Clair Obscur

VigneronPierre and Jennifer Clair
LocationCorpeau (Côte d'Or)
Size of Domaine3.5 ha
TerroirContinental climate. Clay-limestone marls, alluvial sediments on mid-Jurassic (Callovian and Oxfordian) limestone bedrock. 200-250m altitude.
ViticulturePractising biodynamic
View Clair Obscur wines ↓

Pierre Clair has been working as 'chef de culture' at Domaine Marquis D’Angerville for many years now, a position he previously held at Domaine de Montille – these two iconic domaines have been at the forefront of biodynamic farming in the region, making Pierre an expert in the subject.

Pierre Clair

During his spare time, Pierre runs his own project Clair Obscur alongside his wife Jennifer. Clair Obscur started off with 0.4ha in the village of Corpeau (down the slopes of Chassagne and Puligny) – vines that have been in the Clair family for generations. Back in 2015, Pierre and Jennifer acquired two plots in Maranges: Les Aubuzes and Sur Le Bois Sud, which they immediately converted to biodynamics. And more recently, they've taken over different 'fermages' in Santenay, Beaune, and the Hautes-Côtes (above Volnay).

Pierre tends his vines meticulously, applying all the experience gained over the years, while Jennifer "runs the show in the cellar". And Pierre comments, "she's a way better cook and winemaker than I am, she has that extra sensitivity and intuition; she learnt on the job and quickly displayed amazing skills, so I now happily follow her lead!"

03_Vine_Trail_Clair_Obscur_16_9 Jennifer and Pierre

The wines are vinified using whole clusters, the bunches are sealed in vats for a couple of days (kicking off fermentation as semi-carbonic to extract aromatics), the open vats are then punched down daily before pressing, fermentation finishes off in old 'pièces bourguigonnes' followed by ageing without additives. An homeopathic 0.5g of natural sulphur (from volcanic mines) is added per 228ltr barrels a couple of months pre-bottling.

Wine has been made in the Clair family for decades, and it's always been the beverage of choice for a convivial meal or celebration. In this spirit, Jennifer and Pierre craft wines that are full of joy, vibrant and pure, with a nourishing element.

05_Vine_Trail_Clair_Obscur_3_4 Maranges 'Sur Le Bois Sud'

Clair Obscur Wines

100% Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir (13% alc.)
(13% alc.)

This is the cuvée that started the domaine (see profile); it comes from a parcel in the village of Corpeau, planted in 1963, which Pierre inherited from his grandfather. The soil here is predominantly brown clay which gives a beautiful silky texture to the wine. Sorted in the vineyard, whole bunches are loaded into wooden vats for fermentation, gentle extraction with pigeages and remontages during a 10-day cuvaison. The wine is aged in 5-15yo 228ltr barrels for about a year before bottling with minimal sulphur. Like all of Pierre’s reds, this is succulent and quite sensual, the fruit coats the palate, the tannins are very fine and frame it nicely, it’s clear and precise, with cherries, wild berries and touch of smoke and earth. It is rare to find red burgundies that give so much pleasure in their youth while ageing gracefully.

65% Pinot Noir, 35% Gamay
65% Pinot Noir, 35% Gamay (13% alc.)
(13% alc.)

As per L'Origine, this plot comes from Pierre's family in Corpeau – a 60yo field blend co-planted with pinot noir and gamay in a similar soil. Sappy and earthy, this wine has a lovely concentration of fruit, rustic tannins that call for 'charcuterie', and refreshing spices on the finish. See profile and cuvée L'Origine for details on vinification.

Les Aubuzes
100% Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)
(12.5% alc.)

The lieu-dit Les Aubuzes is characterised by heavy clay soils and cool temperatures (quite typical of Maranges) – the grapes here reach ripeness two weeks after Corpeau. The vines were planted in 1985 and converted to biodynamics in 2015, they yield a round and textural expression of Maranges – expressive on the nose, it feels relaxed on the palate, with silky and fine tannins. See profile and cuvée L'Origine for details on vinification.

Sur Le Bois Sud
100% Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir (12.5% alc.)
(12.5% alc.)

0.25ha of 30yo vines worked biodynamically since 2015. The plot Sur Le Bois Sud is only a few hundreds meters away from Les Aubuzes, separated from it by woods. It's a similar terroir although the clayey soil is slightly more rocky and has silica-rich sand which brings lift and nuances to the wine. Aged in Jennifer and Pierre’s tiny cave next to their house in Corpeau, the wine is made from yields of 25-30hh with no chaptalisation, fining or filtration. A minute 2-3mg/l of SO2 is added pre-bottling in November the following year. It offers a pale colour, with fresh cherries on the nose, the palate is frank, with vibrant fruit and sustained floral flavours, the grain of tannins is silky and refreshing.

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