Monday, December 8, 2014

Domaine DENIS MORTET: 2013s from Cask, Some 2012s from Bottle

Domaine Denis MORTET (Gevrey-Chambertin)

2013s from Cask

It’s interesting how reputations work. In the mid-late 1990s, Denis Mortet went in for heavy extraction for a couple of vintages. He would have continued doing so with the 1999 vintage, but he waited too long and rains came, resulting in lighter wines than he wanted. When he saw that the 1999s were not the disaster that he foresaw, and as he tasted some of his wines made prior to the heavy extraction phase and saw that they aged very well, he began to rethink his methods and style. He was already well down the road to more elegant wines when he tragically died too young in 2006. His son Arnaud, one of the talented bunch of producers in their twenties and thirties that are now taking the relay in Burgundy has continued that direction and has been making wines that are nothing short of splendid. Yet, I continue to see references on the internet to Mortet’s extracted style – obviously from people who haven’t tasted the wines here in close to 15 years and so are completely uninformed.

Over the summer of 2013, Arnaud said that he followed Swiss rules for applications against oïdium and mildew. Those rules provide for lower amounts for each application, thereby permitting more applications before the cumulative totals are met. As a result, he had 12 passages to apply treatments, but they were the equivalent of 7.5 treatments at normal amounts. Arnaud credits this approach with the fact that he had very little problem with either oïdium or mildew.

Harvesting began relatively early compared to many other estates – 25 September. Even though the weather wasn’t good, the rain helped soften the tannins in the skins, Arnaud said. Nevertheless, he had to do a very serious triage. He treated the grapes very lightly in the cellar so as not to extract too much. Overall yields were 30-38 hl/ha, figures that many other producers can only envy for this vintage. Because the sugars (potential alcohol) in the grapes were not high, chaptalization was up to 1.5º, the current limit (at one time the limit had been 2º). As is usual in this cellar, malolactic fermentations were very late, and in some cases not finished when I visited on October 30. All grapes were destemmed in 2013 because Arnaud deemed the stems not ripe enough to use.

Arnaud did do quite a bit of whole cluster fermentation in 2014. Additionally, he will have Mazis-Chambertin and Bonnes-Mares in his portfolio for 2014.

2013 Bourgogne rouge
The nose and mouth here feature dark cherry fruit and the wine is smooth, sensual, and long. (86-89)

2013 Marsannay    Les Longeroies
The wine shows very fresh dark fruit, a smooth texture, and lightness on the palate, along with some minerality. It should be excellent for drinking young. 20% new wood on this wine. (87-90)

2013 Fixin   vieilles vignes
Mortet recently purchased a parcel of old vines in the southern part of Fixin. The nose and mouth show some menthol, and this wine is a bit tighter than the Marsannay. Nice minerality here. 20% new wood on this wine, too. (88-91)

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin
Warning: what I tasted was only part of the final blend. It is elegant, smooth, and dark, but not as expressive today as the previous wines. The tannins here are round. 30% new wood on this wine. (87-90)

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin   vieilles vignes
Most of this wine comes from the slopes of Brochon, just north of Gevrey. The wine is round and shows more substance than the regular Gevrey. It is a pretty, elegant wine with dark cherry fruit. 30% new wood here. (88-92)

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin  En Champs
Mortet has one hectare of En Champs. The vines are 65-70 years old. The best grapes each year go into this wine, the others into the vieilles vignes cuvée. The wine shows depth, substance, roundness, minerality, and dark fruit, making for an impressive wine. 30% new wood here. (90-93)

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru
From the Bel-Air, Petite Chapelle, Cherbaude, and Champonnet vineyards, this wine shows the energy and stony (dark) fruit typical of those vineyards. There is plenty of depth here. The freshness of the vintage matches very well with this style. (91-94)

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru  --  Les Champeaux
This wine is from vines that are 80-90 years old (Mortet is in the process of replanting those that were 100 years old). It is deep, dark, dense, round, and pure with real old vine character and a notably long finish. 50% new wood on this wine. (91-95)

2013 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru  --  Lavaux Saint-Jacques
The wine shows mineral dark fruit typical of Lavaux Saint-Jacques. It is pure, round, and elegant; the finesse of the vintage seems to prevent the wine from being as wild as usual. It is a very attractive, sensual wine. 60-70% new wood here. (91-95)

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Beaux Bruns
This wine is mineral with quite a bit of substance, dark fruit, and good minerality. Mortet is succeeding in making this into a Chambolle-style wine, and no longer is it a Gevrey that comes from Chambolle terroir. (91-94)

2013 Clos-Vougeot
I was unable to evaluate this wine. It was smooth and sensual, but very closed and tannic with a lot of char. The tannins were atypical of the Clos-Vougeots that I sampled elsewhere for this vintage

2013 Chambertin
The Chambertin is pure and mineral with red fruits and very good focus. It ia very true to Chambertin terroir. (92-96)

Some 2012s from Bottle

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin   vieilles vignes
From bottle, the Gevrey veielles vignes is smooth and shows more structure than the 2013 (as is typical of 2013-2012 comparisons). It is dark, deep, and voluptuous and overall is a sensual wine. 91/A

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru – Les Champeaux
The nose is perfumed. The mouth is fresh and dark with fruit that is just short of jammy in its character. The wine has good structure and freshness. There is some whole cluster fruit in this wine. 93+/A

2012 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru  --  Lavaux Saint-Jacques
The fruit here is dark, fresh, and mineral, and the wine is less sensual but more stony than the Champeaux. 93+/A

2012 Clos-Vougeot
Like the 2013, I am unable to judge this wine. The wood and char seem to obscure everything else today. I expect that with time, this wine will come into focus, but I’m unable to get a picture of what it will be.

2012 Chambertin
The nose here is complex with some cedar elements. The wine is medium-full but with finesse. The fruit tends to be dark. 25-30% whole cluster here. 95(+)/A