The hill in Corton is one of the biggest landmarks in the Cote d’Or and also happens to mark the boundary between the Cote de Beaune and the Cote de Nuits. It has long been considered a superior site, Emperor Charlemagne owned part of this 400 acre hill - that same portion is owned and farmed by Jean-Charles Le Bault de la Moriniere.
Domaine Bonneau du Martray is recognized as one of the world’s great wine estates and is considered a reference point for the appellation. It is the sole estate in Burgundy to produce only Grand Cru wines with the further advantage of holding the single largest contiguous parcel in Corton-Charlemagne. There are 15 parcels that total 23 acres of Chardonnay and a single 3-acre parcel of Pinot Noir from which small quantities of Corton Rouge are made.
The breeding and presence of these wines are a beautiful consequence of soil, Jean-Charles’s meticulous and thoughtful approach to winemaking and interestingly enough, of light. The exposition and altitude of these vineyards is unusual and noteworthy in that it ensures a long, slow maturation of fruit, excellent drainage, and insurance against frost. But it is the reflective properties of the white marl soils that help maintain consistent ripening. ”While all vignerons talk about soil,” says Jean-Charles, ”we don’t talk enough about light.” Indeed, one cannot argue with the almost luminous element that is imbued throughout this marvelously complex wine.
Each parcel offers unique qualities to the final assemblage. In the upper slopes of the vineyard, the limestone, marl and clay soils impart a floral elegance to the wine, while the limestone and iron topsoils of the plots below lend body and ripeness. The Corton Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray is a beautiful expression of pedigree that also offers intellectual charm. These wines marry piercing acidity with stunning precision in a manner that is entirely unique and therefore utterly compelling.