The chequered flag for Clark’s Morey St. Denis venture


Photography: Jason Lowe

Photography: Jason Lowe

After a decade as a successful Burgundy vigneron, ex-Formula One pro David Clark has announced that the 2012 vintage will be his last. Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Javier Perurena reviews Clark’s time in wine-making’s fast lane

Behind a great wine there is usually a great story, and former Formula One professional David Clark’s is one of those worth mentioning.

David started his F1 career as an engineer with Williams where, for five years, he was in charge of the team’s pit-stop strategies.

In an unlikely manoeuvre, Clark abandoned the glamour of the race circuit for life as a vigneron. He studied at the Viticultural School in Beaune and, as soon as a small plot of land was made available, he bought it. This was 2004. Subsequently, he acquired other sites and even managed to acquire a house with wine-making facilities in Morey St. Denis.

And so continued his fast-paced, high-achieving life: between 2004 and 2012 he had produced an astonishing five wines from just two hectares of land. His work in the vineyard has been significant, and has won the respect of the vignerons in the area. Clark’s wine-making practice was boundary-pushing: he farmed the land organically, treating each plot as if it were a Grand Cru site. Naturally, this resulted in low yields – around 6,000 bottles per year and even less in small crop vintages such as 2012 – making the fruits of his labour highly sought after.

With an engineer’s precise eye and attention to detail, Clark’s wines were the result of exhaustive work in the vineyard and careful vinification in order to preserve their terroir.

Last week, David Clark presented the samples of 2012, his latest – and last – vintage in London. Very limited quantities of these excellent wines are available in bond.