It was with the simplest of conversations that a new chapter in the vinous history of Burgundy was written. When asked by his father if he wanted to make wine at the family estate, David Duband replied in the affirmative and so began a journey that saw him described by Clive Coates MW as one of “Burgundy's young stars in the ascendancy”. Now, more than two decades of winemaking have passed and the wines of David Duband are highly sought after.
When Pierre Duband established his estate in 1965 his sole aim was to produce fruit for the local co-op in Beaune. It wouldn’t be until his son David took over that this changed. After that fateful conversation with his father, David embarked on a course in oenology before returning home to the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and the family domaine.
The success of the first release made from estate fruit in 1991 resulted in all fruit being kept in-house by the mid-1990s. Vines covering 15 hectares marked the beginning of the Duband estate, however a partnership with businessman François Feuillet augmented this to include some of the most prized plots in the Côte de Nuits such as Vosne-Romanée, Echézeaux, Chambolle-Musigny, Charmes-Chambertin and the celebrated Clos de la Roche.
When crafting his wines, Duband is guided by an unwavering quest to produce the finest example of individual appellations. He converted the estate to organic farming, reaching full certification by Ecocert in 2006. Additionally he employs a rather unique model of blending estate and negociant fruit. Of this he says, “I don’t distinguish between grapes (as almost all others do), I make a blend of each appellation and just sell one wine from that appellation.” The result, in the words of Antonio Galloni is, “… absolutely sexy, super-expressive Burgundy”.
A tasting of older vintages from Dujac and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti effected a significant change in vinification techniques. Duband moved to whole bunch fermentation coupled with a softer extraction and reduced use of new oak. This change in 2008 yielded wines that were, in the words of the man himself, “… livelier … more elegant, more digestible and lighter, you get more aromas of flowers and spice.” He was not alone in his assessment, with Allen Meadows of the renowned Burghound, describing the 2013 Gevrey-Chambertin as ‘… markedly floral with a very fresh nose of red berry liqueur-like aromas that are liberally laced with earth scents. There is excellent volume to the suave and very round medium-bodied flavours that display a lovely bead of minerality on the dusty, lingering and complex finale.”
After harvesting the grapes by hand across all 23 appellations that now sit under the David Duband estate, fermentation occurs using indigenous yeasts. Whole bunch percentages range from 50% for the villages to 80% for grand crus. The resultant wines are all about texture according to Antonio Galloni. In describing the 2012 Charmes-Chambertin Galloni finds “A round, sensual Burgundy, the 2012 flows across the palate with gorgeous resonance and sensuality. Dark red stone fruits, wild flowers, spices and a hint of citrus ring out on the generous finish.”
Looking to the future it is clear to see that Duband is not a man to sit still for long. Having recently taking a position as consultant to negociant Louis Max, Duband now works with fruit from Chablis, Mâcon and Pouilly-Fuissé, further cementing his name in the chronicles of great Burgundian wine.