This Friday saw the launch of a new Burgundy domaine here in Hong Kong: Domaine Arnaud Mortet. The winemaker is Arnaud Mortet himself, best known for his work at his family domaine Domaine Denis Mortet based in Gevrey Chambertin. Domaine Denis Mortet is a cult domaine that quickly rose in status after Arnaud father's Denis took over in 1978 at the age of 22 with his wife and Arnaud's mother, Lawrence. However he tragically died in 2006 and Arnaud took up the full mantle of chief winemaker since. The family has plots in Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, 1er Cru Les Champeaux, 1er Cru Lavaux St Jacques and noted village wine Gevrey Chambertin 'Mes Cinq Terroirs', amongst others. It makes sense then that Arnaud would feel comfortable to acquire more prime parcels of Gevrey Chambertin such as Charmes Chambertin, Mazoyeres Chambertin, 1er Cru La Perriere, 1er Cru Lavaux-St-Jacques and of course more Gevrey village. Overall the vineyards are not certified organic but the methods are minimalist and most amendments are organic.
There is a definitely difference if you were to strictly compare the wines from Domaine Denis Mortet and Domaine Arnaud Mortet. Given that the parcels have only been recently acquired, it will need at least 2-3 years to get achieve the desired domaine style, according to Arnaud Mortet himself. It is also one that I look forward to try again and again at least 3 vintages on and more although the first vintage of 2016 under Arnaud is already proving to be immensely pleasurable and enjoyable.
Gevrey Chambertin 2016
Avg vine age: 50 years. Avg production: 12,000 bottles.
These are made up of parcels located to the South and East of the appellation with some to North. There is a good mixture and combination here that gives it complexity and richness for village level wine. The nose here is quite chewy and not quite accessible, however the fruit is obvious here with generous almost bubblegum like notes coating the mouth. Aged only in 1/3 new oak, it is approachable but also should not have problems in the cellar.
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “La Perriere” 2016
Avg vine age: 60 years. Avg production: 2,000 bottles.
This plot is located below Mazis Chambertin, half calcareous clay soil and half marl. It is a combination of two parcels, one that is 40 years old and another that is an incredible 80 years. There is not much on the nose again, being such a young wine, however the palate is astonishing. The wine is extremely approachable yet shows complexity, depth and fruit. With 50% new oak, there is enough heft for this to age well.
Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “Lavaux St. Jacques” 2016
Avg vine age: 70 years. Avg production: 1,200 bottles.
This is Arnaud's favourite parcel and for good reason. Firstly, it is located next to the legendary Clos St. Jacques and shares a number of similar characteristics, such as the slope, soil composition and the breeze that goes through Combe, adding freshness to the grapes. Secondly, like Clos St. Jacques, Lavaux St. Jacques is capable of producing grand cru quality wines in hot vintages such as 2005. In contrast to the approachability of the first two wines above, the Lavaux St. Jacques is hard to open at the first and the nose is almost reduced. However after sometime, with some more air act, it opens up softly and blooms. This is a wine with lots to give but of course in return, you need to give it time. And you should because with up to 70% new oak, this is a heavily structure wine with exceptional profile that is sure to age flawlessly. Something to revisit in the future with the dense fruit of this particular vintage.
Gevrey Chambertin Mazoyeres-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016
Avg vine age: 45 years. Avg production: 1,800 bottles.
This is a personal favourite climat of mine (not that you cared). It's a trustworthy reliable grand cru that seems to always deliver no matter the producer. Arguably, that makes it much less interesting I suppose for bigger wine geeks out there but there is something is so enticing and seductive in the elegance and opulence of wines from this climat. Not to mention the accessibility! The nose is suprisingly open, pretty and expressive with a complex, intense palate of luscious ripe berries. Mazoyeres tends to produced easily identifiable rich, well rounded wines and in such a dense vintage of 2016, drinking this feels almost like eating the grape itself.
Gevrey Chambertin Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016
Avg vine age: 40 years old. Avg production : 800 bottles.
I am biased in that I have never been particularly charmed by this lieu-dit but Arnaud Mortet has certainly put his best foot forward in form of these 2016s. While sampled next the Mazoyeres, the wines here are evidently more mineral and savoury on the palate. The nose here was more refined and delicately perfumed, in contrast to the in your face flash of fruit of the Mazoyeres. It does lack the oomp and pizzaz of the Lavaux and Mazoyeres yet Charmes should not be prematurely judged. I am sure in due time–with age–can be fantastic and tasty in its own right.