturation. For many Vosne-Romanée is the summit. Its wines have beautiful velvety palates: dense and soft, sensuous and tactile. Chambolle-Musigny is the lightest yet one of the most fragrant wines of the Côte de Nuits. It is perhaps Nuits's equivalent of Volnay; a pretty, fine boned wine with exquisite perfume and a silky palate.
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Domaine Bruno Clair

Bruno Clair began on his own in 1979 when his father's famous Domaine Clair-Dau was fragmented as a result of family disagreements and France’s Napoleonic inheritance laws. Bruno began with plots in Marsannay and Fixin, a small parcel in Savigny-Les-Beaune and a fallow plot that needed replanting in Morey-Saint-Denis, upon which he established an excellent reputation. By 1985 the parts of the old estates which had been retained by his family were in disarray and the various members asked Bruno to take control which he gladly did, adding vines in Clos de Bèze, Cazetiers, Clos-Saint-Jacques, Vosne-Romanée, Clos de Fonteny and Chambolle-Musigny to the portfolio. During the 1990s purchases of land in Corton-Charlemagne, Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton, and Gevrey-Chambertin Petite Chapelle further enhanced the holdings under his command and brought the total area to 23 hectares.

Not only does Domaine Bruno Clair have a prestigious portfolio but it also has an enviable selection of clones, pioneered by his father and developed by Bruno during careful observation in the vineyards. In his work he is aided by his close friend and valued colleague Philippe Brun, who has been with him from the very beginning.

The viticulture throughout is built on organic principles though without seeking certification in order that any particularly difficult vintages can be treated as a last resort. However, yields are kept low through painstaking work and everything is hand-harvested and sorted in ...
Bruno Clair began on his own in 1979 when his father's famous Domaine Clair-Dau was fragmented as a result of family disagreements and France’s Napoleonic inheritance laws. Bruno began with plots in Marsannay and Fixin, a small parcel in Savigny-Les-Beaune and a fallow plot that needed replanting in Morey-Saint-Denis, upon which he established an excellent reputation. By 1985 the parts of the old estates which had been retained by his family were in disarray and the various members asked Bruno to take control which he gladly did, adding vines in Clos de Bèze, Cazetiers, Clos-Saint-Jacques, Vosne-Romanée, Clos de Fonteny and Chambolle-Musigny to the portfolio. During the 1990s purchases of land in Corton-Charlemagne, Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton, and Gevrey-Chambertin Petite Chapelle further enhanced the holdings under his command and brought the total area to 23 hectares.

Not only does Domaine Bruno Clair have a prestigious portfolio but it also has an enviable selection of clones, pioneered by his father and developed by Bruno during careful observation in the vineyards. In his work he is aided by his close friend and valued colleague Philippe Brun, who has been with him from the very beginning.

The viticulture throughout is built on organic principles though without seeking certification in order that any particularly difficult vintages can be treated as a last resort. However, yields are kept low through painstaking work and everything is hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyards. Reds are partially destemmed prior to fermentation through the action of natural yeasts in open wooden vats for up to three weeks before seeing time in oak. The amount of new oak each wine sees depend on its designation within the hierarchy.

White grapes are gently pressed and the juice fermented again through the use of natural yeasts in oak barrels with batonnage. Thee whites then spend between 16 and 20 months in 20-50% new oak. The domaine also produces rosé in Marsannay as well as aligoté.
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Burgundy Vintage 2016

It is difficult to compare this special vintage with previous ones: the wines have the aromas of a cool year and the palates of a ripe one. Normally, wines with ripe palates will have less intense aromas, while aromatic wines can have excessive acidity or scratchy tannins. In 2016, we have all the benefits and none of the disadvantages. The only big problem is quantity: 2016 produced roughly half a normal crop due to a severe frost. What has been made, however, is exceptional.

Reds are pure, intense and exquisite, especially in the Côte d’Or, which had the best weather. Combine this with deep colour, ripe fruit, sweet tannins and a fresh finish, and one has something very rare. The ripe character and the quality of the tannins are remarkable.

There is some inconsistency in style – the frost damage is very variable, so that leads to great differences in yield and therefore ripeness – but quality is uniformly high, with medium to long-term ageing potential. An exceptional year.

The whites ...
It is difficult to compare this special vintage with previous ones: the wines have the aromas of a cool year and the palates of a ripe one. Normally, wines with ripe palates will have less intense aromas, while aromatic wines can have excessive acidity or scratchy tannins. In 2016, we have all the benefits and none of the disadvantages. The only big problem is quantity: 2016 produced roughly half a normal crop due to a severe frost. What has been made, however, is exceptional.

Reds are pure, intense and exquisite, especially in the Côte d’Or, which had the best weather. Combine this with deep colour, ripe fruit, sweet tannins and a fresh finish, and one has something very rare. The ripe character and the quality of the tannins are remarkable.

There is some inconsistency in style – the frost damage is very variable, so that leads to great differences in yield and therefore ripeness – but quality is uniformly high, with medium to long-term ageing potential. An exceptional year.

The whites have a similar blend of freshness and ripeness – traits that are usually diametrically opposed. To find them in the same wines is very unusual.

There is a little more variation in style and quality than for the reds. The Côte d’Or was the warmest region, while Chablis was distinctly cooler, with a rainy September, making bright, tense and classic wines. The Mâconnais, spared the frost, was successful too, but 1,500ha were damaged by hail in the south of the region.
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2016 vintage reviews

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