Tag: Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru

A set of older chardonnays compared and contrasted

I recently tasted a set of older chardonnays upstairs at Cumulus in Melbourne.  The same grape from three different very good producers from three different years and climates.  The result?  Actually, it was a little mixed.  Chardonnay can, but does not necessarily, age well.  The youngest wine in this bracket was 14 years old, the eldest 22 years old.

Mount Mary Chardonnay 2002
I last looked at this wine back in 2011, and liked it my only quibble being price.  Mount Mary is a leading producer in the Yarra Valley, with its vineyards near the town of Coldstream.  Their website does not reveal much about soils, but others have referred to Mount Mary’s grey-loam soils (Max Allen, Yarra Valley Wineguide, 1999) and a north facing slope above river flats.  Tasted in 2016, 2002 Mount Mary chardonnay is considerably more developed, with aromatics that are neutral and saline, with light citrus and orange peel aromas and a bread like character.  The palate is delicate and minerally, with its acid seemingly haven fallen away a little, and the citrus and bread characters continuing.  The finish is reasonably long.  Appearing to be at the tail end of its drinking window, I do not expect this wine will improve from here.  Search out well stored examples.  Good to Very Good

Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 1994
Domaine Bonneau du Martray has 9.5 hectares in Corton-Charlemagne in the Côte de Beaune.  Again, I find myself turning to Clive Coate’s  guide (The Wines of Burgundy, 2008) for a bit more detail.  There are 160.19 hectares of grand cru land on the Corton hill, and 71.88 hectares can produce Corton-Charlemagne in theory.  Chardonnay is planted on the upper slops in a marl with high clay content and a limestone base.  I’ve perhaps said a bit here, because the wine in the glass unfortunately was well past its best and so leaves less room for comment.  Toffee apple, caramel, earth and sherried aromas are predominant.  The palate offers glimpses of life, with some fresh acidity and good length, but the flavours resolutely reminded of earth and decay.  Not rated 

Bass Phillip Premium Chardonnay 2001
Bass Phillip is an exception in many ways.  Situated in south Gippsland in southern Victoria with rainfall exceeding 1,000mm per year and deep, silty loam volcanic soils, this is prime dairy rather than vineyard country.  But work it does, and I have had some fabulous wines from Bass Phillip.  In this sense, the 2001 Bass Phillip Premium chardonnay presented in a slightly disappointing manner, seemingly both past its best and also with some balance issues.  Deeply golden in colour and a little cloudy even, it has aromatics of honey, lemon, minerals, smoke and an aldehydic note.  The palate is full bodied, with smokey cedar and earth characters.  The acidity is however quite pronounced -fiendishly so – giving a hard malic impression and affecting my perception of the wine’s balance.  Acceptable

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Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2000

Unfortunately this grand wine, a Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru from Louis Latour, was out of condition and partly oxidised.  That it might be prematurely oxidised came to mind.  Clive Coates MW discusses the issue of prematurely oxidised white wines in Burgundy, where it seems to have been a particular problem in the 1996, 1997 and 1998 vintages (see here).  This wine however is from the 2000 vintage, and I am not sure at 16 years of age that in fact it could be fairly described as prematurely oxidised.  More likely, it may well just be over the hill (although it being a Grand Cru counted against this) or have been stored poorly.  I still penned a couple of notes – it has mineral, smoke, cashew, baked apple and herbal aromatics.  A tired and flat palate.

Rating: Not rated
Price: Best not to ask
Read more: http://www.louislatour.com/en/
Tasted: 2016

Bonneau du Matray Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2001

This wine lived up to its considerable reputation, though you will not get much change from $120.

In terms of appearance, although regrettably not my photograph, the wine is bright with a between pale and medium intensity expression of lemon in colour.  Its aroma is complex, with a quite pronounced aroma of peaches, nectarines, spices and minerals, which I would describe as developing rather than developed, even at 11 years of age.  On the palate, long length is accompanied by butter, clarified butter, medium acidity, good body and again a near pronounced intensity of flavour of peaches and white plums masking a delicate, yet powerful wine.  This is a stand-out wine.  However, as always with wines of this age, you may need to factor in some bottle variation.  A bottle served at a different table did not perform nearly so well.  96 points (outstanding)

Abv: 13.5%
Price: around $120
Website: http://www.bonneaudumartray.com/
Tasted: February 2012

Bonneau du Martray Grand Cru 1998

There were a few problems with these 1998s, with a few bottles badly corked.  This wine unfortunately didn’t present particularly well.  An aroma of herbs, and I thought still a touch of dank.  On the palate, length and minerals.  I think this was probably another bottle that wasn’t so good.  82 points. (6.7/10)

Abv: 13.5%
Price: around $80
Website: http://www.bonneaudumartray.com/