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Domaine Joseph Roty Marsannay Rouge 2011
Joseph started the core of today's domaine in the late 1960s with vines that came from his grandfather, vines that included Mazy (they spell like Rousseau), Griotte and Charmes-Chambertin grand crus.
Joseph was lost to this world in 2008, and although widow Roty still works behind the scenes, it is the sons of Joseph – Philippe and Pierre-Jean – the 11th generation at this family domaine that do the heavy stuff while a 12th generation are playing in the yard. Philippe had anyway being working progressively more with his father since about 1990 – there is very little that has been changed.
Perched up in the northernmost position in the Côte de Nuits, Marsannay is the only appellation village to produce classified wines of all three colors: red, white— and rosé. The official Rosé de Marsannay earned its high reputation in the early 1900s.
Its reds, made of Pinot noir, burst with red and black fruit and are consistently long on the palate. Chardonnays from Marsannay are charming, floral and full of citrus fruit and mineral. Top Marsannay vineyards include Clos du Roy and Les Longeroies.
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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.