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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.
1990 VINTAGE in Burgundy
This is probably the vintage of reference for many people in Burgundy. Exceptional climatic conditions allowed an abundant crop to mature perfectly and yield some most sensational wines in both red and white. The white wines have maintained their elegant aromas and freshness which has made them even more appealing, whilst the reds are concentrated and well built with tannins which remain firm but smooth. To be enjoyed for many years to come.
The drought that had plagued farming in 1989 again took its toll in many parts of France in 1990 with the notable exception of the best vineyards in France, including those of Burgundy.This year in the vineyards of the Côte d'Or the weather conditions resembled those of the French Riviera.
At this time, the natural sugar level in the Corton Charlemagne was 14 degrees and in the best vineyards of Corton Grancey the famous "degré 13" was consistently attained. Monsieur Duvaud-Blochet, a famous wine-grower of the 19th century, theorized on this rarely obtained level of sugar declaring that it was undeniably the bench-mark of quality.
A long awaited brief period of rain at the end of August really saved the vintage. The return of sunshine after this short spell of bad weather allowed an already abundant crop to perfectly mature and to yield a considerable quantity of very high quality wines in both reds and whites.
This however does not mean that all 1990 wines will be good. Over-production in some cases, picking prematurely in others, and also the consequences of drought on some slopes had an effect on quality.
The fact remains that all regions of Burgundy have benefitted from three successive fine vintages. 1990 is surely the biggest in size and of a quality which is at least equal to that of 1989.
It is not impossible that in due course we will see the best of the 1990 being of the quality of some of the excellent vintages of the past like `64 and possibly even `59.
It is of the utmost importance for Burgundy to be in a position to offer such a selection of fine wines from recent vintages. The 1988's are still a little austere but are beginning to show all the qualities of a classic vintage. The 89's are plentiful and rich for the whites, charming and easygoing for the reds and the 90's could well be a combination of both.
Nobody knows as yet what will be the effects on prices. What is sure is that any expectation of further price increases is obviously denied by the wine- growers. A healthy decline in the prices compared to those paid last year would be welcomed by the Trade and accepted by them. In due course this will be reflected in the quotations and will help Burgundy to recover its share of the world fine wine markets.