Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Domaine Bonneau du Martray Tasting - Corton Charlemagne Vertical & A Pair of Cortons


The week began with a bang! The World Gourmet Summit had just kicked off festivities, and I received an invitation to the Bonneau du Martray Vitner's dinner @ Equinox, Swissotel The Stamford. My thanks to my host, Simon Rock, Managing Director, Performance Motors Ltd, for a very enjoyable evening. Also in attendance, Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moriniere, Proprietor and Winemaker of the Domaine, who had flown in that very morning just for the event.

The juice flowed as follows:

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru - <1976><1987><1993><1996><2000><2002>

Corton Grand Cru - <1998><2001>


Sensory Perceptions

Corton-Charlemagne 1976 > The color of Manuka honey and maple syrup. Olfactorily, marmalade and a hint of cinnamon. Not quite as much lift for me because of a touch of acid atrophy, but otherwise displaying beguiling flavors of preserved olives, "seng buay" (chinese cracked seed), white peaches and caramel. The sum of all its parts delivered a wine of great distinction. The finish - a good 60+ secs! A treat.

Corton-Charlemagne 1987 > Toasty popcorn aromatics make their way to a fairly simple, 4 square palate of lemons and pears. Rather disjointed and probably my least favorite of the whites tonight.

Corton-Charlemagne 1993 > Rather tight and closed. Tried coaxing it out over the course of dinner, but it still remained about as tight as a vacuum seal. Kept thinking that there was definitely something there, but overall felt the fruit and mid palate - lacking. Bottle variation?

Corton-Charlemagne 1996 > Initially, a blast of aromas - sweaty socks, honeysuckle and toasty oak. What followed was a well delineated flavor profile that included freshly baked dough, hazelnuts, ripe pears, white flowers and alas, lots of minerals, gravel, and wet stones. The sensory equivalent of walking around a tide pool along the California Coast on the edge of the Pacific O. A great wine!

Corton-Charlemagne 2000 > Very clean, fresh fruit profile with nuanced pear, candied apple, curry spice flavors. All the components in this wine were deftly balanced, and there was an uncanny focus to the way it was delivered. Surprisingly good.

Corton-Charlemagne 2002 > Nubile and young. Obviously great stuffing - hazelnuts, ripe fruit, fresh acid. Felt we were drinking this kinda young. Would be lovely to come back to this in a couple of years.

Corton 1998 > An austere nose of flower petals and iron shavings, the palate showed simple black fruits, spice, white pepper and a touch of chalkiness. Quite good, but not quite grand cru good.

Corton 2001 > Liked this better than the '98. Charming farmyard aromas of root, earth, game and fowl. The mid-palate stuffed with black fruits and mince pie. Tannins were soft and velvety; the finish - exemplary. A great finish to an awesome tasting. Fantastico!

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