It’s All in the Name: Domaine Pierre Vincent 


All winemakers must dream of running their own domaine, seeing their own name on a label. You can work at the most prestigious address and devote a lifetime to the most esteemed vineyards, but at the end of the day, it ain’t yours.

As its Technical Director between 2006 and 2016, Pierre Vincent took Domaine de la Vougeraie to a higher level before a high-profile move to Domaine Leflaive in 2017. He was a safe pair of hands in the aftermath of Anne-Claude Leflaive’s passing and the person who repaired the domaine’s reputation after incidences of premature oxidation. During both tenures, Vincent oversaw a raft of stunning wines. Nevertheless, when discussing his time working in Puligny-Montrachet, it was clear that despite the prestige of his position, irrespective of his talent and input, Domaine Leflaive will always be about Leflaive. He understood that as winemaker, he had to accept a less visible and less autonomous role behind gérant, Brice de la Morandière. That was clear whenever I visited. Vincent would stay in the background and answer questions only when I specifically directed them his way.

I accidentally learned of Vincent’s departure a long time ago. In May, it was announced that in partnership with two Lyon-based friends, Hervé Kratiroff and Eric Versini, Vincent had had acquired Domaine des Terre de Velle on the outskirts of Auxey-Duresses. This means that in 2023 Vincent made the wines at both domaines, as will be the case in 2024, while Leflaive searches for his replacement. After the 2024 harvest, Vincent is due to part ways with Leflaive to focus entirely on Domaine Pierre Vincent. 

It turns out that I was the first journalist to visit the winery. It is actually two conjoined houses, underneath which lies a capacious barrel cellar where we tasted his 2023s. It’s a small Domaine of 7.12 hectares, including 1.46 hectares en fermage; however, these produce around 16 limited production micro-cuvées, mainly white. Their holdings are not crammed with auspicious Premier and Grand Crus, with the notable exception of almost half a hectare of Corton-Charlemagne. Instead, parcels occupy more modest appellations and lieux-dit, but of course, site isn’t everything. One aspect that attracted Vincent was the venerable age of vines, with many over 50 years old (see tasting notes for details). Furthermore, around 80% are pruned Cordon Royat instead of Guyot, which Vincent sees as advantageous in terms of improved air circulation.

Pierre Vincent in his cellar.

“I started the harvest on 28 August,” he told me, still looking sprightly for a 50-year-old. “The yield for the whites was around 45hL/ha and 40hL/ha for the reds. The old vines limited the yields as they were easier to control. All whites will be aged 12 months in barrel and six months in tank, whereas I like to give the reds longer, 15 months in barrel and three months in tank. I prefer a low level of new oak, less than at Leflaive, around 15%, with minimal use of sulfur, though I am happy to use it. I don’t want to be natural. I prefer a fast alcoholic fermentation using a pied de cuve, which is something that I used at Leflaive. The whites will be bottled under Diam [like Leflaive], and the reds under natural cork.”

Tasting through the maiden vintage, Pierre Vincent has lost none of his magic touch. It is something preternatural, not something you can be taught. He has a knack for elevating an entire portfolio, irrespective of vineyard status, from regional to Grand Cru. His whites are suffused with beguiling mineralité and tension, articulating with utmost clarity their individual terroirs. The reds perhaps need a little more work, yet the Monthélie les Duresses is wonderful, probably my choice over the Volnays. Doubtless, it will be the whites that will attract attention, and given their limited production, sometimes just three barrels (750 bottles), they will be sought after. At the time of writing, I don’t believe they have signed any distribution deal. When I asked about prospective pricing, I was forewarned not to expect them to be inexpensive. Given the softening of demand, we will have to see how this plays out. What cannot be denied is that Vincent will craft some spectacular wines as he has done in the past. The difference is that in this third chapter, bottles will be emblazoned with the name Pierre Vincent.

© 2024, Vinous. No portion of this article may be copied, shared or re-distributed without prior consent from Vinous. Doing so is not only a violation of our copyright, but also threatens the survival of independent wine criticism.

You Might Also Enjoy

A Century of…Fours, Neal Martin, June 2024

Oldies But Goldies: Bouchard Père 1892-2012, Neal Martin, April 2024

Merci, Monsieur Amiot: Clos des Lambrays 1923-2021, Neal Martin, March 2024