Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques Premier Cru (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1997
A supremely talented vigneron and currently at the helm of Denis Mortet, Arnaud Mortet is routinely praised for his work in the vineyards. Founded by his grandfather, Charles, in 1956, Arnaud took control in 2006 after the death of his legendary father, Denis. He continues his father’s legacy of making refined, elegant wines along with his sister, Clemence, and his mother, Laurence.
Arnaud’s wines are reaching new heights as he embraces more traditional vinification and viticulture techniques. The majority of the vineyard care is accomplished by hand, including horses plowing all 1er and Grand Cru vineyards to minimize soil compaction. Since 1996, chemical fertilizers and herbicides have been avoided in the vineyards, using crop cover of chickweed to help provide health of the vines. Yields are kept very low, and small crates are used to protect the berries during harvest. In the cellar, grapes see gentle macerations and a reduced percentage of new oak. The grapes undergo a strict triple sorting upon arriving at the estate, and the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
A perfectionist by nature, Arnaud makes superbly finessed and precise wines as he continues to evolve this domaine.
This small village is home to the Grands Crus in the farthest northerly stretches of Côte de Nuits and is famous for some of the deepest and firmest Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Gevrey boasts nine Grands Crus, the best of which are arguably Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. As with all of the fragmented vineyards of Burgundy, it isn’t easy to differentiate between the two, which are situated adjacent with Clos de Bèze slightly further up the hill than Le Chambertin. Clos de Bèze has a shallower soil and if you’re really counting, may produce wines less intense but more likely to charm. Some compare Le Chambertin in both power and plentitude only to the prized Romanée-Conti Grand Cru farther south in Vosne-Romanée.
Two other Grands Crus vineyards, Mazis-Chambertin (also written Mazy-) and Latricières-Chambertin command almost as much regard as Le Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. The upper part of Mazy, called Les Mazis Haut is the best and Latricières-Chambertin offers an abundance of juicy fruit and a silky texture in the warmer vintages.
Other Grands Crus are Ruchottes-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle-Chambertin.
The most respected Pinot Noir wines from Gevrey-Chambertin are robust and powerful but at the same time, velvety and expressive: black fruit, black liquorice and chocolate come into play. After some time in the bottle, the wines are harmonious with bright and sometimes candied fruit, and aromas of musk, truffle and forest floor. These have staying power.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”