Bruno Clair founded his 56-acre domaine in Marsannay, in Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits, in 1979. He is the son of Bernard Clair and the grandson of Joseph Clair, who founded the celebrated Domaine Clair-Dau in 1919. Since striking out on his own more than 30 years ago, Bruno Clair has added vineyards to the domaine, which now includes Grand Crus in Chambertin and Corton-Charlemagne. The domaine also has Premier Crus in Gevrey-Chambertin, including the monopole Clos du Fonteny, and in Savigny-les-Beaune. The estate’s flagship wines are its Clos de Beze, Bonnes-Mares and Corton-Charlemagne, though it also makes numerous, well-reviewed red, white and rose village wines. Clive Coates calls Clair “a meticulous winemaker, anxious above all for purity and elegance….This is now one of the top domaines in Burgundy.”
Aloxe-Corton is one of the most historic appellations in Burgundy. It includes the communes of Aloxe-Corton and Ladoix-Serrigny. The Romans settled in the area and made wine, and in the eighth century Emperor Charlemagne was so impressed with the wine from Aloxe-Corton that he bought land and founded an abbey. The famous Grand Cru Chardonnay Corton-Charlemagne was named for the emperor, who, according to legend, switched from drinking red wine to white because his wife disliked red wine stains on his white beard. The AOC Aloxe-Corton includes 13 Premier Crus and 220 acres of village vineyards. Nearly all of the wine produced is red, and the reds are known for spicy, earthy, tannic character. At the heart of the appellation is the Montagne de Corton, or Hill of Corton, which is home to the Grand Crus of the area. The Chardonnay vineyards are at the top of the hill, but further down the hill is planted to Pinot Noir. All 22 Grand Cru vineyards on Montagne Corton produce wines that include the name Corton. All are reds except for the legendary Chardonnay Corton-Charlemagne.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.