Michel and Estelle Prunier were happy bunnies when we visited them. 2017 had seen a beautiful summer and the harvest started early, on 5th September, the consequence of a warm spring. They like the suppleness of their 2017 reds (and so did we!), thinking they will drink early due to their soft tannins. The whites are fruity with good concentration as the harvest was not huge. It did however produce ample grapes with 2018 being another good crop with which to fill the cellar.
These Pruniers (and there are several) are to be found on the main road through Auxey-Duresses in a flower-filled courtyard, with a cosy tasting room decorated by medals won and foreign bottles drunk. Being of small stature, the Pruniers – father and daughter – have no trouble with the perilously low lintel over the entrance to their cellars! Michel Prunier works alongside his daughter Estelle who joined him in 2004 after concluding her wine studies and work experience in Australia and Bordeaux. Michel himself studied in the Champagne region at the viticultural college at Avize. They represent the fourth and fifth generations to make wine here, Michel having grown the estate to 12 ha from only two hectares in 1986. As a result they have vineyards in Auxey, Beaune, Meursault, Volnay, Pommard, Chorey and the Hautes-Côtes, but the pride and joy remains the holding of Auxey-Duresses 1er cru Clos du Val. Three smaller premier crus in the village Bas de Duresses, Grands Champs and Climat du Val are always blended together. “A wine should frankly express its terroir and vintage”, says Michel, so they adapt to each plot, ploughing some for better aeration and drainage while planting grass in others to reduce erosion and control vine vigour. Respecting the environment using sustainable, lutte raisonnée methods is the modus operandi here. They produce rewarding bottles both in red and white.