Dateline: Burgundy

Dateline: Burgundy


Sometimes the best things happen unexpectedly. We finished lunch at Ma Cuisine in Beaune and were headed to our next visit at the Domaine de Montille in Volnay when we realized we were early. We had at least an hour to kill. That’s when Gaylord, the sommelier at Arpege in Paris, who was with us on the trip in Burgundy, suggested we visit a vintner he knew in the area of Blagny. We agreed. Gaylord called and got us an appointment at the Domaine Martelet de Cherisey.

The 50-hectare domaine is high in the hills between Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet, in a hamlet known as Hameau de Blagny and is run by Laurent Martelet and his wife, Helene, the 5th generation of winemakers on the estate that has been in Laurent’s family since 1811. Humble and quiet, Laurent is an older man and every bit the farmer. He welcomed us in and showed us around his cellar, talking knowledgeably about Meursault and Puligny Montrachet. Frankly we were surprised at the plain, modest and frankly unsophisticated cellar, convinced that the wines were going to be “vins de table;” which is why, when we began tasting, I, for one, was shocked. Wine after wine was extraordinary; vintage after vintage was even more impressive, Laurent’s humility somehow adding to the greatness of the wines he produced.

As we tasted, he explained that because the domaine is at 340 m above sea level, the higher altitude means that the grapes take longer to come to full maturity and the angle of the slope keeps the wines purer and crisper.

He practices the ‘Lutte Raisonne’ throughout the vineyard, using no herbicides, fertilizers or anti-mold treatments. According to what he said, he does not spoil his vines, indeed he forces them, pushes them to survive, finding their own way in the earth. He added that he wants to put the village of Blagny on the map.

The Domaine Martelet de Cherisey was an unexpected surprise and turned into one of the highlights of the trip.


Meursault-Villages 2012

Volatile aromas, oak very present on the nose

Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru, 2012

Delicious and spicy with deep golden color. Pine resin notes on the nose.

Hameau de Blagny, 1er Cru, 2012

Planted in 1950 to clay and limestone soils. Delicious with lively acidity, more pale color and more typical in light gold color.

Meursault-Blagny, 1er Cru La Genelotte 2012

Planted between 1946-1955 in the “backyard” of the estate and a monopole to the domaine. Fuller and rounder in body and texture. Golden color again noticed despite fresh herbal notes on the nose.

Meursault-Blagny, 1er Cru La Genelotte 2011

Heavily clay-based soils. Rich wine, with aromas of fresh cheese (possibly due to reduction) and asparagus green notes.

Meursault-Blagny, 1er Cru La Genelotte 2010

Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Hameau de Blagny, 2008

Delicious and fine! Tense balance with good weight and fresh fruit notes, maintaining freshness and acidity. Very mineral.

Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Hameau de Blagny 2007

More round and voluptuous than 2008, and still showing same tension and minerality.

Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Hameau de Blagny 2006

More textured and golden color apparent in the glass. Starting to show secondary aromatics and gaining in complexity. Acidity more relaxed.

Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Hameau de Blagny 2004

Delicious with notes of hazelnuts and ripe stone fruits. Bright acidity keeps the wine very lively while showing maturity and depth of flavor.

Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Chalumeaux 2000

Planted in 1946. Fresh and balanced with notes of fresh baked brioche. Rich texture with oiliness of cashew and hazelnut. Finish of candied lemon.

Meursault-Blagny, 1er Cru La Genelotte 2002

Explosive on the palate! Energetic, notes of fresh almond and superbly balanced. Mineral and bright.

Meursault-Blagny Rouge, 1er Cru La Genelotte 2005

Fresh mountain fruit! Graphite with pleasant bitterness on the finish. Delicious wine, wild bramble, blackberry and dark cherry. Vineyard planted in 1934. 10-15 day maceration, daily punch downs during fermentation and partially de-stemmed depending on the character of the vintage.

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