Domaine Taupenot-Merme

Domaine Taupenot-Merme is a wine producer from Burgundy. Despite being based in Côte de Beaune, the estate owns vineyards across several outstanding plots, including some in the Côte de Nuits.

The specialty of the estate is red wines made from Pinot Noir.

The Taupenot family has been involved in winemaking for 8 generations, with Romain, currently running the domaine as winemaker and director, part of the seventh.

His domaine was founded in 1963 by his father Jean, who added the surname Merme to the estate when he married Denise, who herself was from a wine making family of several years. The two sides of the family business were managed separately and but simultaneously, one in Morey St Denis and the other in St Romain.

Things changed when Romain took over in 1998, with the estates being merged. Described as a well-mannered, soft-spoken man who likes discretion, Romain brings with himself an outstanding knowledge of the Burgundy wine region and its tradition, a character of purity and finesse that transfers to his wines as well.

One of the most prestigious vineyards of Domaine Taupenot-Merme is the Clos des Lambrays, which owns 0.18 acres and is the remaining small area prevents the 8.86 hectares owned by Clos des Lambrays, from declaring it a monopole. Romain is very keen in maintaining this David vs Goliath dynamic, with his plot located just behind the house of Taupenot-Merme.

Domaine Taupenot-Merme feature vineyards from both the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, which strecthes across 20 different appellations. Romain is widely credited to have brought the domaine to the level of the top domaines in Burgundy.

The estate has a policy holding back a certain amount of the production each year, in order to ensure a decent supply of past vintages to their customers. Although very noble, this proves to be very challenging in a very scarce supply market such as the one in Burgundy fine wines.

Domaine Taupenot-Merme owns and controls about 13 hectares of vineyards across about 20 different appellations. The plots are located in both Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

For grapes, Pinot Noir dominates the estate’s production with a 97% share, which is almost full exclusivity. A very small amount of Chardonnay can also be found, around 2%, with a tiny 1% shared between Gamay and Aligote.

Up until 2001, the vineyards of Domaine Taupenot-Merme were farmed with the “lutte raisonnée” approach, meaning there was still some usage of chemicals, although very limited. In 2001, the move to full organic viticulture was completed. However, Domaine Taupenot-Merme is not organically certified.

Romain defines himself as a “terroirist“, firmly believing that avoiding heavy handed techniques contributes to express the character and the origin of the wines a lot better. He prefers to talk about “infusion” rather than “extraction”. This approach contributes to highlight each wine’s character with even more depth.

After harvest, the grapes are sorted and selected, with stems removed completely. One step of Romain’s approach is to give the grapes a cool soak at 10ºC. The fermentation takes place for about seven to nine days, naturally, with indigenous yeasts before the grapes go into the pneumatic press. The grapes are then kept in the vat at 29ºC to work on the tannins.

For the following 12 to 14 months, the wines are in barrels, without racking, to avoid disruption. The domaine refers to different coopers for the French oak barrels. There are also some standards for any new oak used, with Premier and Grand Cru wines set at 30, 40 and 50% respectively. After that, the wines are assembled in stainless steel tanks for three months before bottling, without fining nor filtration.

After malolactic fermentation is completed, it’s a consolidated habit of Romain to invite the five different coopers he works with for a blind tasting. More than 20 samples are tasted from new barrels, for the coopers to judge their quality and, more importantly, their influence on the wine.

Pinot Noir wines from Domaine Taupenot-Merme follow the typical Burgundy approach of privileging different terroirs, hence the different wines of the estate follow this philosophy rather than limiting house style.

In general, however, Romain’s wines are recognised to be refined and pure, rather than powerful. For you, we selected a 2009 Domaine Taupenot-Merme La Combe d’Orveau, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru.

As per the definition of Chambolle-Musigny, these wines are the most “feminine” among the Côte de Nuits’ reds, with typical floral notes providing the elegance element in wines that are rich, complex and relatively light.