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Thus the wines can better express the qualities and particularities of their terroirs. The soils in Puligny-Montrachet are calcareous clay with different percentages of clay and limestone, according to the locations. The soil also includes trace elements: traces of iron, magnesium, boron that assure nourishment to the roots that make a difference to each vine.
In the cellars, the same philosophy of respect presides over the entire vinification process and follows the purest Burgundian tradition: long and natural fermentations in oak barrels in the first year and in stainless steel the second winter. Fermentations are solely from indigenous yeasts. A light bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) is practiced between the end of alcoholic fermentation and beginning of malolactic fermentation. Bottling takes place in the springtime of the second year.
1996 VINTAGE in Burgundy
Maturity levels were in general high following a long hot summer. The wines from the famous Pinot Noir have an intense ruby red colour with lush red fruit aromas. They are wines that are comparable with the outstanding 88s and 89s. The whites are just as outstanding full-bodied with elegant vibrant Chardonnay fruit and sweet white flower and grilled nut aromas. These are wines that have the potential to age magnificently.
Each harvest we hope for three things, favorable weather conditions, healthy grape clusters and high sugar levels. The 1996 harvest provided all of these. April was particularly sunny and brought about an early bud burst (18th of April). Following this we had what can be described as a flash flowering which leads to good pollination, creating high yields.
Arean had low rainfall levels, a sturdy breeze (which kept rot to a minimum) and a long ripening period. These factors created high sugar levels and good acidity within the grapes. Cloud cover in August, combined with the coldest September on record meant that the sugar levels were exceptionally high and so was the acidity: 12% potential alcohol with 5.5g of acidity for Corton Reds and 13%-14% potential alcohol with 6g of acidity for Corton Charlemagne.
As a result, most are very pleased with the 1996 vintage. The reds have an intense color, good tannin structure and concentrated Pinot Noir flavor. The white wines are also impressive, containing plenty of rich fruit character, a crisp acidity and are already showing an attractive bouquet.