Domaine Arlaud Morey St Denis 2020
“It’s hard to get good grapes from vines planted on a cement highway,” which is why winemaker Cyprien Arlaud uses horses to plow his vineyards instead of heavy tractors. He took the reins of the domaine in 1997, continuing his ancestors simple and unwavering vision of making pure, benchmark Burgundy. To insure this goal, he began farming biodynamically (certified in 2014). The cellar in Morey St. Denis is one of the coldest in the Côtes de Nuits, helping Cyprien pursue a slow, non-interventionist vinification, with minimal use of SO2. Although a much over-used descriptor, ‘elegant’ is an apt description of this tender and delicate red with notes of red berries. Cyprien also began using horses to plough domaine vineyards in order to keep the soils as healthy and alive as possible. With top holdings in Morey St. Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Vosne-Romanée, he immediately saw the difference in the health of the vines between those that were horse ploughed and those that were ploughed by tractor. As Cyprien notes, “It’s hard to get good grapes from vines planted on a cement highway.” Luckily for him, his sister Bertille has become one of the most important horse ploughers in all of France. With her two horses Nougat and Okapi, she ploughs every single vineyard herself, while also ploughing and training horses for many top estates across the country. The results from this intense care for the vines became evident very quickly, with wines that spoke of terroir in the clearest of voices. In the cellar, intervention is kept to an absolute minimum. Under Cyprien’s stewardship, elegance has been the focus with lower levels of extraction and the reduction of new wood to zero on the Bourgogne and 15-30% on the rest of the lineup. Partial whole cluster is used on the upper level wines (maximum 30%), purely on the nature of the vintage and if the stems are perfectly ripe. The cellar in Morey St. Denis is one of the coldest in the Côtes de Nuits, helping Cyprien pursue a slow, non-interventionist vinification, with minimal use of SO2. All of his wines are also bottled unfined and unfiltered. Meeting Cyprien makes it clear how in touch he is with every meter of vines he farms. He is immensely talented, but also has an insatiable curiosity that allows him to keep learning and keep getting better. We are absolutely sure that his name, and the wines he is crafting today and in the future will go on to live in Burgundy lore.