David Duband | One Man’s Focus on the Climats of Burgundy

David Duband | One Man’s Focus on the Climats of Burgundy

When his father asked him to take over his 37-acre vineyard in the Hautes-Cotes de Beaune, a 20-year-old David Duband was probably still unaware of the legacy he would one day build upon the terroirs of Burgundy. The talented winemaker now manages 50 acres of vines, expanding over 23 appellations, among them some of the most prestigious in the region. Deeply dedicated to expressing in every bottle the unique characteristics of each vine plot, Duband has chosen to return to the traditional Burgundian approach to wine making, one that emphasizes natural organic processes in the vineyard and whole cluster fermentation in the winery. The result is a stunning array of 23 wines, whose complex aromas echo the dazzling patchwork of Burgundy’s “climats.”

A Rising Star in Burgundy

When David Duband took over control of his father’s 37-acre vineyard in the cool, western slopes in the Hautes Cotes, above the Cotes de Nuits, Pierre Duband had been cultivating grapes exclusively for sale to the cooperative winery of Beaune. This was in 1991. Duband quickly enrolled in a winemaking course and began experimenting with making wine from 3.7 acres in the appellations of Nuits St Georges, Nuits St Georges 1er cru “Aux Thorey” and “Les Proces,” using the cellar located below the family house. In the same year, Duband also met Francois Feuillet, a Burgundy-lover and successful magnate who had faith in the young winemaker and proposed a collaboration that would rocket-launch Duband’s career. They began with the 1.2-acre plot that Feuillet purchased in Aux Thorey, a premier cru in Nuits-Sant-Georges. Duband would tend the vines and produce the wine, keeping half for his own label and giving half to Feuillet to sell under his. As Feuillet expanded his holdings, Duband’s empire grew. The mogul began by purchasing vineyards in the Burgundian terroirs of Echezeaux and Vosne-Romanee. In 2006, he added 17 acres of parcels in Chambolle-Musigny, Charmes-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche to Duband’s to-do list. And so it continued, with new parcels in new villages added almost yearly to the collaboration, a chance for David Duband to produce wines from a colorful patchwork of Burgundian climats, each with its own unique soil, weather and distinct expression of Pinot Noir.

© David Duband

© David Duband

From Inspiration to Creation

Rather early in his career David Duband adopted as his mentor Robert Jayer of Jayer-Gilles, a well-known fellow winemaker from Hautes-Cotes. From Jayer, Duband learned several techniques that would become instrumental in defining his own signature style. He learned about fermenting with indigenous yeasts, about the correct use of oak to add the right finishing touches to a wine, and about how to correctly make an un-fined, unfiltered wine. He began turning his focus from oak to fruit and stopped the practice of cold maceration before fermentation, which he believed contributed too many dark, heavy fruit flavors that overburdened the wine. In 2007 a new winery and cellar were built and in 2008 Duband changed his style completely by reintroducing the traditional Burgundian technique of whole-cluster fermentation. The “noble bitterness” of the stems brought a whole new wave of aromas in the finished product, like flowers and spice, which made for lighter, more elegant wines.

© David Duband

© David Duband

Today, Duband manages 42 acres of vines organically under the Ecocert label. Choosing to go back to the traditional way of cultivating vines, before the introduction of herbicides and pesticides in the 1970’s, he eliminated the use of weed-killers in 1998 and instead uses natural cover crops to fight erosion and enhance the vibrant ecosystem of the soil. Meticulous pruning limits yields, making for intense and concentrated expressions of the climats. Today the plots span across 23 appellations from Gevrey-Chambertin to Nuits-Saint-Georges, including the prestigious Vosne-Romanee with its characteristic soil of limestone and marl-clay and Clos de la Roche, which produces rare Grand Crus with a distinctive minerality. Altogether, Duband is responsible for 50 acres of vineyards, buying organically grown fruit from another 25 acres to produce around 12,000 cases of wines, under 23 different labels. His range includes a Chardonnay from Hautes-Cotes de Nuits, also made with whole cluster fermentation.

Two of Our Favorites From David Duband

David Duband : Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits “Louis Auguste” 2015

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The Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits “Louis Auguste” 2015 by David Duband is made from Pinot Noir grown on 50-year-old vines, planted in limestone and marl soils and enjoying southern exposure. The fruit is manually harvested and around 40% vinified in whole clusters. After 17 days of maceration, the wines are punched down 5 to 7 times by foot and are pumped over. After pressing, the wine is set aside to clarify for 2 weeks before being transported into oak barrels, of which 30% are new and the rest 1, 2 or 3 years old. The wine spends 14 months in barrel and is then racked into a tank, where it stays for 3 month before being bottled, without fining or filtering.

At the tasting, the David Duband Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits “Louis Auguste” 2015 reveals a red ruby dress with beautiful dark reflections. The nose exudes intense aromas of black and red fruit, both neat and very elegant. The wine is frank on the palate with touches of licorice and a subtly spicy finish. A wonderful potential for guard.

Browse this Wine

David Duband : Morey-Saint-Denis 1er cru “Clos Sorbe” 2015

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 The Morey-Saint-Denis 1er cru “Clos Sorbe” 2015 by David Duband is crafted from grapes grown on 50-year-old vines with eastern exposure, planted on Bathonian limestone. The grapes are picked by hand, sorted and vinified with around 80% whole clusters. While the grapes ferment, for around 17 days, they are punched down by foot 5-7 times with pump-overs. After the pressing, the wine is left to clarify for 2 weeks and then transferred to oak barrels (around 40% new and the rest barrels with 1, 2 or 3 previous uses). The wine spends 14 months in barrel before it is racked into a tank, where it rests for 3 months before bottling.

At the tasting, the David Duband Morey-Saint-Denis 1er cru “Clos Sorbe” 2015 reveals a cherry red color, crystal clear and very neat. The nose exudes intense aromas of red and black berries, with a spicy hint of black pepper. The palate is very dense and fresh with a very satisfying finish. This is a wine with great aging potential.
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