Ah, Corton – I have the memory of many great bottles but rarely were those great bottles less than 25 years of age – but the times they are a changin’…
The most recent vintages – say 2015 onwards – have elevated the ripeness and accessibility of the wines of Corton – there really is such a thing as delicious young Corton today. With that in mind, I decided to look at the 2018 vintage – very complicated in many areas due to extra ripeness, alcohol, volatility – you name it. But in traditionally cooler, or better said, more ‘structural’ locations extra ripeness is often a positive factor. Corton of austerity – rather like Clos de Vougeot – is more and more of a rarity. Winemaking has moved on, but more so because the climate has allowed such changes.
As for the more obviously oaked wines in this tasting, I wouldn’t hesitate in waiting 5 years for this (largely) flavour to fade but even in these more friendly (warm) vintages for Corton, it’s more and more a wine that you could drink and even enjoy very young, though you should really start drinking them with at least 10 years of age…
All-in-all, here is the value Burgundy Grand Cru – and you won’t often see that conjunction of words today!
All 30 wines tasted blind, in Beaune, in the order listed. 31 wines started the journey but one was corked and there were no backup bottles…
A heavy bottle. Medium-plus colour. A fresh and direct nose, supported with some pretty red berry fruit. Hmm, that’s a super start – fresh, a line of melting, direct flavour – there’s intensity here too, layers of flavour. The tannin is beautifully managed. A wine that holds very well indeed. That’s a really great start. Bravo!
Château de Pommard, Corton
A characteristic bottle – there’s no escaping where this one comes from. A nose of more width, less impact – subtly perfumed – almost elegant. A little extra sweetness – the wine growing fuller in waves of flavour. Yes, there’s oak, but a style that seems to grow and grow, at first subtle and then with more presence. A shame to talk more about the oak, but that’s the wine for now – but still a wine with no hard edges, a fine texture and super length. I’d be waiting 3-5 years for that oak to fade.
Maillard Père et Fils, Corton
A little more colour here. A little reduction too – swirling does a good job of dissipating and bringing higher tones to the fore. A wine of impact, of concentration but still good freshness. A bit of brute to start – there’s a strong Corton structure and intensity and no lack of concentration. Slowly this is a wine that relaxes over the palate and finishes wide and interesting. The first wine with a ‘traditional’ wait 10 year perspective, however, not due to overt structure, simply the scale of the wine. Excellent!
Louis Latour, Corton-Grancey
A deep, deep nose – not reduced – lacking some higher tones initially. Wide, lovely acidity, a certain intensity to this width of flavour and attendant finish too. Some herb in the mix but really rather impressive. If the wine adds some depth to its impressive width, we will have a winner here.
Edouard Delauney, Corton
A much rounder nose – it almost has a bit of everything – fresh, pure, higher tones and deeper red berry notes. There’s some sweet, smoky oak at the base – but in a supporting, not a dominating role. A wine of finishing scale – the oak today more obvious in the last flavours. A very impressive and long-finishing wine. Excellent.
A nose of fresh width, suggesting a mix of flowers and herbs, supported by more guarded fruit. Just a slightly reductive touch in the flavour. I like the fresh, mouth-watering style, the open presentation and the mouth-watering finish too. A wine that still needs to come together but all that it needs seems to be present.
Another heavy bottle. Quite a different nose – freshness and a certain almond note, faintly lactic, certainly quite high-toned. A little of the aroma comes through in the flavours too. But this is wide, plenty fresh enough and decently concentrated. The finish is, without question, very long. A particular wine…
Deeper coloured. Hmm – not the largest nose, but what a fine one – precise darker berries and the first which has an obvious floral component to it – a beautiful aromatic clarity. Ultra-silky, nicely direct. This is class in a glass. A gorgeous, beautifully mouth-watering flavour that grows in width and becomes almost juicy in the finish. Great Corton in a modestly elegant package.
Louis Latour, Corton Clos la Vigne au Saint
A fuller yet still more airy nose – more overtly red-fruited. More supple freshness, more overtly red-fruited in the mouth too. There is supporting oak which grows and, for a time, almost takes centre-stage before slowly fading. Very well put together wine.
Edmond Cornu, Corton-Bressandes
Lots of colour again. A deep nose; fresh, darkly fruited – I like the clarity of aroma here. A little rounder, quite supple, less overt acidity but no less mouth-watering. Certainly a riper wine but not with apparent over-ripeness. A little less finishing precision but still rather long. Not the finest but certainly delicious.
Denis Père et Fils, Corton Les Paulands
A vertical nose; high and low tones, narrower in the width – a suggestion of smoky oak at the base. A rather nice attack – freshness and clarity of flavour a growing tannin structure but with no grain. The finish is chewy and tasty. This is excellent but give it a little time to develop…
A nose of depth, of herb, of a floral/pyrazine – gentian – some suggestion of whole clusters too. The freshest and most acid-forward of all the wines so far. A big burst of finishing complexity too where the stems are more evident. The most complex but also one of the most difficult today – a wine that stands apart – there’s the potential for excellent maybe even great here but only if you have the patience!
Clos de la Chapelle, Corton-Bressandes
Another heavy bottle. A sweetly floral, quite wide nose – a certain elegance. Punchy, mouth-filling – sweetly fruited but with fine clarity to this flavour. Insistent in the middle and a faint frame of drier tannin – but no tannic grain. Holding great in the finish. Very good wine.
Plenty of colour. A deeper, darker fruit but still with energy and fine clarity – a good invitation. Lovely texture, nicely wide – a flavour that’s growing more insistent and intense. Right at the end a little creamy oak in the finishing complexity but it was well-hidden before that. Very classy Corton – it has everything. Bravo.
Antonin Guyon, Corton-Clos du Roi
Plenty of colour again. Here a high-toned nose that becomes expressively floral, less communicative below. A panorama of flavour over the palate, depth to the flavour too. Holding very well, subtly oaked in the finish. Not a large-scaled Corton, but a delicious and excellent one.
Ardhuy, Corton-Clos du Roi
A heavier bottle again. Ooh – now that’s similar to the last nose – but a little better in all directions. Fine scale in the mouth – extra depth and intensity of flavour – the oak a little more obvious though. More finishing bitters but a flavour that really persists. A more traditionally structural Corton, but again a wine with everything – just have patience, it will be excellent.
Then a corked Clos du Roi…
Antonin Cosnier, Corton Les Renardes
The new iteration of Domaine Marius Delarche.
A vibrant nose; it suggests florals, smoke, wood, gas, maybe a little reduction too! Wide, fresh, yes a reductive smoky oak – actually a lot – the shape, texture and balance of the wine are fine, but from a flavour perspective, it’s completely dominated by the smoky oak today. For the patient but there’s an elegant side to this wine too…
Parent, Corton Les Renardes
A narrow nose but one that’s rather deep. The flavour profile is a good one – higher tones that are faintly floral, slowly mouth-watering – generally a mouth-filling wine. Narrowing in the finish but a very long finish. A good wine for sure.
Ardhuy, Corton Les Renardes
A very attractive width of fresh aroma – it’s an invitation for sure. The palate is a match for the nose – a wide panorama of flavour – a little less ‘together’ than many of these wines but mouth-watering through the largely hidden structure. The finish is serious but also tasty. Just a little more evident structure than many – but it’s Corton so no problem. Very good.
Françoise Andre, Corton Les Renardes
A more guarded nose again – though with a darker complexion to the fruit. Wide but also driving the flavour forward. The middle to finishing flavours are really excellent.
Maillard, Corton Les Renardes
Depth of aroma, fewer higher tones. Big in the mouth – burly – plenty of structural elements but as part of a fine bundle of energy. The final flavours adhering to the inside of my mouth. Very good!
Albert Bichot, Corton Clos de la Marechaudes
A nose of good intensity – a little more herb for sure. Here’s an impression of herby whole clusters and nicely mouth-watering waves of flavour. I like the shape and structure of this wine and particularly the finishing flavour. It should be excellent.
A much deeper nose – vibrant too. The scale of this is large and mouth-filling. All the while with very good energy. It lingers well with lots of dark finishing flavour. Another excellent wine.
Jean-Pierre Maldant, Corton-Marechaudes
A little more colour. Directly more intense red fruit – rather ripe. Supple, sweet – feels great in the mouth – modestly touched by tannin but no grain from the tannin. This is beautifully constructed but also rather ripe. Very good wine though.
Ardhuy, Corton Les Pougets
That’s an inviting nose – a freshness of herb – almost minty menthol over a width of silky ripe fruit. Mouth-filling, good energy and plenty of depth to this flavour. Wide is a theme here – the width of the finishing flavour too. Fine balance and delicious too. Excellent wine.
Louis Jadot, Corton Les Pougets
Another heavy bottle. A little less depth of colour for this wine. A more vertical nose – the slight menthol of the last wine with plenty of deeper notes, less width. A wave of sweet but attractive flavour over the palate – red fruit and the most subtle of finishing oak. Very nicely constructed wine.
Jean-Pierre Maldant, Corton Les Grandes Lolières
A little extra colour here. The nose of deep and simmering fruit, softer, redder fruit above. I have the impression of freshness despite the ripe fruit and certainly plenty of mouth-filling style. The finish shows none of the warmth of the nose and is delicious, Very good!
Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume, Corton Les Grandes Lolières
A rare wine in this series – one of fine and floral perfume. A touch of gas on the palate, an extra dryness of tannin versus the other wines here, but there’s no grain to this tannin. Mouth-wateringly long finishing – the tannin still visible here. You could say more ‘classic’ Corton, certainly a lick less of ripeness than many here. Excellent in the traditional sense of Corton as a vin-de-garde.
Louis Latour, Corton Perrières
Higher tones again, herbs, flowers and fruit – a nice invitation. More supple, more depth to the flavour too – more attractive young fruit. Wide and chewy in the finish – a wine with much to find and that doesn’t make things too easy for you – I’ve no problem with that, this is an excellent wine.
A heavy bottle. A large-scaled aroma – also a complex, inviting and open aroma. Supple but properly structured too – lots of energy, mouth-watering flavour, the tannin merely a grainless accent. The finish is large-scaled like the nose. Long, slow, finishing waves of flavour. Bravo, that’s a super wine.