Chateau de Chamilly Mercurey 'Clos La Perriere' Monopole 2014
‘Exuberant’ is the word that springs to mind. This single-vineyard Mercurey is wholly owned by the Desfontaines, and is situated in the heart of the village. It is bright, juicy and full, with soft, round spicy black fruit. Open and balanced, with depth but not heaviness. A nice initial finish on primary Pinot notes, but it opens in the glass to early hints of secondary Pinot earth, tobacco cinnamon and leather. Bright, smoky and long. A nice glass of wine.
CHATEAU DE CHAMILLY
The Chateau de Chamilly sits in a verdant hidden valley in the very north of the Cote Chalonnaise, 20 minutes south of Beaune. It was built in the 17th century, raised up on the foundations of a 14th century fortified farm. It was bought by the Desfontaine family, the present owners, at the beginning of the 19th century, including the surrounding farmland.
The Desfontaine family can trace its vineyard and winemaking ancestry back at least 12 generations. They are understandably attached to the old stones, the land and the life and hard work that goes with it. Their motto is ‘Ex Nihilo Nihil’: Nothing comes from Nothing.
Today, Xavier and Arnaud work with their mother Veronique to produce wines primarily from the Cote Chalonnaise (Mercurey and Montagny), but produce wines from the Cote d’Or as well (a Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Sous le Puits’, a Saint Aubin 1er Cru ‘Derriere Chez Edouard’ and a Fixin 1er Cru ‘Clos du Chapitre’ and a Grand Cru Corton.
They describe their primary work as limiting as much as possible the traditional treatment of the vine. They are not actively looking for an organic farming certification, because they believe that the subject is so vast that their work would be impeded. They prefer their own instincts to any codified system.
They are adamant that each vineyard and thus each wine is different. So their goal is to keep things simple and healthy, and let the vineyard express itself. The very notion of ‘terroir’.
Harvest is done by hand, and there is always a carful sorting of the grapes before they enter the winery.
All red wines and some of the whites are raised for 18 months. 12 in French oak and 6 ‘en masse’ (in tanks) to allow the wines to meld. The percentage of new oak is a function of the perceived richness of the wine and vintage.
They are looking for Pinot Noir that is fine and elegant. And Chardonnay that is pure and frank.
Mercurey ‘Les Marcoeurs’
Montagny ‘Les Bassets’
Montagny ‘Les Reculerons’
Montagny 1er Cru ‘Les Burnins’
Montagny 1er Cru ‘Les Jardins’
Puligny Mointrachet 1er Cru ‘Sous le Puits’
Saint Aubin 1er Cru ‘Derriere Chez Edouard’
Mercurey ‘Les Puillets’
Mercurey ‘Clos la Perriere’ Monopole
Mercurey ‘Les Monthelons’
Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise
Fixin 1er Cru ‘Clos du Chapitre’
Corton Grand Cru
2014 was a year for maxims in Burgundy. One was the ‘don’t count your chickens’ warning. And another, a keystone in Burgundy wine making, was ‘September makes the wine’. Simple truths to heed.
After three very small harvests, Burgundy urgently needed to fill its cellars. And despite some heart-breaking setbacks and a growing season that was jumbled in disorder, a decent amount of wine was produced. Not enough, of course. But ‘correct’, as the French would say.
There was no winter to speak of, followed by a mild and sunny period from February through April that saw some rain, but less than normal. The vine got going early, and talk was of a late August harvest.
But May was cool and rainy, which slowed the development. The vine began to flower in the last week of May in the southern part of the region. So at that point, counting the traditional 100 days from flowering to harvest, picking would start in early September. The weather during the flowering period was sunny and warm with just enough rain for this critical period to unfold and to finish.
And then early June was hot. Summer hot. As June was in 2003, some have said. This speeded things up. The flowering in the northern part of the region, and in those vineyards at higher altitudes, got a kick that would help them to phenolic maturity later.
With these conditions, fruit began to appear soon thereafter, and by the end of June small grapes had formed and clustered. The hot dry conditions however led to both millerandage (unevenly formed bunches made up of normal grapes and thick-skinned seedless berries ) and coulure (buds that never flowered), both of which reduce the overall crop, but which can give concentration to the remaining fruit.
Flowering and fruit set was certainly among the earliest of the past twenty years, with as much as a week head start on what would be considered normal here. And if you compare 2013 to 2014, we were three weeks in advance.
Then disaster struck. At the end of June, a series of violent hail storms ripped through the region. One in the Cote de Nuits, where parts of Nuits and Chambolle-Musigny were hit with 20% crop loss. The other two in the Cote de Beaune: the first, widespread, ranging from Meursault in the south and on up to the Corton Mountain and Savigny les Beaune, caused substantial damage; the other, painfully localized, tore through the premier cru hillsides of Pommard and Volnay. The latter was the newsmaker, with up to 80% crop damage in some sectors, but also because this was the third consecutive year that Pommard and Volnay had been seriously damaged. There have been subsequent financial worries for small producers who were not insured.
Yet, despite these disasters, from Macon to Chablis there was a serious crop on the vines. Weather in July was mixed. Hot and sunny, then cloudy and cool. Constant rumblings of thunder in the distance kept everyone on edge.
Hail damage often leads to mildew, so vigilant vineyard work was crucial as the rains came and August turned cool, wet and gloomy, more like winter than the previous winter had been. Maturity stalled on the vine. And with the ever-present risk of rot cast a pall on the chill August air.
As we reached September, with fingers crossed, Burgundians put their hopes in the maxim that ‘September makes the wine’. Because in 2014, it was make or break. We needed a glorious September, and that’s exactly what we got. Light, warm northerly winds. Warm days, cool nights. Everything needed to salvage the potential mess that August had served up. In the end, we had the best harvest conditions that we have seen in many years.
Picking started on 8 September in the south, around the 15th in the Cote and Chablis, and finished around the 26th in the Hautes Cotes.
The crop came in healthy. There was no rot. And with normal sorting work in the winery (mostly where there had been hail damage) we brought in one of the healthiest harvests in recent years. The whites are balanced and intense. The reds show good ripe fruit. Some say the best vintage since 2009. A miracle!
Mercurey, situated in the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise (12 kilometres from Chalon-sur-Saône) is one the foremost appellations of Bourgogne. Protected from moisture-bearing winds, tucked away in its hillsides or stretched along the aptly named Val d’Or (Golden Valley) the vineyards stretch as far as the neighboring village of Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu. The AOC status was instituted in 1923.Reunited by means of fellowship of the Chanteflûte, created in 1971, the local winemakers are dedicated to enjoying the wines of Mercurey and promoting them to the world.
Mercurey red is a deep, profound ruby. This crisp wine evokes strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. Age brings in notes of underbrush, spicy tobacco notes and cocoa beans. The palate is rich, full-bodied, and chewy. In its youth, the tannins of this wine lend it a mineral firmness. When aged, it is attractively rounded.
Mercurey is a typical Chardonnay gold, it varies in its degree of paleness and is flecked with green. It has floral aromas mayflower and acacia, with, hazelnut, almond, and cinnamon and pepper spice). A touch of flint is a trademark of this wine.
The vines grow at heights of 230 to 320 metres. They spread over marls and marly calcic soils of Oxfordian limestone. On the eastern side, they grow in calcic and marly soils. In the west crystalline Jurassic rocks are overlain by gravels. Part of the vineyards belong to the Bathonien. On these white limey soils and red clays, the vines are truly at home.
White Wines – Chardonnay
Red Wines – Pinot Noir
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Reds: 548.68 ha (including 153.80 ha Premier Cru)
Whites: 84.59 ha (including 14.71 ha Premier Cru)
Red: rich, meaty and solidly put together, Mercurey brings out the best from beef rib steaks, or joints of beef or lamb, braised or in sauce. Roast pork is well suited to its rich aromas, as are poultry-based stews. Exotic dishes likewise are good partners for this wine. As for the cheeseboard, this wine harmonizes equally well with either mild, soft cheeses or aged versions
White: its spicy and floral bouquet and juicy appeal let it partner grilled fish or fish in sauce, cooked seafood, asian cuisine, and hard cheeses. White Mercurey can also make a excellent aperitif.
Clos de Paradis
Clos des Barraults
Clos des grands Voyens
Clos des Myglands
Grand Clos Fortoul
Le Clos du Roy
Le Clos l'Evêque
Les Champs Martin
Clos Château de Montaigu
Clos des Hayes
Creu de Montelons
En Pierre Milley
La Croix Rousse
La Plante Chassey
Le Bois Cassien
Le Clos la Marche
Le Clos Laurent
Le Clos Rond
Le Meix de la Guinarde
Le Meix Foulot
Le Meix Frappé
Le Puits Brintet
Le Saut Muchiau
Les Bois de Lalier
Les Vignes Blanches
Les Vignes d'Orge
Les Vignes de la Bouthière
Les Vignes des Chazeaux
Vigne de Maillonge
Vignes du Chapître