Domaine Marchand Freres Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru 'Faconnieres' 2011
On well-drained gravelly soil just below Grand Cru Clos de la Roche and running the length of premier cru ‘Les Millandes’ just to the south, the premier cru ‘Faconnieres’ is one of the best-situated of the many great Morey-Saint-Denis premiers crus. Add to that 50 year old vines and vinification worthy of a Grand Cru, for a minuscule production of just 1300 bottles, and there you have Burgundy at its best.
DOMAINE MARCHAND FRERES
The Domaine Marchand Freres has been in existence since 1813 through seven generations, and for most of that time it was based in Morey-St. Denis. In 1983, however, the domain bought a winemaker’s house in the very center of Gevrey-Chambertin, ostensibly for the beautiful working cellars underneath. But Gevrey gradually became the seat of the business, and today Denis Marchand lives in the beautifully restored house and receives guests in the cellars below.
The domain has small parcels in some very important vineyards in Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin, including premier cru ‘Les Sentiers’ in Chambolle, ‘Le Clos des Ormes’ in Morey and ‘Les Combottes’ in Gevrey. They also have holdings in Grand Cru Clos de la Roche, Griottes-Chambertin and Charmes Chambertin. But production is tiny, 1000 cases here, a few hundred there, mere dozens in the Grands Crus. Marchand Freres is the quintessential Burgundy domain: small production, high quality.
2011 is notable not just because it was an early harvest, but because of its wacky weather. While the East Coast of the US was sweltering in 100°+ at the end of July, Burgundians were wearing sweaters wondering what the heck was happening. We'd just been through a couple of weeks of way-too- much rain and sub-70° temperatures that had followed three months of no rain and the sort of heat you would expect in August. It was an early spring jump-start for the vines, which flowered precociously. First calculations had the harvest beginning in the latter half of August. Bountiful fruit set beautifully, with just a touch of millerandage to give the grapes space to grow and keep the bunches well aerated. At that point, there was no risk of mildew, and treatments could be kept to a minimum. Aside from cursing the expected early harvest (meaning, no vacation this year), the growers were thrilled. But as the rain continued into August, followed by a worrying stormy period, suddenly everyone was looking at the sky. No one was worried...not yet. But we really needed some sun soon. The harvest projection got pushed into early September. But even early September is early. So a lot of intuition went into determining the date of the harvest: to wait or not to wait? This was the question that all of Burgundy was asking in the last weeks of August. The harvest was ultimately spread out across several weeks, with parcels harvested as they came to maturity. Sunshine and dry conditions in September rewarded those who were patient.
The whites have aromatic purity, with clear, frank aromas of citrus fruits and delicate floral notes. A good level of acidity makes the wines fresh and expressive. Good balance, pleasant roundness, and a notable expression of terroir. Maturity will bring complexity to these wines, but they are enjoyable young.
These are seductive wines with a intense color. There is a broad range of aromas: fresh red fruits with soft, spicy notes. Good balance with round supple tannins. The potential for laying down the wine will vary depending on the appellation and the producer. However, this is a very pleasant and charming vintage which will be enjoyable young.
COTE DE NUITS
Rich in premiers crus and with 5 grands crus, the village should be a household name like its neighbors Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. In fact, Morey forms a bridge between these two appellations and shares some climat names. The grands crus form a contiguous band from north to south through the village. Yet despite the fact that Morey produces some of the most consistently excellent wines in Burgundy, fame eludes it outside of the circle of aficionados. This often means that these wines, especially the village and premier cru appellations, can be great value.
The appellation Morey-Saint Denis includes 20 premiers crus and 5 grands crus
Producing commune: Morey-Saint Denis.
Most of Morey-Saint Denis planted with Pinot Noir, although a few parcels of Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc produce a rare curious white, generally said to be firm and opulent. But Morey is known for its reds, bright ruby or intense garnet, depending on the year. The fruit is black: blackberry and blackcurrant with trademark black cherry fruit and pit. When older it is classic Burgundy Pinot, with animal notes, undergrowth, leather and truffle. Structure and balance are qualities found in all great wine, and Morey is a paradigm. Body, fruit, volume and length are part of the package that Morey climats offer to careful winemakers. The potential for greatness is part of the mystic of the appellation.
The vines grow on limestone and clay-limestone soils dating from the middle jurassic with white bathonien oolite higher on the slopes and fossiliferous bajocien limestone at the foot. The vineyards are east-facing at altitudes of 220-270 meters. Immediately below the village the slopes are differently oriented and the soil has more marl.
Almost all reds - Pinot Noir
White wines - Chardonnay
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
Reds : 93.03 ha (including 41.92 ha premier cru)
Whites : 3.37 ha (including 0.74 ha premier cru)
The un-PC locals call the reds of Morey-Saint Denis 'masculine', as they are classic examples of full and powerful Cotes de Nuits. So dishes should also be strong and powerful to challenge the tannins and structure of the wine. Often game birds like pheasant are mentioned, as are roasted beef or veal.
On the label, the appellations 'Morey-Saint Denis' and 'Morey-Saint Denis' may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat.
The names of the grands crus are the climats themselves:
Clos de Tart
Clos de la Roche
Clos des Lambrays
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
Clos des Ormes
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit:
Clos des Ormes
En la Rue de Vergy
Les Champs de la Vigne
Rue de Vergy