Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Burgundy Wine, Marquis Wine Cellars, Dec 17

     When I first found out that Marquis Wine Cellar ( www.marquiswines.com ) was going to be sampling a bottle of 2006 Corton Charlemagne Bonneau du Martray, I thought to myself “Well – why not? I’m studying Burgundy anyways!”

     You see, I had no idea who or what was Corton Charlemagne, nor did I know about the magic that is Bonneau du Martray. Thank you, once again, whoever invented the Internet. First of all, Corton Charlemagne is a Grand Cru (in the Côte de Beaune sub region of Burgundy, France) meaning that the terroir has been given the highest ranking possible. Also of note, only Chardonnay wine is produced in this area, and if a Pinot Noir is made, then it must be labeled as Corton.

As for Bonneau du Martray, they are a vineyard of singular history. Not only is Jean-Charles de la Moriniere (the largest single owner of vines within Corton-Charlemagne) dedicated to evolving his land into bio-dynamic status, but he seems just as adamant about evolving his wine to something more then it was. I can’t remember the last time I heard about a winemaker who was so dedicated to lowering his yield! In some of the most expensive land in the world, Jean-Charles is concerned that the quality from the terroir alone isn’t enough, and so he decreases the yield even further to intensify the flavors of the land. Bravo! A man after my own palate.

And so we tasted. Lead by one of the stores several certified sommeliers, and all around great chap “Cole”, we sniffed, swirled and slurped a $150 bottle. “Infantacide” he called it; drinking a wine from this vineyard so young (they take on average 6 to 10 years to start to come into their own) – but he acquiesced that it was still a brilliant experience.

2006 Corton Charlemagne Bonneau du Martray
Cote du Beaune, Burgundy, France, $150 CAD

Visual: ultra pale straw core with watery rim

Nose: fully intense; youthful; layered;
   toasty oak, almondy lees, wild grasses, lime terroir,
   slightly hot alcohol

Palate: 0 dryness, fully intense lemony-grassy acids,  
   moderate creamy body,   moderate- intense youthful flavors; very tight and reluctant to open;
   palate mimicked nose admirably, hot alcohol was absent
   very long finish (30 seconds or longer)

Conclusion: a 5-year old wine that is too young to drink. This wine has all sorts of astoundingly rich qualities, however I found a general lack of cohesion which was almost annoying... I am an impatient man and can’t wait to try this wine again when it has “come into its own”

Pairing: I don’t think I would ever want food with this – I enjoyed tasting it and smelling it so much! However, if pressed, I would admit to wanting Escalopes de Veau

After this utter treat, and true experience, we moved on to the 2006 Domaine Jean Tardy Clos du Vougeot Grand Maupertuis. Because heck, I haven’t got enough to learn about – right? Well... it turns out there is always more time to learn when someone else pays $185 to open a bottle and let me taste!

Jean Tardy may not seem like a man who comes to wine naturally, when many families in Burgundy can trace their roots back through centuries of winemaking – not decades. But, to me, winemaking (much as the rest of life) is decided more by passion and commitment rather then family. And Jean-Tardy is a man of passion. Singularly obsessed with squeezing every last nuance out of his terroir, he also is a man after my own palate. He scorns fining of wines, bemoaning “There is nothing left in the wine!”. Ah Jean, I was born in Canada and you in France, and yet it seems we speak the same language.

A small winery, it produces only 2000 cases a year, and these are always in small supply. Jean is more then willing to use the most dreaded word in customer-service: “Non.”. Once again, a man I can respect. How I managed to taste one of these rarefied bottles in attributable to the dynamic relations John Clerides, owner of Marquis Wine Cellar, has forged in Burgundy. Thank you John, for showing me the beauty of the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits.

2006 Domaine Jean Tardy Clos du Vougeot Grand Maupertuis
Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France $185 CAD

Visual: pale cherry core with brickish rim

Nose: fully intense; fresh & youthful; layered
  Burgundian leathery oak, baie rouges especially red currants,
  some blackberry making an appearance after a few seconds, 
  slightly hot with rich, sweet fruit layers

Palate: 0 dryness, full acids, moderate+ soft tannins, moderate- body
             moderate + intense; fresh & youthful; somewhat layered
            excellent matching of the palate to the nose (same notes with some cocoa)
             very long finish (30 seconds or longer)

Conclusion: an excellent young wine just starting to come into it’s own, the tannins have started to soften and the fruit/terroir balance is impeccable! I would love to have 6 bottles to sample every year and learn how it can develop. A pity that Jean Tardy and Son have lost this vineyard, but it raises high expectations for the future.

Pairing: Cassoulet. For the love of god, that would be a divine meal (pun intended).

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