Domaine Bruno Lorenzon Mercurey Le Chapitre Rouge 2013
The focused, intense Bruno produces focused, intense wines, tending to his farm as though he is manicuring a garden. Miniscule yields, organic farming and minimal intervention in the cellar are the norm here. Bruno’s experience working for the Tonnellerie de Mercurey allows him to select and age his own wood, then build and toast his own barrels based on the characteristics of each cuvée and each vintage. His philosophy is that the oak, or any other component, should never stand out in the wine. The results are extremely elegant wines, with intensity and personality, light in color, yet rich with dry extract. The reds have silky tannins and bright, fresh fruit flavors mingling with savory character, while the whites have astonishing mineral length.
Beloved for its deep and flavorful reds made of Pinot Noir, Mercurey is the largest and most important village in the Côte Chalonnaise of Burgundy with most of its vineyards tucked away in hillsides or stretched along the aptly-named “Golden Valley.” This valley, sheltered from the moist and cool air that funnels along at lower elevations, is ideal for ripening Pinot noir.
Mercurey follows strict yield laws, similar to those at the Côte d’Or village level, promoting the development of deep, full, concentrated and age-worthy Pinot noirs. In their youth, a chewy and rich structure supports flavors of ripe strawberry, raspberry and cherry. Age brings notes of underbrush, tobacco and cocoa.
While Pinot Noir claims the majority of Mercurey vineyard acreage, Chardonnay does grow here and produces uniqely floral and spicey scented white wines.
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.”