Exclusive top Burgundy in new and old version
On the Corton Hill in the northern part of Côte de Beaune you can find the largest grand cru vineyard in Burgundy, Corton. Here both red and white wines are produced. On those parts of the hill that are considered best for white wines, the appellation the appellation is Corton-Charlemagne. The largest vineyard owner on the hill is Domaine Bonneau du Martray. They own 11 ha, of which 9.5 hectares of Chardonnay are used to produce white Corton-Charlemagne and 1.5 ha of Pinot Noir are used to produce red Corton. (The entire Corton hill is divided into three pieces: Corton with 160 ha, Corton-Charlemagne with 72 ha and Charlemagne with 63 ha.)
Bonneau du Martray’s Corton-Charlemagne usually appears on the Swedish market (at the Systembolaget monopoly) every year, and equally regularly, the importer Tryffelsvinet invites to a tasting. Since they are a relatively big producer, they usually also release some older bottles on a regular basis. This year these older bottles will only be available through “private import”.
The vintage launched now is 2016. It is a vintage that offered great challenges in Burgundy; due to spring frost and hail it was a very small harvests. However, the wine that was eventually produced was of very good quality. Generally speaking, relatively tight wines with a fine elegance and a distinct acidity. The small volumes mean that prices have generally moved upwards a notch from the 2015s.
Corton-Charlemagne 2016, Bonneau du Martray
~170 euro (1650 kr), launch on 1 Nov in Sweden.
A powerful nose of ripe fruits including pears, yellow plums, yellow apples, barrel character, including buttery notes, floral and perfumed character. The taste has good concentration, ripe pears and apples, some yellow plums, distinct mineral tones with mint character, good acidity. The wine has a noticeable viscosity but at the same time a great freshness, and a finish with a lot of mineral. A young wine that shows both weight and an elegant and tight character.
This vintage showed more power and more traditional oak ageing barrel character than usual for Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray. At the same time, the character typical of the vintage is there with minerals, acidity and elegance. One could say that the wine in this vintage is one step closer to a Bâtard-Montrachet than usual. The question is whether this means that it will develop a little faster than usual for a Corton-Charlemagne? 10-15 years of ageing would otherwise be an excellent time for those who dare to wait and who have patience.
Corton-Charlemagne 1999, Bonneau du Martray
~190 euro (1840 kr), available via “private import” from Tryffelsvinet.
Beautifully mature and developed nose with fried apples, a hint of old winter apples, some yellow apples and citrus, some hazelnuts, minerals with touches of nice clay tones. The taste has good concentration, ripe yellow apples, fried apples, hazelnuts, spices, good acidity, some viscous mouthfeel, increasingly mineral tones in the middle, aftertaste with minerals and apples. A fully mature wine, which has developed and matured very well.
A wine that clearly shows how Corton-Charlemagne can be if you let it mature. 1999 is a good vintage for white Burgundy, but not one particularly rich in acidity. I get the feeling that the 1999 is a bit less viscous and “oily” than the 2016, but it is probably so that the 1999 is more in line with how Bonneau du Martray’s wines usually are.
Read more on this producer:
- Corton-Charlemagne 2014, 2006, 2001, from Bonneau du Martray
- Top class Burgundy: Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray
- Burgundy at its best, two top producers under the loupe
- Uncorked: Good wines we have tasted recently, February 2015
Tomas Eriksson is one of the contributors on BKWine Magazine. He is active in the wine tasting association AuZone in Stockholm and in Munskänkarna, where he sometimes holds wine courses. Tomas also runs a blog called Vintomas.
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This post is also available in: Swedish