This tiny 0.75 acre Clos is situated within the historical Clos du Cellier aux Moines and overlooks the famous first growth. The slope here is marked (about 20%) and the vine culture was abandoned there after the Phylloxera crisis. As they were convinced that this vineyard had a promising potential, the Pascal family decided to replant it with a selection of fine and very fine pinots noirs. Surrounded by four thick walls, the little Clos Pascal, just like the Clos du Cellier aux Moines itself, benefits from a due south exposure combined with optimal ventilation. It is overlooked by an ancient windmill. The clay-limestone geology that is shared by all the great Burgundy vineyards is obviously present here. Shallow stony soils composed of sand silt and clay naturally help control the vines' vigour. They are supported by a hard oolitic limestone slab. As they only yield 5 bunches per plant, these vines are particularly fit for giving highly concentrated wines with outstanding texture and finesse. The plantation density reaches 13,000 plants per hectare contrary to the standard 10,000 plants, thus limiting the yield naturally. Indeed all the standards that contribute to produce an excellent wine are present here.
Indeed winemaking at the Clos du Cellier aux Moines doesn't rest on any dogma. This is also the case with Clos Pascal. The only principle that prevails is to carry out as less operations as possible. The high quality of both terroir and grapes does not require any technical 'gimmick' to produce a great cuvée. The wine making process is very gentle: it is a matter of leaving the grapes to soak rather than extracting the juice they contain.
« Simplex natura » has always been our motto... After a week or so in vats at a low temperature, the must will begin to ferment naturally (no yeasting).Guillaume Marko, our oenologist, wets the top of the cap to encourage this infusion. Depending on the vintage, a variable part of the harvest is de-stemmed in order to preserve the optimal aromatic and flavour potential of the berries. Vatting lasts for about three weeks then the wine is poured into oak casks (50% new oak). Maturing is carried out for 18 months in barrels and ends in vats for 30 days.
2014 was a year full of contrasts. After a mild and humid winter, spring was definitely sunny. June rapidly took on summer looks. A 35° heat peak was registered on the vines as early as the beginning of the month. Flowering started on the 5th of June or so in excellent weather conditions. During the summer, August rains aroused some worries but September was finally dry and bright. These conditions enabled sugar to concentrate in the bunches, however you had to be patient before launching the harvest. The beautiful late-autumn weather that is very often found in Burgundy, gave us the opportunity to harvest well-matured Chardonnays from the 17th of September on. Still, a stringent sorting out of the Pinots Noirs had to be done. In 2014 most of the grapes were de-stemmed. Clos Pascal 2014 was bottled on December 10th 2015.
Small yields and the return of the sun in September were the key elements for the 2014 vintage production. Thanks to its exposure, Clos Pascal was not affected by August rains, on the contrary, it took advantage of the situation. It displays a superb aromatic complexity mixing floral and fruity notes such as blueberry and redcurrant. On the palate the tension due to this particular year enhances the outstanding finesse of the wine with concentrated tannins. A persistent and expressive finish closes the tasting experience with great distinction.
It already has the expressive character of a great terroir in spite of its rather young vines.