Domaine Thierry Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 'Vigne Belle' 2011
This single vineyard village Gevrey-Chambertin is not called ‘Vigne Belle’ (beautiful vine) for nothing. This vineyard produces one of the finest expressions of Gevrey-Chambertin ‘terroir’ in the AOC zone. The domain produces about 3000 bottles a year of old vine wine that is subtle and complex, suave and voluminous. A gem in Gevrey.
DOMAINE THIERRY MORTET
We first met Thierry Mortet at one of the early editions of the ‘Grands Jours de Bourgogne’ where the theme of the Gevrey-Chambertin tasting was the two distinct village appellation zones on either side of the mouth of the Combe Lavaux. Tasting at Thierry’s stand was a master class in the subject that is as clear today as it was twenty years ago.
Thierry Mortet took over his half of the family domain, Domaine Charles Mortet et Fils in 1992 with 4 hectares of vines. He now oversees 7.3 hectares (just under 17 acres) of production, 6 ha in red and the rest in white, for an annual production of 30-35000 bottles. When he officially converted his domain to organic agriculture in 2007, he was merely codifying practices that he had already been following for years out of respect for the environment and an understanding of the cultural significance of his work.
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.
COTES DE NUITS
Chambolle-Musigny is a tiny village, and is likely to remain so. Expansion would mean encroaching on some of the best vineyard land in the world. With two superb Grands Crus, Bonnes Mares (which links Chambolle to Morey-Saint-Denis), and Musigny, which overlooks the Clos de Vougeot, the village also has several prestigious premier cru, notably among them Les Amoureuses. Its AOC dates from September 1936, making it one of the first French vineyards to be designated.
Produced in the commune of Chambolle-Musigny, the appellation Chambolle-Musigny includes 24 premiers crus as well as two Grands Crus: Musigny and Bonnes Mares.
Chambolle-Musigny is Pinot Noir par excellence, and is often regarded as the most elegant wine of the Côte de Nuits. Its intensity is subtle. It tends to be bright ruby and may darken a little over time. Its violet bouquet is one of the most easily recognizable in Burgundy. With aging it tends towards spiced ripe fruits and truffle, underbrush and animal notes. Rich and complex, it is silky and lacy on the one hand, and solid and structured on the other.
The slope faces east at altitudes of 250-300 meters with only a shallow covering of soil overlying the parent rock, but fissures in the hard Jurassic limestone allow the roots to seek dig deep into the complex sub-soil. Gravel in the valley bottom ensures good drainage.
Red wines exclusively - Pinot Noir
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
152.23 ha (including 56.23 ha premier cru)
With a personality that is both powerful and delicate, the wines of Chambolle call for sophisticated cuisine. Feathered game in sauce, roasted lamb or a free-range capon. Roast veal's subtle texture would work too. Cheeses should be mild : Brillat-Savarin, Reblochon, Cîteaux, Vacherin, Brie de Meaux or Chaource.
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
Aux Beaux Bruns
Derrière la Grange
La Combe d'Orveau
Les Feusselottes (ou « Les Feusselotes »)
Les Hauts Doix
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard known as a lieu-dit:
Derrière le Four
La Combe d'Orveau
Les Bas Doix
Les Clos de l'Orme
Les Creux Baissants
Les Mal Carrées
Les Pas de Chat