Domaine Denis Mortet
Chambolle-Musigny “Les Beaux Bruns”
1er Cru Red barrel
Tasted: Jan 15, 2018
Note: from vines planted in 1984 that produced only 1 barrel in 2016 and that barrel was new
Producer note: Arnaud Mortet was in an excellent mood when I arrived for my annual tasting explaining that he had taken over another 4 ha of vines from a vigneron that was retiring. The parcels included a number of villages level vineyards as well as .45 ha in Mazoyères, .27 ha in Charmes-Chambertin plus a parcel in La Perrière. As to the 2016 growing season, like almost all of his colleagues he bemoaned the frost damage, noting that “we lost on average 40% of the prospective crop almost before we got started by in certain parcels the damage was as high as 80%. Then there was an attack of mildew that arose in the middle of the flowering that cost us yet more yield so it would be fair to say that the growing season was pretty complicated from start to finish. I chose to begin picking on the 23rd of September and happily the fruit was both clean and very ripe as the potential alcohols averaged 13% so there was practically no chaptalization. I continue to use whole clusters according to my sense of what the wines need. I used varying amounts in 2015 and up to 70% in 2016 yet none at all in 2017. As to the wines, I actually quite like them as they’re super-fresh and reflect well the underlying terroirs. I just wish there was more of them!” I found the Mortet 2016s to be generally slightly better than what I found elsewhere though there are several real standouts in the context of their respective appellations. He noted that he bottled the 2015s, several of which were reviewed below, in April 2017. By the way, readers are not imagining things as the Charmes and Mazoyères are not the only new grands crus chez Mortet as there is another in the form of the Echézeaux, which was a shared purchase arrangement/lease agreement with the Château de Marsannay and Domaine Georges Roumier (see both herein). Mortet also told me that he intends to begin producing the four wines from the 4 ha that he had just taken over under another label that would include the Charmes, the Mazoyères, the La Perrière and the as-yet-unnamed second cuvée of Gevrey villages. He hadn’t yet decided what the name would be though it might be something as simple as “Arnaud Mortet” or something along the lines of Méo-Camuzet Frère et Soeurs, obviously incorporating the Mortet family name. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. (Martine’s Wines, www.martineswines.com, CA, USA; multiple UK sources, including Bibendum Wine Ltd., www.bibendum-wine.co.uk, Berry Brothers & Rudd, www.bbr.com, Fields, Morris & Verdin, www.fmvwines.com, Goedhuis & Co., www.goedhuis.com, Justerini & Brooks, www.justerinis.com, Harrods Limited, www.harrods.com, Laytons, www.laytons.co.uk, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com, Tanners Wine, www.tanners-wines.co.uk, all UK, L’Imperatrice Fine Wines, www.imperatrice.com.hk, Hong Kong/Macau).
Tasting note: Dominant wood overtly fights with the otherwise fresh, floral and pretty red berry fruit and discreet earth wisps. It is also borderline invasive on the round, fleshy and concentrated medium-bodied flavors that are shaped by both a taut muscularity as well as a moderately firm core of ripe tannins on the youthfully austere and impressively persistent finish. This is a very woody wine and it’s an open question as to whether there is enough stuffing to eventually absorb it. My sense is that there is sufficient density to integrate most, but probably not all, of the oak over time. Time will tell.