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Christophe makes the wine as naturally as possible, vines are hand-tended, the wine undergoes a controlled fermentation with maceration before and after, and the wines rest sur lie in barriques for as long as possible, usually 16 to 18 months. The long slow ageing enables these wines to be bottled without filtration. 15-25% new oak is used for the village appellations whilst 40-50% is used for the 1ers and Grand Crus. The result is intense, noble red Burgundy.
Here, Morey-Saint-Denis and Chambolle-Musigny demonstrate the ability of the Côte de Nuits to blend two distinct temperaments into a single personality. The Bonnes-Mares vineyards have been known by this name since the late Middle Ages although the etymology still remains uncertain. The origin might be the verb " marer " meaning " to cultivate carefully ", although many like to think the name alludes to ancient mother-goddesses. This explanation, however, is certainly less probable. Its Grand Cru status was recognised on 8th December , 1936. The Bonnes-Mares appellation lies just south of the Clos de Tart, the neighbouring Grand Cru, forming a rectangle between the hollowed hillsides of Morey and Chambolle. More of it lies in the territory of Chambolle-Musigny than that of Morey-Saint-Denis. Its exposition is easterly and its altitude averages between 250 and 280 metres.
The sub-soil consists of limestone pavement and white marl and underlies clay-flint soils some 40 cm in depth on a gently sloping site. The soil is quite light and gravelly, and is brown or reddish in colour. Its origins date back to the Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago.
A successful blend of impressive build and meaty texture means this wine is a worthy equal to game, which responds well to its huge aromatic intensity and, in the maturer vintages, its musky notes. Preferably the game should be roasted, but the wine will also take on stews without fuss as well as fine wine-based sauces. Duck (even laquered Pekin-style Duck) is similarly enhanced because the virile tannins in the wine give structure to the aromatic and delicately-textured flesh. It also goes well with strong-flavoured cheeses.
Serving temperature : 14 to 16 °C.
1988 VINTAGE in Burgundy / 1988 has been a good vintage in Burgundy, with enough quantity to offset the revived demand of our foreign and home customers.
Good summer weather meant an early harvest of excellent quality for the reds. Rich and well structured, these wines which were a little rough in their youth today offer a wonderful opportunity to drink quality mature Pinot Noir, the best will continue to improve. The great whites can be put in the same category as the reds : full, round, well balanced and are very good to drink now.
The nearly geat year
As anyone knows, what we need in Burgundy is warm weather all the time, with the exception of a few showers now and then just to keep the leaves green, and at the end of the season to help the vine continue to produce sugar and to lower acidity.
The spell of cold that we had at the beginning of September interrupted a long period of sunshine and stopped for a while the maturing of the grapes: rain only came during the vendange itself, too late to ensure their perfect ripening.
The last days of the season were, as always, the most breath-taking, with marvellous summer-like weather in the second half of September. Harvesting as late as possible was beneficial, as it nearly always is: there was no rot on the superb bunches of grapes, a deep colour, and an excellent balance of the various elements.
During the summer of 1988 and until the very end we had only one half of the average rainfall. This deficit was difficult to overcome and, with the hot weather of August and most of September and the happy flowering of the grapes in the middle of June, we have been just a hair's breadth from a great vintage.
All the good winegrowers who had pruned carefully and not indulged in high yields easily obtained from 12 to 12.5 potential degrees of alcohol, which indicates very good quality; and although the lack of rain slowed the ripening, it had the advantage of keeping the individual grapes small, giving concentration, tannin and colour to the wines.
After the first "décuvage", the overall impression is that the red wines have structure and tannin, with a beautiful vivid colour, the depth of which is really only seen in good vintages.
The acidity is medium to high and it is obvious that we will have a "vin de garde", which will mellow only after a long period of ageing in cask and bottle.
It is difficult to compare 1988 with another vintage, as precocity usually means that the vines have had plenty of sunshine and produce mellow and soft wines; however, the `88 will compare more with a very good vintage picked in October, like 1978 or 1952.
The great whites will be put in the same category as the reds: good structure, power and a lot of firmness.
In the Beaujolais, the news is excellent too: good colour, perfect ripening and overall abundance.