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.
In the hills just above the commune appellations of the Côte de Nuits, rising to about 1,600 feet, scattered vineyards join to form what is known as the Hautes Côtes de Nuits.
Hautes Côtes de Nuits together with Hautes Côtes de Beaune include 47 communes. Collectively the wines of the Hautes Côtes offer a great introduction to the personality of Burgundy—both red and white—that won’t make a dent in the pocketbook.
The majority of wines produced here are red (made of Pinot Noir) and show a spry fruitiness, crisp texture and aromas of blackcurrant, cherry, rose, violet, pepper and mint. Red Hautes Côtes are perfect with crostini topped with pork or duck rillettes, soft soft cheeses like Camembert or Brillat-Savarin and dishes such as grilled lamb or roasted quail.
Whites, while less prolific, offer diversity and aside from Chardonnay, this is where one might occasionally run into the very rare Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris, which are completely forbidden among Villages appellations and Crus. Aligoté grows here as well, alongside the blackcurrant bushes used to make cassis for vin blanc cassis (a cocktail of dry white wine mixed with blackcurrant liqueur). Hautes Côtes whites show qualities such as lemon, quince, apple, pear, white peach and honeysuckle; they are great stand-alone sippers or paired with savory tapas, sautéed shrimp and flaky white fish.
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.”