Domaine de La Bon Gran

Domaine de la Bon Gran

France, Burgundy

The Thévenets' original and flagship domaine, in which Jean Thévenet's son Gautier is now formly in charge, still making wines which are rich and ripe and are given no oak at all, and yet which still manage to be the most complex and satisfying wines of the Mâconnais.

The main cuvée we ship is his top 'dry' cuvée, called 'Sélection EJ Thévenet', which, after a nervous few years in which wines with over 2g of residual sugar were not admitted into the appellation, is now allowed to be called Viré-Clessé. Gautier also makes tiny quantities of the highly sought-after Cuvée Levroutée, a late-harvest just touched by botrytis with the constitution and depth of a Montrachet, and infinitesimal amounts of his Cuvée Botrytis, a fully sweet Sélection des Grains Nobles style. Organic production.

I remember my first encounters with the wines from Domaine de Bongran. I just didn't get it. Mâconnais? That is not supposed to be sweet. Where has all this residual sugar come from? Of course, I did not understand at the time that this is the signature style of the domaine and quickly learned to love the wines, especially after spending a memorable afternoon with Jean Thévenet touring the vines and the winery. Of course, they use different names across not the biggest portfolio of all time: Domaine de Bongran, Domaine de Roally and Gillet—readers should refer to U.S. importer Louis Dressner's website that has some useful information on how this came to be. On this occasion, I tasted through the wines with his son Gautier, although Jean dropped by to say hello. Gautier told me how they continue to ferment at low temperatures over ten to 12 months to finish the fermentation that naturally comes to a halt. These wines are complex and fascinating, as age-worthy as many white Burgundy wines, perhaps even more so. Their high residual sugar levels are part of Thévenet's DNA, something that Jean believes is intrinsically related to terroir expression; on more than one visit he reminded me that historically wines from this region contained similar levels of sweetness. Prices remain a fraction of what you would have to pay for a top Côte de Beaune, and I cannot recommend these highly enough. A few days after my visit I brought a bottle of the 1994 Cuvée Botrytis to a table of Burgundy lovers back in London. Needless to say, they were totally smitten by these wonderful wines. Neal Martin,  (Sep 2017)

Jean Thevenet became renowned for his sweet cuvées, though the first time that I tasted them blind with the BIVB, the unorthodox style and residual sugar completely threw me. Was Mâconnais supposed to be like a Sauternes? It was only after visiting the estate that I really understood the wines and loved them ever since. I briefly said hello to Jean Thevenet, but spent most of my time with his son Gautier. “I think 2018 is better than 2019 at the moment,” he explained as we tasted through the three different labels (Domaine de la Bongran, Domaine Emilian Gilet and Domaine de Roally). “But maybe in the long-term 2019 might be more interesting because of the better acidity. Because we build the wines slowly in the winery, ageing gives the wines complexity.” He then reminded me that the white marn soils in Viré-Clessé are not unlike those in Corton-Charlemagne.

These are really quite exceptional bottlings that transcend their humble origins. If you think that Viré-Clessé cannot produce great wine, then you have not tasted Thevenet. These are wines that definitely deserve ample bottle maturity, not least Cuvée Levroutée. “Levrouté” is a term Jean Thevenet coined, but that is now legal for any producer using exceptionally ripe berries that are picked at a liminal point: sweet as can be, but without botrytis. These wines age brilliantly. Vintages like 1994, 1996, 2005 and 2006 rank amongst the greatest sweet wines in the world.

Neal Martin,  (Nov 2021)

Gautier Thevenet took up the reins from his father Jean in 2000, but nothing has changed at this domaine, celebrated since the early 20th century for its uncompromising winemaking. Low-yielding Chardonnay selections, late harvests and protracted fermentation and maturation in tank produce deep, concentrated, singular wines. Decanter Magazine  (Jun 2017)

Jean Thevenet is the doyen of Viré-Clessé, and works with his son Gauthier at the Domaine de Bon Gran. Domaine de Roally and Domaine Emilian Gillet are other wines that they produce. Jean is a fan of late-harvest Chardonnay, which is not to my taste at all, but the dry wines, not bottled until 21 months after the harvest, are fine. They keep well too." Clive Coates in Decanter magazine Decanter Magazine