Domaine Derain, Bourgogne Rouge 'Les Riaux'


The grapes are harvested from the tiny Les Riaux vineyard, less than half a hectare, which is close to the village of Saint-Aubin which lies south of the central city of Beaune. The yields here are painfully low at only 30 hectolitres per hectare so expect this red to have good fruit flavours and good structure. It also has a bright and cheerful new label this year! Dominique destems most of the grapes with just a few whole bunches thrown in. After pressing, the juice and skins are transferred to large wooden vats for maceration for up to two weeks before the juice is transferred to old oak barrels for six months of maturation.

Domaine Derain, Saint-Aubin
Biodynamic, Natural

Dominique Derain is a pioneer of Biodynamic and Natural wine in Burgundy. Born in 1955, he originally trained and worked as a cooper (barrel maker) for 5 years. In 1988 he purchased a 5.5-ha estate in Saint-Aubin, he obtained organic certification the following year, followed by Demeter cert. In 1997, he left Demeter when the membership fees doubled. He no longer displays any certifications on his bottle labels.

Dominique definitely adopt a minimalist approach. He farms biodynamically, hand harvest, do not chaptalize or acidify and use the barest amount of sulphur.

All the fruit is hand-picked, destem 90% (red grapes) before fermentation, which occurs in wooden vats. After fermentation the wine is aged in old oak casks for 12-18 months. SO2 is never added during the winemaking process, only a small amount at bottling for stabilization.

From this vintage we see Dominique handing over the reins to his long time employee, young rising star Julien Altaber, and Julien’s talent can be seen in the quality of the wine. The wine is still sold under the Derain banner, as Dominique is still very involved in all stages, from harvest to winemaking, sales and of course, degustation.