The Dugat family originally worked as stonemasons and came to Burgundy to build the locks of the Canal de Bourgogne in the early 1800’s. Bernard Dugat does not make his living breaking stone, but his thick, powerful hands attest to long hours spent working in the vineyards. Few vignerons in the Cote d’Or can claim to have vines that are as well tended. These vineyards often produce yields below 25 hectoliters per hectare and the resulting berries are packed with raw extract. Bernard worked alongside his father, Pierre, for several years and they regularly sold their fruit to Maison Leroy. Wine was bottled and released under the Bernard Dugat-Py label for the first time in 1989. Within a short period of time, Dugat-Py had attracted a cult-like following.
Along with his cousin Claude Dugat, Bernard produces the most concentrated, intense wines of Gevrey-Chambertin. The oldest vines of the estate (nearly 100 years) are included in the Coeur du Roi cuvee, creating a village wine of great intensity. In addition to several Gevrey premier cru cuvees, the estate produces three grand crus from the village. The Charmes-Chambetin (0.69 ha.) and Mazis-Chambertin (0.22 ha.) are great wines that transcend their terroir, but perhaps the pinnacle of Bernard’s art is the monumental cuvee he produces from 90 year old vines in Le Chambertin (0.05 ha.). On average, only 200 bottles are produced annually of the Chambertin, and they are highly coveted by collectors around the world. To quote Allen Meadows, the flavors of the Le Chambertin “are nothing short of dazzling.” The domaine recently added several parcels in the Cote de Beaune and released white wine for the first time in 2004. From Meursault, a bottling is made from a small parcel of 70 year old vines in the lieu-dit Le Village and the perfumed, intensely mineral wine is a textbook example of its appellation. The wine made by Bernard from the Chassagne premier cru Morgeot (in the lieu-dit Francemont)is very rich, concentrated and seamless in texture.
Only a handful of domaines in Burgundy have received as much critical acclaim as Dugat-Py, but Bernard is not afraid of adjusting his approach. In 2004, the estate began to cultivate their vineyards along biodynamic lines, and Bernard also changed his technique in the cellar. The Dugat-Py wines have always been big, concentrated and dark in color. Today, however, Bernard has been applying a lighter touch. The wines now possess more balance and finesse, while maintaining great concentration. Bernard Dugat makes profound wines and he is justly recognized as one of Burgundy’s greatest winemakers.