Conceived under Louis XI and completed under François 1er, the medieval Bastion at the heart of Domaine Chanson, and indeed Beaune, is dedicated wholly to the ageing and safeguarding of wines from Chanson’s 45 hectares of exclusively Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. The four storey high structure, with 8-metre thick walls, provides an exceptional atmosphere for the maturation of fine Burgundian wines, maintaining a constant level of temperature and humidity. Known as ‘Le Bastion de l’Oratoire’, it is one of five such buildings still present in Beaune, and has been in constant use since Domaine Chanson was founded in 1750.
This remarkable edifice reflects the intention of Chanson to do their utmost to preserve winemaking traditions of the region, allowing wines of the purest Burgundian spirit to be made. Respecting the vine at every stage of the winemaking process is paramount for winemaker Jean-Pierre Confuron, as it allows for the most precise expression of terroir possible. Practices such as plot selection, yield control and short pruning are followed by hand harvesting and sorting, then soft pressing for the whites and whole bunch maceration for the reds. Yet, with tradition must come progress, and Chanson also look to the future.
The Bollinger family took ownership of the Domaine in 1999, and marked improvements in quality and appreciation of the wines have resulted from their investments. A modern winery was built in Savigny-lès-Beaune in 2010, where juice and grapes are transported by gravity, and precise plots of land are vinified separately, allowing more precision in the winemaking. New approaches to cooling the grapes on arrival at the winery also allow for longer alcoholic fermentation, in turn improving aroma, freshness and texture in the wines.