The appeal of Burgundy, at its very best, transcends mere qualitative evaluation through its unique ability to transport us. If we give to the region’s wines our total selves, even for a little while, they can pluck us up and drop us down in a far away place. Usually ‘transportive’ implies an unmediated encounter with the character of a village or a particular vineyard, but not always…
Durieux’s wines are transportive, but in an altogether different sense. Rather than carrying us to a precise locale, they invite us into the mind of a vigneron whose visionary wines are understood and appreciated in a context entirely their own. They are crazy wines, very much ‘natural,’ and yet are articulate and precise even in their eccentricity. Wines that simultaneously suggest vision and foresight as well as a ‘wild child’ waywardness. Many of you already know of the formative years Yann spent working at Domaine Prieuré-Roch, and his wines feel intimately connected to those he collaboratively produced for many years. The whites are reductive - ranging from strongly to absurdly - often teetering on the knife edge of too much ness, but with an mesmerizing zenlike purity that is oddly irresistible. The Reds have the same black raspberry and sour cherry profile of Roch, with a determinedly whole-cluster approach that yields intoxicatingly aromatic results. Are the results classically styled? No. But if you’re up for it, these will carry you off, and your willingness will be richly rewarded. - Jason
My first taste of Yann’s wine was Manon 2014 and I called Richard Leroy with full confidence. Ever since then, I've tried to find his wines, but it was almost impossible. I’m so happy to offer his wines after searching for them for a year. Obviously I find the whites impressive- as for the reds, if you love that whole-cluster sans soufre style like I do, you must try them! - Daniel
Yann Durieux’s tiny production of cryptically named cuvées are almost impossible to find. They’re well worth the search and his Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Aligoté are jolting and alien. They’re ‘natural’ wines yes, but regularly clean as a whistle. There’s no distracting funk or VA, instead they have a broad aromatic spectrum that does somehow come through as unfiltered. Even the incidence of whole cluster is so well married to the fruit that in some cuvées it is difficult to discern at all. Like the wines of Bernard van Berg, both reds and whites are as singularly characterful as they are rare.
The work in the vineyards is impeccable and treated with a minimum of chemicals. The vines are not pruned and are trained high, as is more and more fashionable at top domaines these days (Leroy, Lachaux). Often times yields are comically low, in the single digits of hectolitres per hectare.
Based in Messanges, many of the vineyards Durieux works are in the Hautes-Cotes de Nuits around Villers-La Faye, near Nuits-Saint-Georges. Although many imagine the Hautes-Côtes as a kind of flat plateau lying above the slope, driving through the area one finds the terrain in fact immensely hilly and dynamic. Yann certainly has an outsider streak along with bottling everything as VDF, and he is quite guarded in divulging vineyard locations. He has his own kaleidoscopic universe and tasting the wines recalls precisely this alien sense of a parallel Burgundy high above the familiar slopes.
2017 Yann Durieux 'Les Ponts Rouge' VDF
From vines in Villers-la-Faye. The wine shows remarkable freshness and precision in its rendering of bright cherry fruit and sweet stemmy spices. Harmonious, savory palate with gentle tannins and fine length.
2016 Yann Durieux 'Les Ponts Blancs' VDF
Aligoté from above the previous vineyard macerated on the skins for 21 days. A cloudy pale orange wine with candied citrus, lemon custard and saffron. The palate is rich, unctuous and layered. A powerful wine with smoky minerality.
2016 Yann Durieux 'Cuvée BT' Rouge VDF
From Savigny ‘Boutières,’ on rich silty soil. This is one of Durieux’s most powerful and fleshy reds. Behind curtains of candied dark fruit there’s peppercorn and ginseng with very supple tannin.
2014 Yann Durieux 'Les Dames Huguettes Blanc' VDF
Yann’s Chardonnay made from an old vine parcel on the slopes around the Abbaye de Saint-Vivant. Late harvested, the small bunches are barrel fermented without racking for 24 months (25% new) to produce this tête de cuvée. Citrus, popcorn kernels and saffron, all tossed under a bright sheen of cream soda.