Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Hill of Corton, Red Wines

 The Pinot Noirs of Corton are grown in the mid to lower parts of the hill, mostly east facing, on red marl, limestone, and iron infused soils. These are the only grand cru wines of the Côte de Beaune. The pricing, generally speaking, is much more attractive than grand cru wines of the Côte  de Nuits. The larger vineyards, as shown in the map below, are the better known grand cru.

Six wines from different producers, age, and vineyards were tasted, discussed here in the order of tasting. If wines are sourced from a single vineyard, its name may be appended to the designation ' Corton'.

We started with the 2012 Domaine Poisot Corton-Bressandes. This wine showed a complex palate of black cherry and licorice, but also herbaceous and exotic spice flavours. The oak was noticeable in this powerful wine. This wine showed the expected muscularity of the largest lieu-dit of Corton really well (96 points).

This was followed by the 2017 Jane Eyre Corton-Maréchaudes. Jane Eyre, an Australian winemaker, has now been in Burgundy for some time, and is increasingly highly regarded. This wine has lifted aromas and is quite fruit forward. It is a pretty wine with velvety tannins. It could not be more different than the previous wine. The style suits the vineyard, which is at low altitude and warmer, quite well (94 points).

The next two wines were from two different sites and different years, both made by Thibault Liger-Belair. The first was the 2010 Thibault Liger-Belair "Les Renardes". This was quite an alluring wine, feminine, red cherry fruit, gamey flavours (for which this vineyard is known) as well. The wine had an ethereal feel, with silky tannins and an expanding finish (95/96 points).

But the wine of the night was the 2005 Thibault Liger-Belair "Les Rognets". Its full-bodied cherry flavours were concentrated and lush. This is a powerful wine, which is now in perfect balance, as the oak flavours have softened. The wine has a firm line leading to a long finish. This is an excellent example of a grand cru Pinot Noir (97 points).

The last two wines split the tasters. I found that the 1999 Chandon de Brialles Clos du Roi was past its best. Clos du Roi is perhaps the most highly regarded lieu-dit of Corton. The site is quite steep and pebbly, delivering wines which require ageing. But maybe not as much as in this case. Flavours of vegetables, roots and herbs dominated the palate. Fruit flavours were no longer very present. Having said this, the structure of this wine was well intact (92 points).

The last wine was the 2006 de Montille Clos du Roi. This was a tough wine, quite old school. Muscular and earthy, it tasted a bit like burnt rubber, with astringent tannins and oak quite present. Again, the structure still good (92 points).

This was a very enjoyable tasting of six grand cru. It showed a wide range of flavours. You need to know what you are looking for, and an old maxime is more true for Burgundy than anywhere else: "try before you buy". Of course, this is not always easy.

It was good to see when the interest of the wine maker is matches by the characteristics of the terroir, as was the case with Jane Eyre and Les Maréchaudes or Poisot and Bressandes, for example. 


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