Tasted with Roelof & Marlon Ligtmans in Mercurey, 12th February 2015.
Domaine de la Monette
15 Rue du Château
Tel: +33 3 85 98 07 99
The Lightmans had a vacation home in the Morvan, but decided after 2-3 years that it might be nice to make it more permanent. “I find it very hard to do nothing” says Roelof – “Beaune was expensive but the Chalonnaise and Mâconnais seemed interesting. We looked at about 15 places, but this place also had a block of 4 hectares of vines around it. We saw it the last week of 2006 and came back 10 days later in the deepest winter – but we were still smitten and thought if we like it in the winter it can’t be bad! We moved in, in June 2007. A plot of vines was coming up for sale through Safer but you needed to have a qualification to buy – so I went direct into the Lycée in Beaune. Of-course we found that 1.6 hectares of Mercurey was not economical, but luckily we found a number of plots in 2009 so came up to 4.5 hectares. We began ‘organic’ from the start but now some of the 2013s can already have a vin biologique label.”
One third of their produce is sold direct from the cellar door, quite a lot locally too. Roelof is looking for more vines, hoping to reach about 6-7 hectares, and a little 1er cru would be nice too, but it’s hard to find…
We walk past a nice old Vaslin press as we go into the cuverie. Roelof notes his approach “We hand harvest into small crates and then everything is triaged – both colours – I like precision! The reds are destemmed, but maybe a couple of crates of nice clusters will also go into the fermenters. A little pre-fermentation maceration below 10 degrees to help extract a little. I also do some post-fermentation maceration with pumping over. Our whites have fermentation and elevage in 500 litre barrels.
“In 2014 we had frost damage over Easter, then some wind damage before all the vines were trained and then of-course there was the dryness. We aim for 35 hectolitres per hectare, we got only 28 for reds, though the whites did okay.
“As for the 2013s, overall we were very surprised with quality when we look back at the difficulties of the growing season.”
These are good wines – the reds are on the extracted-side, but really they have a lot of material and plenty of balance – it would be better to judge them with some more age as they are certainly built to last!
From 2 plots containing some very old vines.
A whiff of freshness over some weight of discreet fruit. Wide fresh, faintly savoury slightly metallic, actually a nice combination, rather mineral finishing.
2013 Bourgogne Blanc Les Marlys
Oxfordian clay soil – quite rare in this region.
A fresh line of fruit with a little oaky vanilla accompaniment. Lovely, lithe, fine acidity and a good line of flavour here. Again some vanilla but that should fade. Nice energy here and just a little mineral and a lot long!
2013 Mercurey Blanc
A mix of two vines in this vintage. In bottle since about harvest time.
A faintly spiced, peppery element, cool fruit, very mineral wine but with a nice little extra texture. Fine mid-palate intensity and really mouth-watering. Yum!
Only bottled at the beginning of December, only old barrel elevage.
Deep, creamy full and impressive. Quite silky to start but with a growing baseline of tannin, ripe tannin. Super width of flavour and impressively long too. Not your average gamay! Definitely worth trying.
Bright, fresh and wide, subtly oaked at the base. More obvious sucrosity, plenty of energy and depth of flavour too. Plenty of ripe tannin, but not much grain to it. Full-flavoured and gutsy – quite deep coloured. From a heavy clay soil – that accounts for that! Super-drinkable!
Again, super depth of aroma with a little oaky vanilla at the base – really gorgeous, fruit/floral top notes grow from the glass – excellent. Sweet again but bright and fresh. Plenty of depth of flavour once more but really a finer, less gutsy wine than the last. Super.
From 2 plots of vines
I have the impression of a faint reduction to start with, each wine a little less coloured. Slowly a quite vibrant dark fruit comes through. A hint of pettillance? No actually I think it’s the combination a faintly drying tannin and lots of energy. Some bitter-chocolate to the tannin and an off-ripe fruit in the finish. This will soften, but it’s a harder proposition than the last wines – at least today…
2013 Mercurey Le Saut Muchieu
‘Where it all began’ bottled 1st December.
Deeper colour once more. Deep, dark fruit aromas – almost confiture – discreet oak below. Cool, silky plenty of tannin with a lick of dryness but altogether more impressive wine. Plenty of dryness in the finish too. But wait – it will be no problem I think!
2012 Mercurey Les Bourguignones
A hint of reduction to start, but it fades with swirling. Deep, dark fruit again. Wide, lots of flavour dimension – plenty of tannin again but seemingly a little riper, more sweetness of fruit too. Lots of energy – yum!