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Grape Variety : Pinot Noir.
Site: Bonnes-Mares is halfway between Chambertin and Musigny, and yet less well-known than either. The vineyard straddles two communes: Morey and Chambolle. The Drouhin parcel is located on the Chambolle side.
History & tradition: according to legend, a farmer discovered in his field a sculpture representing the three goddesses of fecundity whose name was "Bonnes Mères" ("Good Mothers"), hence the name "Bonnes Mares".
Soil: mild incline; light soil, mixed with chalky pebbles.
Drouhin estate: 0,23 ha. (0.575 acre).
Average age of the vines: 41 years.
Biological cultivation since 1990; biodynamic cultivation a few years later.
Vine stocks: "sélection massale" (propagation of new vine stocks from a number of selected vines) done at the Drouhin nursery; also clones of recognized quality.
Soil maintenance: compost of manure and white wood, sometimes guano (seabird manure used as fertilizer). Soil is ploughed either by tractor or by horse to manage spreading of weeds.
Treatment: only authorized products for biological cultivation are used: infusions and macerations of plant materials, sulfur and copper, powdered rock. Natural predators are not eliminated.
Plantation density: from 10,000 to 12,500 stocks/ha in order to extract all possible nuances from the terroir and limit the production of each vine stock.
Yield: we aim to keep our yields low, more in line with the previous regulation: around 20% less than allowed by the current law.
Harvesting: by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit.
Sorting of the grapes: in the vineyard and at the "cuverie" (winery) if necessary.
maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks
maceration and fermentation temperatures under total control
Joseph Drouhin seeks total control of the process of extraction; extraction gives colour and substance to a wine but should never be detrimental to its finesse and typical character.
"Pigeage" (punching down of the cap during fermentation): once a day until half of fermentation is done; one pumping over ("remontage") per day till the end of the fermentation.
Pressing: separation of free run juice from pressed juice.
Type: in barrels (20% in new oak)
Length: 14 to 18 months.
Origin of the wood: French oak forests.
Weathering of the wood: Joseph Drouhin insists on total control of the weathering for a period of 3 years, one of the contributing elements to the elegance of the wine.
Follow-up: barrel by barrel.
Fining (collage, to clarify the wine): light, after careful tasting
Throughout the ageing process, decisions are taken only after careful tasting evaluation, barrel by barrel. The data obtained is then completed through technical analysis. As with every other Joseph Drouhin wine, absolute priority is given to the true expression of terroir and character of the vintage.
Tasting note by Véronique Boss-Drouhin
"A wine with great breed. Bright, intense ruby-red colour. Complex aromas of Morello cherry ("griotte"), cherrywood, raspberry, and, in some years, a discreet touch of tobacco. As the wine ages, there are notes of truffle and musk. On the palate, a good balance between structure and texture. A remarkably long aftertaste".
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.