This is the second year that we have tasted with Loïc Dugat, as his father Bernard increasingly takes a backseat. As with all generational changes, we get worried, but these 2017s are sensational so there is no problem here! Loïc has been busy reducing the percentage of new oak used which has been a good move in our book, and will allow the beautiful fruit in the wines to be enjoyed younger. Yields were small as ever here, but greater than normal which Loïc put down to a reaction of the vines to the strictures of 2016. Plenty of green harvesting in lieu of summer holidays resulted in the equivalent of 20 to 30 barrels being discarded on the floor! They harvested from the 2nd September, being one of the first, and made wonderfully delicious wines for mid-term drinking.
The heaven-sent flavours and super velvet textures of the Dugat-Py wines are the result of sheer dedication in nurturing extremely low yielding, very old vines which average almost 70 years of age, with some being over 100. Bernard Dugat converted to organic viticulture in 2003 and they try to use horses to work the vineyards wherever possible. With around 13 ha of vines, the domaine centres on the family home in a hamlet below the Clos Saint-Jacques vineyard. Its striking cellars, with their high vaulted ceiling and columns, date from the 11th century, once belonging to St Benedict's Abbey in Dijon. A side crypt is stuffed to the gunnels with Bernard Dugat’s personal collection of wine from eminent estates around the world. The Dugats can trace their own winemaking heritage in Gevrey-Chambertin back through to Loïc’s great-grandmother to 1645. The Dugat estate dates in name from 1923, while the ‘Py’ suffix is his mother Jocelyne’s maiden name. Loïc represents the 13th generation to run the estate and his wife looks after the office. Local holdings have been supplemented in recent times by vines in Beaune, Pommard, Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and most recently Chorey-lès-Beaune to give more strings to their bow. Quantities from this, one of the top addresses in Burgundy, are tiny so visitors are few (but those that do get in are welcomed with a broad smile) and every drop is poured back into the barrel after tasting. Despite a softening in the wood regime, we advise customers not to drink the wines too young: five years for the premier crus and eight for the grand crus.