Tasted in Pernand with Jean-Charles le Bault de la Morinière, 10 November, 2014.
Bonneau du Martray
Tel:+33 3 80 21 50 64+33 3 80 21 50 64
It was quite sunny when I met with Jean-Charles, though the vineyards seemed soaked with water – he was just back from a business trip, so was at a loss to know how much rain and when – but it seemed like there had been plenty! (Jean-Charles later came back to me with a figure of 110mm over the previous 7 days.) Normally we have a little more time to taste and chat when visiting this address – indeed there was more time to chat, but less wine to taste: The 2012 vintage was so short that Jean-Charles is keeping every bottle he can whilst avoiding the numerous ‘tasting opportunities.’
Jean-Charles on 2013, and an unspoken success of the vintage:
“We lost 70% of our crop in a storm that lasted almost 40 minutes on the 23rd of July. On one hand we were still able to assemble some nice grapes to ferment, though overall, less than 15 hl/ha. But on the other hand I must still consider the vintage a success from the perspective that there was sufficient time for the vines to heal, so that we eventually found enough healthy branches to make our winter pruning in a normal manner.
“Of-course, allocations will once-more be a nightmare. At least there will be more wine in 2014 – though not much more – in almost one minute we lost 30% in the hail at the end of June. The vintage had been promising quality and quantity up to then. Quality is still there, we removed about 3% in our triage including a little botrytis – but that was overwhelmingly confined to some of the second-set bunches that, anyway, should have been left on the vines.”
It’s too easy for us to read the percentage losses, pause for thought, then move on. A 30% loss is somehow abstract, but when we consider that it means 50 barrels less wine for the domaine, that opens the eyes a little more: If we assume 300 bottles per barrel and a modest €100 per bottle, that’s 15,000 bottles worth €1.5 million – at just one domaine…
The wines had been racked into tank with their fine lees in September. Bottling will, give-or-take, be done close to Easter 2015. “We try to be so gentle when we bottle, carefully taking our time, hoping that the wines will be the same after bottling as they were in tank.”
I noted a very similar character to the wines – red and white – wines that were contemplative and silky but with a fine mineral line. “I have no memory of the wines being different, white and red, they come from the same place – they always seem to reflect one another.”
A beautiful, relatively deep colour. The aromatics remain just a little discrete, but allow a pretty, slightly floral and certainly inviting aroma slip from the glass. This wine is supple, has muscle and offers a good freshness of fruit and concentration. The texture is very fine indeed. A wine that starts a little narrow but continues to widen on the palate. A long finishing, still with one or two barrel references. Understated, discreet, a little contemplative but not lacking for character or depth.
A wide if slightly faint, again discrete, nose. Slowly the aroma adds a little depth. Here is another very silky texture and a flavour perspective that offers a fine, wide panorama – lots of insinuating flavour. Here is minerality and a very fine line of flavour that, in the finish, heads for the horizon. Silky and somehow contemplative – very like the Corton.