Domaine Bertagna Hautes Cotes de Nuits 2015
With 18 wonderfully diverse appellations across the region, 12 of which are Premier and Grand crus, Bertagna is among the top ranking Domaines in Burgundy. A desire for perfection and emphasis on quality, coupled with significant investments in technology and vineyard management, result in some of the region’s most compelling wines. Domaine Bertagna is perhaps best known for its elegant, silky red wines, but it also produces one of the world’s rarest white wines – Vougeot 1er Cru Blanc “Les Cras” from the Côtes de Nuits.
The historic Domaine Bertagna once belonged to the Cistercian monks, famous for founding the Clos de Vougeot in the 13th century. The estate’s cellars and vineyards are still located in the heart of the village nearby the Chateau and its ancient Chapter House, but the winery is owned since 1985 by the world-renowned Reh family and managed by Eva Reh.
Eva Reh has managed the estate since 1982. Extraordinary investments have been made in fermentation technology and the vineyards’ management since the Reh family has taken charge of the domaine, and the winemaking has improved dramatically, emphasizing purity of fruit and expression of the specific terroirs that they carefully cultivate.
The origin of perhaps the world’s very finest Pinot noir, Côte de Nuits is the northern half of the Côte d'Or and includes the famous wine villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée, Flagey-Echezeaux and Nuits-St-Georges.
Fine whites from Chardonnay are certainly found in the Côte de Nuits, but with much less frequency than top-performing reds made of Pinot noir. The little village of Nuits-St-Georges in its southern end gave the region its name: Côte de Nuits. The city of Dijon marks its northern border.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.