July 24, 2017

Burgundy '17 - Visiting Bertrand Marchard de Gramont

On the road to Curtil Vergy in the Hauts-Cotes de Nuits

My importer in Quebec connected us to another producer he works with, Bertrand et Axelle Marchard de Gramont. We met with Axelle, who did a fantastic job of explaining things in English. My French is shamefully bad beyond some key travel phrases.

A perfect scene outside the cellar of B. et A. Marchard de Gramont

This domaine occupies a nice chai in the Haut Cotes town of Curtil Vergy. They work approximately 7.5ha of vines mostly in Nuits, with some nice holdings in Vosne and a bit of Aligote coming from close to the winery in the Hauts-Cotes de Nuits.

The scale here is familiar. They work several vineyards, mostly pretty small parcels, then vinify and age things nearby in (I believe) a leased facility. Here we were, meeting to taste the line up amid the barrels just like I'm usually doing with visitors to the Eola Hills. I taste in the US regularly, but it was fun being a guest in a French winery to see what's similar (pretty much everything) and what's not.

A few bottles we took with us from Marchard de Gramont

We tasted through a line up of 2015 releases, starting with bottlings from Nuits, then moving to the two bottlings they did in 2015 from Vosne, and finishing with the refreshing Aligote.

The wines impressed. 2015 is undoubtedly a riper year but there was still such freshness and fine grip amid the darker colors and almost overt fruit of the vintage. I preferred intensity of the older vines Nuits Vallerots to the younger vines (all of 15 years old) and a slightly more herbal expression in the Nuits Terraces de Vallerots. The Nuits Aux Allots showed a bit of reduction but that should work though. The Nuits Les Hauts Pruliers was the star, with lovely grace amid a firm structure. 

Me and Axelle in the chai at Marchard de Gramont

We finished with two wines from Vosne. The first is a blend of several tiny parcels they work, all village level. Lovely wine, not as different from the others though that might be the strong imprint of the vintage. 

Then there's the special bottling from 2015. B. & A. Marchard de Gramont usually only bottles one Vosne wine, but in '15 they separated out a small bit from Les Barreaux high on the hill above Richbourg and next to Clos Parantoux and Petits Monts. The exposure at Barreaux turns to the north, so it's merely village level, but this is different terroir than most village wines I think. This bottling was stunning. Rich and delicate, structured but supple, really a fine wine that I was delighted to try. 

As we were purchasing, I asked about white wine and Axelle remembered she had Aligote in the fridge, so we quickly tried it. What lovely, refreshing white wine with a strong earthy character of good Aligote. We added one on to our order and enjoyed it over a few nights as an aperitif.

Pano from the vines in Nuits midway up the slope

Saying our thank yous and goodbyes, we headed back down to Nuits and back to our Gite for the evening. It was late afternoon now and I was compelled to drive up on the small roads in the vineyards for a better look around.

We were in the southern part of Nuits, where if you look high on the flank you'll see the terraces of Vallerots, a distinctive site we'd noticed on our way to the winery. We stopped and looked around from the mid slope, hardly a cloud in the sky on a warm June day. This felt familiar, not the grandeur of the Cote but the dust of the soil, vines on a slope in the late day sun, pea sized berries gently shaded by a canopy not aggressively stripped of leaves. It felt so good to be there, even if we would be off to the south in the morning.

Now to plot a return.

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