Quite simply, Bruno Lorenzon is one of the most exciting and talented producers in our entire list. Based in the Côte Chalonnaise, just to the south of Chassagne-Montrachet, he is fashioning a range of wines many producers in ‘grander’ appellations further north could only dream of.
When we bought Domaine Direct back in the early days of the Covid pandemic, much of the focus of the acquisition was on the flamboyant playmakers of the Côte d’Or; the likes of Coche-Dury, Roumier and Lafon. Yet, with his small domaine of just under 9 hectares, Bruno ignites a remarkable passion for his wines in anyone lucky enough to taste them and shows just what can be achieved with ‘humble’ vineyards from Montagny (3 hectares) and Mercurey (6 hectares), with the right person at the helm.
Chez Bruno, it’s all about growing great grapes. For all his evident genius in the winery, he needs quality fruit to work his magic and much of his focus is on his vineyard work, which is exemplary. He works organically and has not used herbicides in his vineyards for 30 years. Plantings are quite dense, with resulting yields low. But Bruno’s attention to detail does not end when he steps back into the winery. His involvement in the production of his oak barrels is a great example of this; not only does he design them himself, but he selects the wood that is used to make them. Most wines enjoy up to 2 years élevage, spending between 12 and 18 months in said barrels before a further 4 or 5 months in stainless to steel to give them time to marry and settle. New oak varies from zero to around 40% depending upon the cuvée.
The sheer intensity of the wines is a delight. This, combined with a mesmerizing purity and a high level of complexity, lifts them way above most of their peers. The whites have strong mineral undertones and an impressive level of dry extract, whilst the reds are wonderfully aromatic with gorgeously refined tannins. Oak is perfectly handled, never dominating, merely supporting the star of the show. So often reds from this part of Burgundy are either over-oaked to hide the rusticity of the wine or under-fruited to help lift its clunkiness. Here, such maquillage is unnecessary, such is the refinement and balance of the fruit. The saltiness, minerality and drive of the whites is impressive, and they each leave the palate wanting more.
These 2020s are sublime but, sadly, they serve merely to highlight the tragedy that befell the domaine in 2021 when Bruno lost around 90% of his production to early April frost. With so little in the pipeline we secured everything we could in 2020, although one fears the allocation process will result in a yawning gap between supply and demand. We will do our best to accommodate your wish lists, but, inevitably, we will be obliged to cut back or substitute certain wines. Happily, all the wines come highly recommended so whatever we are able to provide you with will, hopefully, bring a smile to your lips in a few years’ time when you pull the cork.