Domaine Clos du Roi

Nick Borland
Local Vineyards
Sep 24, 2018


The estate was founded in 1969 by Michel & Denise Bernard and then in 2005 their daughter Magali took over the reins. This charismatic and convivial lady had spent 6 years studying at the wine university in Beaune and then a further year working in Paris. Magali and her partner Arnaud, now manage the estate and its 17ha (42 acres) of vineyards in and are earning a reputation as one of the most interesting wineries in the region. In fact, they featured in the January edition of the prestigious French wine magazine « la Revue du Vin de France » where they were featured in the top young winemakers in the area. Another feather in the cap was the recent « tastevinage » award from the professional tasting at Clos de Vougeot for their AOC Bourgogne Coulanges « Coline » 2014.

This hard-working and dynamic couple not only make great wines, they epitomise the sense of hospitality with a capital H! At the winery in the heart of the village of Coulanges, they recently inaugurated their superb tasting and bar facility where visitors can sample their wines and at the same time partake in some delicious local specialities, plates of cold meats and cheeses and even locally brewed beers. Parbleu ! Furthermore, they can also lay on a wine-tasting lunch or dinner for groups. All delicious home-made food such as jambon à la Chablisienne (ham cooked with cream, shallots and Chablis wine) and pears poached in a red wine served with ice cream and blackcurrant coulis. For these occasions, the couple even lights the old wood-fired bread oven to prepare some of the food.

The visit to the estate includes the mandatory tasting but also a visit to cellars a stone’s throw across the village where visitors can admire the old 2400 litre « foudres » which are used so effectively in the production of some their wines.

The vineyard

The estate Clos du Roi in Coulanges la Vineuses is part of long and rich wine-growing tradition going back nearly 2000 years when the spot was quite aptly named the « wine colony ». Another witness of this Gallo-Roman viticultural heritage is the carving of a grape-picker on a bas relief found during archaeological excavations of a villa dating back to the 2nd century. In the mid 17th century a huge fire in the village was extinguished with wine and in 1776 the village counted 243 wine-growers and 17 barrel makers!

Today the estate works 17ha of vineyards of which 15ha is planted with pinot noir, 0,6ha with César, 0,2ha with gamay, and 1ha20 with Chardonnay. (1ha=2.47 acres). The philosophy of Magali and Arnaud is to respect the traditional style of Coulanges wines; that is to say, easy-to-drink reds that can accompany most meals with soft tannins and subtle aromas of red fruit and refreshingly mineral whites. At the same time, they choose to innovate and create different styles, hence the different « cuvées » that reflect their ambitious wine-making talents. For example, the red cuvée « Coline » is a blend of pinot noir and the local grape variety, the César. The result is a wine which has more tannic structure and which will improve in the bottle for a longer period. Likewise, the cuvée « Chanvin » was born from a desire to marry finesse, elegance and complexity and so the grapes are carefully selected from the finest parcel and aged for longer in more new oak than the other reds. The use of 2400 litre wooden vats in order to «limit » the process of oxidation also shows a courageous desire to innovate.

To sum up the estate, I would say that Magali and Arnaud are great ambassadors for the region’s wines and if you are ever in Coulanges la Vineuse, you now know where to go!

White Wine 1

  • Wine: AOC Bourgogne Coulanges
  • Grape: Chardonnay
  • Vineyard: 1ha 20 planted in Chardonnay spread over several different south/south-east facing plots. Kimmeridian limestone and clay.
  • Vinification La grapes from the various parcels of vines are mixed according to the difficulty encountered around harvest time and the need to sort the grapes. Vinification takes places in stainless steel tanks and then part of the harvest is aged in used oak barrels.
  • Tasting: Appearance – Bright pale yellow tinged with green. 
Nose – Slightly honeyed and delicate. White flowers and pears with a wisp of brine
Mouth – Quite full in the mouth and still with a lovely streak minerality.
  • Age Potential: 3 to 4 years
  • Food Pairing: The softness and aromatic roundness would suggest quite rich dishes, such as crayfish flambeyed in brandy or veal cooked cream. Good cheeses might be compté, Beaufort and some of the mountain tommes.

White Wine 2

  • Wine: AOC Bourgogne Coulanges Cuvée « Charly »
  • Grape: Chardonnay
  • Vineayrd: 1ha 20 planted in Chardonnay spread over several different south/south-east facing plots. Kimmeridian limestone and clay.
  • Vinification Manual harvesting. Fermentation and aging in used oak barrels with regular stirring of lees. No filtration.
  • Tasting: Appearance – Deep golden yellow. 
Nose – complex palette of aromas (pear, quince)
Mouth – long in the mouth. Perfect balance between complexity and freshness
  • Age Potential: 4 to 6 years
  • Food Pairing: Seafood and fish prepared in rich sauces. Chicken and morilles mushrooms cooked in cream.

Red Wine 1

  • Wine: AOC Bourgogne Coulanges
  • Grape: Pinot Noir
  • Vineayrd: 15ha of vineyards planted with pinot on south/south-east facing slopes, protected from northerly and westerly winds. Clay and limestone soils.
  • Vinification The grapes from the different parcels are either vinified together or seperatly according to the year and the quality of the grapes. The bunches are partially destemmed (20%) Fermentation takes place in buried vats for 12 to 15 days and then aged for a minimum of 10 months, partly in used oak barrels, partly in « foudres » (large wooden vats sometimes containing several thousand litres of wine)
  • Tasting: Appearance – Medium intensity. Bright ruby red .
Nose – Discreet nose of small red fruit
Mouth – Medium body and discreet tanins..
  • Age Potential: 3 to 5 years
  • Food Pairing: Grilled meats and light sauces. Cold meats. Fish and most cheeses.

Red Wine 2

  • Wine: AOC Bourgogne Coulanges Cuvée « Coline »
  • Grape: Pinot Noir 85% Cesar 15%
  • Vineayrd: 15ha of vineyards planted with pinot on south/south-east facing slopes, protected from northerly and westerly winds. Clay and limestone soils.
  • Vinification Manual harvesting. Fermentation takes place in buried stone vats. Aged entirely in 2400 liter wooden vats known as « foudres »
  • Tasting: Appearance – Deep ruby red with purple overtones
Nose – Cherries and blackcurrants.
Mouth – Medium/heavy body and softish tannins. At best after a couple of years in the bottle.
  • Age Potential: 4 to 7 years
  • Food Pairing: Grilled meats. Roast chicken. Cheeses such as Saint Nectaire, Chaorce & Reblochon.

Red Wine 3

  • Wine: AOC Bourgogne Coulanges Cuvée « Chanvan »
  • Grape: Pinot Noir 100%
  • Vineayrd: A 3ha parcel of vines called the « Chanvan » and formely known as the « Clos du Roi », reputed the best of the Coulanges appellation vineyards on slopes shared between the villages of Jussy and Coulanges. It is claimed that Louis X1V himself drunk these wines ! Clay and limestone soils.
  • Vinification Manual harvesting. 70% destemmed and then fermentation takes place in buried stone vats. Aged for 24 months in both old and new barrels.
  • Tasting: Appearance – Bright ruby red with purple overtones
Nose – Cherries, blackcurrents and a hint of violets.
Mouth – Medium to full body and discreet tannins. Peppery/spicy aroma. At best after a couple of years in the bottle
  • Age Potential: 4 to 7 years
  • Food Pairing: Duck breast in a black cherry sauce. Boeuf Bourguignon.

Nick Borland
My professional experience in wine and tourism has been long and varied and has included, amongst others, working as a wine buyer and sommelier for boutique hotels, putting together wine lists for restaurants, a specialised wine tour guide for luxury hotel barges, a « wine hunter » for Scandinavian importers as well as organising and conducting wine-tastings to Wine Societies in the UK, Germany and Holland. I have also completed my WSET Level 3 and and obtained a certificate in Advanced Tasting Techniques from the Wine University in Suze-la-Rousse". I love sharing my knowledge of wine and spirits with people interested in the topics. I have a passion for how wine is made, from the methods used to the history of the grapes. If you would like to learn more about wine, join me in my Facebook group by signing up below to using the form. I talk about wines, answer all the questions you may have about it growing techniques, history, and even organise webinars for the group members where I talk about wine in a bit more detail. Hope to welcome you there soon!

Related Articles

Contact US