10 thought-provoking questions & answers from Savigny-lès-Beaune. Meet Claude de Nicolay of Domaine Chandon de Briailles.
1. What is your most important wine experience?
Vintage 2003: A year of record heat and drought and we had to adapt to the condition of the grapes during winemaking! A vintage of challenges that is not so bad today, especially for the whites.
2. Have you made a ‘wine pilgrimage’ and if so, where and why?
Several educational vinifications during my studies but always with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In Oregon in 1992 at Domaine Drouhin Oregon and in New Zealand in 1994 at Martinborough Vineyard with Larry McKenna, a Burgundy enthusiast.
3. Who do you prefer to drink wine with?
With my mother because she recalls old vintages so she always has a lot to tell.
4. What would your (3) best recommendations be if someone came to visit your area?
The Ch de Clos de Vougeot, the Hospices de Beaune and the route of the Grands Crus by bike through the vineyards.
5. Who do you dream to work with and why?
Jean Louis Trapet from Gevrey for his simplicity and his connection with his vines.
6. Who is or was your mentor and why did you choose them?
My mother is the perfect example for learning my job.
7. What motivates you?
The fact that each vintage is different and we must constantly question ourselves.
8. What is the biggest challenge you face today?
Protecting our terroirs and proving to other winemakers that organic farming works and gives feasible yields.
9. What is your greatest achievement?
The arrival of our horses to work our soil. And stopping the spraying of sulphur in my vines, which was replaced by skimmed milk five years ago. This prevents the formation of powdery mildew.
10. And now?
I would like to find a solution to stop spraying copper for protection against mildew.