After giving up a 25-year career as a political journalist in Washington and London, Burgundy enthusiast Blair Pethel moved to France and enrolled at winemaking school in Beaune.
Aided by his long-term friend and mentor Patrice Rion, Blair purchased his first vineyard in 2003 – a tiny plot in Corton-Charlemagne, to which he added 3ha of old vine sites across 1er and Grand Cru parcels in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.
From ploughing and pruning to harvesting and bottling, Blair ran his domaine organically and single-handedly, producing more than 15 different cuvées from a state-of-the-art winery in Savigny-lès-Beaune. Fermented using native yeasts and aged in barrel for 18-22 months, his wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Blair’s 2008 Volnay 1er Cru ‘Les Pitures’ is pure and transparent, its medley of red fruit tinged with forest floor. Forward and expressive, the 2013 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru ‘Les Blanchards’ offers spicy dark fruit and lacy tannins. Bottled under screwcap (and therefore “bulletproof” according to Blair), the 2006 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru is floral and velvety, showing the intensity and complexity of its site.
In 2016, Blair produced his final vintage and retired to the dismay of Dublère’s loyal fanbase. This parcel of mature, well-priced wines – lying in-bond since they were shipped direct from the winery – includes some of the last remaining bottles from this much-missed domaine.
Volnay 1er Cru ‘Les Pitures’ 2008 (£70) Sold out
Elegant, with detailed red fruit, forest floor, and stony minerality. Classy Volnay.
Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru ‘Les Blanchards’ 2013 (£80) Sold out
Invitingly perfumed, its dark, woodsy fruit laced with exotic spices.
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2006 (£150) Sold out
Rich and open-knit, kirsch and rose petals – typical Grand Cru intensity and charm.
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