Arnaud Mortet came to Hong Kong to launch his domaine but before he did, he also arranged a wine dinner with wines from his family domaine Denis Mortet.
Arnaud's story of how he became a winemaker is tragic. His father Denis, founded the domaine in 1990s and single handedly made it a highly sought after “cult” domaine in a span of a decade, which is nothing considering many appellations were first created by monks in the Middle Ages. The family domaine has great holdings in Gevrey Chambertin, including the prized grand cru Chambertin along with other great parcels of Clos de Vougeot, along with many fantastic Gevrey 1er crus such as La Champonnet, Les Champeaux and Lavaux St. Jacques. Most famously Denis Mortet created the cuvée “Mes Cinq Terroirs”, a blend of 5 different Gevrey village parcels. Many of the appellations are made up of old vines. Despite his success, Denis suffered from depression and committed suicide in 2006. Arnaud, who has been shadowing his father since the 2000 vintage, took over promptly after his father's passing.
Arnaud clearly has managed the family domaine well, building on the success of his father but not resting on his own laurels. He has been careful to preserve Denis's established domaine style however he has continually improved the quality of the wines year after year.
The wines were carefully selected with all them coming from him ex-domaine: Fixin and Marsannay 2015, Gevrey Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs 2014, Gevrey Chambertin VV 2012, Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru 2011, Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Champeaux 2010, Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques 2009 and Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2006.
The dinner was exceptionally moving even though it wasn't meant to be sentimental. However I suppose being drunk on good wine does that to you. When he explained how he brought back Gevrey Chambertin “Mes Cinq Terroirs” in 2013 due to popular demand after stopping production with his father's last vintage of 2005, you wonder if it was also because he had finally came to terms with his father's passing and legacy. The Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2006 tasted lacklustre and unsteady, of a young winemaker deep in grief and mourning, which made sense when he explained it was his first solo vintage.
Personally I didn't think there wasn't a singularly outstanding wine of the night, since many of them from even the start of Fixin 2015 to the Lavaux St. Jacques 2009 were beautiful wines in their own right. People took that to mean that I didn't find any of them particularly good but that is unfair. Many thought Lavaux St. Jacques 2009 was the WOTN as it had a gorgeous palate and a fantastic finish, however due to the powerful vintage it hadn't open up at all to its full potential.
That evening, after stumbling into a taxi and trying to call my father without avail (the man sleeps religiously at 10pm), I left a drunken voicemail: “I love you Dad”.