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Top class Burgundy: Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray

Domaine Bonneau du Martray is a Burgundy Domain in Pernand-Vergelesses with very concentrated vineyard holdings: 11 hectares on the Corton Hill, of which 9.5 ha of chardonnay and 1.5 ha of pinot noir, and no other vineyards. It is said to be the only domain in Burgundy which has only Grand Cru vineyards. From this holding are produced only two wines: a white Corton-Charlemagne and a red Corton.

The white wines from Corton-Charlemagne normally have a slightly different style than those of Montrachet and its grand cru neighbours. They are tighter and more dominated by a high acidity, and less rich and buttery. Comments such as “a step in the direction of Chablis grand cru” are quite common. But as often when it comes to Burgundy, much depends on the producer and on the vintage, in terms of both quality and style.

Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne grand cru

Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne grand cru, copyright BKWine Photography

Bonneau du Martray makes a very classic Corton with marked minerality, in a style that usually is distinctly tight and hard when young. There is, however, also the intensity of aromas and a typical elegance.

For me, this is a wine that should be kept for a number of years in the cellar to realise its full potential. Therefore it was very nice that the importer Tryffelsvinet also had several reference wines with some age to present when they showed their new launch.

The latest vintage was in Systembolaget’s web launch on November 26, and at the same time they launched a smaller batch of the 1985 vintage. It is not often Burgundy of that age come on the market.

Tasted wines:

Corton-Charlemagne 2013

~130 euro (approximate retail price in Sweden)

Aroma of ripe fruit, citrus, yellow apples, some melon and hints of peach and tropical fruit, a smokiness that is both a kind of mineral tone as well as well-managed oak barrels, and a discreet whiff of perfume. The aroma is a bit more tropical and fruity than what a young Bonneau du Martray tends to be but still gives a cool impression thanks to notes of citrus and a chablis-like smokiness. In the taste I find citrus, green apple, high acidity and a distinct mineral tone with steel-like character. The aftertaste is very fresh with greenish-apples with minerals. The taste is typical of the vintage. 2013 Burgundy has clean aromas and high acidity which gives to the white wines a fresh style. Overall, a wine that, as usual, should be given time in the cellar, 92 + / 93 (+) p.

Corton-Charlemagne 2001

The wine is still bright in colour. An elegant nose of citrus, including citrus peel, white flowers, aromatic oil, some vanilla, chalky mineral tones, including chalk dust, very well integrated oak tones. The nose is surprisingly young for the age! Here you hardly have any of the buttery and nutty tones that one could have expected at least a little bit of at fourteen years. Taste of green apple, citrus, very mineral tone, high acidity, good concentration, and a green apples and very mineral aftertaste. Still young and with good development potential, 93-94 (+) p.

The Corton hill in Burgundy with Corton-Charlemagne

The Corton hill in Burgundy with Corton-Charlemagne, copyright BKWine Photography

Corton-Charlemagne 1998

On the nose ripe yellow apples along with some fried apples, some nuts, smoke and spices, as well as some oak tones in the background that goes together with hints of spices. The nose is more developed than in the 2001, and in line with what one would expect from a wine of this age. The flavour has yellow apples, citrus, some body and viscosity, some spices, fine mineral tones, high acidity, some nuts and an aftertaste with a yellow apples. Quite mature but can be kept a little bit more time in the cellar, 92 p.

Corton-Charlemagne 1985

~ 280 euro (est Swedish retail)

Developed aromas with ripe yellow apples, some citrus, honey, honey comb, hazelnuts, some candy with nuts and nut biscuits, slightly floral. Great balance and elegance! A flavour of yellow apples, some citrus, good concentration and fine viscosity, distinct rocky mineral tones, some spices, high acidity. The aftertaste shows green apple, mineral and some touch of spices. This wine is fully mature but not at all “mature” and is more polished in its development than the 1998. There was some disagreement about the wine, but it may be due to that few people drink white Burgundy with age after the miserable premox problems appeared. For me, a great wine and worth 94 p.

The tasting was organised by the importer Tryffelsvinet.

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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Corton grand cru Bonneau du Martray 1988 cork

Corton grand cru Bonneau du Martray 1988 cork, copyright BKWine Photography

Corton grand cru Bonneau du Martray 1988

Corton grand cru Bonneau du Martray 1988, copyright BKWine Photography

Domaine Bonneau du Martray wine bottles

Domaine Bonneau du Martray wine bottles, copyright R Eriksson

This post is also available in: Swedish

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  1. Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray | Tomas's wine blog - November 29, 2015

    […] 1998: 92, and 1985: 94) ahead of the Swedish importer Tryffelsvinet’s annual release. Since I participated in the tasting as a representative of BKWine, the tasting notes are published … (The translation into English has been done by them, by the […]

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