Profile: Catherine et Claude Maréchal

Update 20.6.2019(29.5.2019)billn

Tasted in Bligny-lès-Beaune with Claude Maréchal, 17 April 2019.

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal
6 Route de Chalon sur Saône
21200 Bligny-lès-Beaune
Tel: +33 3 80 21 44 37

Here is a domaine in Bligny-lès-Beaune. I’ve known of them for a long time, yet never visited. A recent new label from them – their Bourgogne Côte d’Or, reminded me how good their wines could be, so…

Claude started working in wine in 1981, but this domaine is a creation, began with his father, in 1998. Claude’s father was a cereal farmer with a few vineyard holdings around Bligny-lès-Beaune. Claude tells me that it wasn’t easy to start in the 1980s, as there was the follow-on from the oil-crisis and it was financially difficult for a while afterwards. Claude, together with his wife, Catherine, began with 4 hectares of vines, today it’s 12.5 hectares – all from the Côte de Beaune and the majority is pinot noir – “And heavily regional-based” says Claude, but their holdings still managed to cover the villages of Ladoix, Auxey-Duresses, Volnay, Pommard, Chorey-lès-Beaune and Savigny-lès-Beaune.

Claude’s vineyards are ploughed and no herbicides are used “The number of treatments are kept to a minimum and the pruning here is ‘hard’ in order to keep yields low. I invent nothing, I just try to have good grapes – you won’t make great tomato sauce if you don’t have ripe tomatoes!

And how was 2017 for you, Claude? “Oh-yes, we had nice degrees here, practically 13 – perhaps 12.8°. It was a normal volume vintage for us – we keep just 7-8 bunches per vine.

And in 2019? “Some buds have been lost to the frost – in some parcels of Bourgogne it could be as high as 30% losses – we have forgotten a little about the effects of frost – in 2016 we lost about 85% of the domaine – it wasn’t much better in 2012 with the hail – but we will have to wait to properly judge the results of the last days of frost.

Sales from here are about 40% in France, with a very good representation in fine restaurants.

The wines…

All Côte de Beaune wines and a very consistent level of (high!) class too! An excellent new address for me…

All bottled since the start of the year. DIAM for all the whites and regionals – “I have a horror of oxidation but this also allows me to reduce the sulfur and if I open 10 bottles, I have 10 that are the same. But the worst thing is wines that are ‘masked’ by their cork – a second bottle may be brilliant, but the people may remember only the first!

2017 Bourgogne Côte d’Or ‘Gravel’
Mainly vines in the plain of Pommard looking towards Bligny – not surprisingly on lots of gravel. This all destemmed.
Lots of colour. A big nose from what looks like a big wine. Full, a touch of dry texture but hardly any grain. Long, with depth of flavour – big wine – layered – you wouldn’t guess 17! Bravo Bourgogne! Persistent too.
2017 Ladoix
A single parcel, close to Bois Roussot and Les Chaillots, once from Prince Mérode.
Pretty complexities over a tighter depth – but still lots of wine here – deeply coloured. Very different, a wine of drive and growing, mouth-watering flavour development. Like the naose faintly spiced but at the same time with florals – ooh very different, very gopopd! A certain elegance to the structure here – really super wine. Bravo

2017 Chorey-lès-Beaune
3 parcels blended here. Practically 2 hectares worth. Old vines here.
Dark colour again, a little floral and good depth of fruit. Fine freshness, good drive – lovely silky texture, ooh that’s a lovely finish – very juicy – excellent!

2017 Auxey-Duresses
Opposite Vincent Prunier’s Le Clous – plain south facing.
Some freshness – quite attractive but a little tight. Supple, fresh but concentrated – nicely layered and a floral infusion to the flavours – particularly the finish – excellent finishing if tighter to start.

2017 Savigny-lès-Beaune Vieilles-Vignes
Lots of parcels assembled; some 1er cru – Liards, Planchots, Pimentières, Peuillets and more – almost 2 hectares.
A bigger bouquet of flowers here. More drive, more freshness, less supple more driving – super texture here – a wine built for speed rather than comfort. Weight of concentrated flavour in the finish though. Yum – no sleeping here!

2017 Volnay
From Grand Poissots on the limit with Brouillards
Another wine that starts with a floral attack over silky dark-red fruit. Fuller, also full of energy, mineral great finishing. Easily the best finish – a little harder to start – have a little patience, but excellent!

2017 Pommard La Chanière
Deep colour again. The nose a little tighter, more serious. Wide, great texture some extra structure but no grain, a little salinity too. Depth of finishing flavour – you will benefit from a little patience but there’s fine quality here.

Two 2016s to compare:

2016 Savigny-lès-Beaune Vieilles-Vignes
There will be some Lavières in 2018 – after the hail of 2013 many of the vines didn’t start to regrow properly so Claude decided to replace them. “In 2016 we had the climate of a great vintage, but with no grapes on the vines!”
Nicely floral, depth of fresh flavour – more width and real deliciousness – ooh that’s super mouth-watering, delicious wine – bravo – a gorgeous finish too!
2016 Pommard La Chanière
A concentrated nose, with glimpses of very attractive fruit – perhaps florals too. Full, concentrated but with such a mouth-watering, melting, attractive flavour – subtly grained with ultra-ripe tannin. Bravo – delicious!

Les Blancs:

2017 Bourgogne Aligoté
12.7° natural
A big, bright, waft of fresh aroma – golden-fruited freshness. Hmm, lovely energy, delicious, involving, minerally fresh flavour. Brilliant finishing – such an excellent wine – Bravo!

2017 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Cuvée Antoine
Vines mainly in Bligny on a gravel soil
A nice weight of aroma – almost musky after the aligoté. Fresh, wide, lovely energy, quite mineral in the middle – but lovely sucrosity in the finish – this is another beauty.

2017 Savigny-Lès-Beaune
More freshness, more clarity of aroma. Deep flavour, a little herb in the complexity. Supple concentrated. Love the start, love the finish, it’s a more modest middle today. But long, in fact deliciously long – so yum!

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