Martin Bart and his nephew Pierre have made truly inspired 2013s. They take a back seat to no recent vintage. Bart makes nine, count ’em, nine, different Marsannays. Normally I buy two or three of my favorites, feeling that there’s no reason to confuse everyone. In 2013 I bought eight of the nine. They’re all fabulous, in their own way, and if you value terroir in your Burgundy, you’ll be thrilled by any of them.
They’re all slightly different, each parcel with varying degrees of calcaire, clay, marl, and each with slightly different expositions, varying degrees of stems retained in the wine, very small variations in the amount of new oak (none have more than a third, most less than that), but all are farmed in the same manner, all are fermented using only natural yeasts, and all are bottled without fining or filtration. Several are micro cuvées – the Les Saint Jacques, for instance, was three barrels – 75 cases for the world. The Clos du Roy, just two.
Below are my tasting notes from my visit at Domaine Bart in November 2014, just before the wines were to be bottled. First, the Marsannays:
Ouzeloy – significantly more concentrated than Finottes, lots of black cherry, deep sandy soil, 15% new oak. This sure bodes well for the group. *
Longeroies – calcaire, marl, gently sloping parcel; intense fragrance, delicious, structured, very nice sweetness *+
Montagne – more rocky soil, nearly south facing slope, similar profile to Longerois, with maybe just a touch more plump middle. *+
Echezots – more limestone on this parcel; good acidity, a bit closed down at first, but with air it sings. Both red and black fruits, very complex already. *(*)
St. Jacques – 3 barrels; 1 new. Bigger scaled than all the others before it; needs time, but all the parts are there. This is serious wine. *(*)
Grandes Vignes – 20% whole clusters. Yes, it is “grand.” very concentrated, structured, deep, long, lots of black fruit and spice.**
Clos du Roy – 50+ year old vines. same soil composition as Bonnes Mares – mainly calcaire 50% whole clusters. A step up, even from the St. Jacques and Grandes Vignes. This reminds me of 1er Cru Gevrey Chambertin; would love to sneak this into a Gevrey tasting.**
Champs Salomon – Also 50+ yrs old. This has even more grip. That’s why he poured it after the Clos du Roy. Again, layers of dark fruit, with plenty of structure. The richest wine of the group. *(*)
These have the structure along the lines of 2005 or 2010. An incredibly impressive lineup.
Then, we have the glorious Grand Crus. These two vineyards came to Domaine Bart, as did much of their Marsannay, from the dissolution of the once-venerable Clair-Daü estate in the 1980’s. We get miniscule quantities of these, and they are worth seeking out!
Chambertin Clos du Bèze –5 barrels made from 1/2 ha. 40% stems, but impossible to tell. Incredible perfume – violets, black fruits, spice, and it’s plush and seamless on the palate. I could just smell this all day. Dense, but with no rough edges. Oh la la! ***
Bonnes Mares – 10 barrels. Bart’s parcels are next to those of Comte de Vogüe. Bigger structure than the Clos de Bèze, quite a powerful wine. Gorgeous fruit quality that lasts and lasts, with a stony/mineral note; long, intense, so expressive. Wow. ***
These two wines will age effortlessly for two decades. Both are absolutely worth the price, and really, they’re bargains when compared with similar Grand Crus from other producers. Both are extremely limited. – David Netzer
Coming on the heels of our Top Ten Wines of 2015 list, I struggled while choosing a wine to write about this evening, as whatever I might choose would most likely suffer by comparison. But that’s okay. Top Ten wines are special. Special wines can have elevated price tags; that’s just how markets function, efficiently. If one is to incorporate moderate wine consumption into their lifestyle, the best recommendation that I can give is to be open and taste, taste, taste every wine that you have any interest in tasting. If you’re going to be tasting many wines over a shorter period of time, spit. Most wine tasting facilities offer spit buckets of some kind. So why exactly should we taste everything that we possibly can? Experience. No doubt we will taste wines that we really like, but we’ll also experience wines that don’t exactly hit home with our respective palates. Sometimes, we’ll even come across wines we do not like at all. That is all in everyone’s best interest. It’s important to try and understand why certain wines work for us while others don’t. This will make it easier to find wines to our liking in the future, not to mention unlocking the door to the treasure chest known as, “The best wine values!” A wine that certainly falls into that category is the 2013 Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Rouge Les Demoiselles.
As we begin to settle in to 2016, we look forward to all of the new wines and new discoveries that await us. But before we head full-steam into the new year, a brief recap of 2015 in the form of a list of our Top Ten Wines is in order! Here at TWH, over the course of a year, we taste thousands of wines made by hundreds of producers. From all of these tastings, one can only imagine the difficulty in choosing which wines to import and/or to stock on our shelves. A very small percentage indeed. Taking all that into consideration, paring the list of those wines down to a neat Top Ten is quite the challenge. So many wines deserve a mention, but one important criterion consistent in each year’s Top Ten is this: A good story. After all, a bottle of wine is a living thing. And so are we. Good wine is meant to be shared, and that is the only tidbit of instruction that we offer to accompany this list. Life is short. Live a little. Share your wine. Smile. Repeat as often as you can.
For a look at our previous lists, here are links to our Top Ten Wines from:
when the remains showed back up in the shop after we closed that day, Chris and I were treated to more of that “another league” special kind of wine! Layers of all of the goodness a quality Côte Rôtie can provide, smoky, meaty, gamey, dark savory fruit, spice, and earthiness in a glass! It took every bit of willpower we had to not finish the bottle in order for Anya and Tom to get a taste the following day, and after they did, our euphoria for this wine is unanimous! The 2012 has sold out, but we still have some 2011 in stock, and 2013 on the way. I’m building a vertical of this one!
And there you have it. Another exciting year in wine has passed, another new year awaits. Well, we’re not waiting. It’s only the 13th of January, but we’re already out there tasting new wines to stock on our shelves. Trips to Europe are being planned, and of course, the Bordeaux UGC tastings of the 2013 vintage are set to hit the US at the end of the month. There’s no rest in the wine biz. All the best for a great 2016! – Peter Zavialoff
The Holidays are a good time to open special bottles. I understand the logic of doing so, but my contrarian nature kept me reaching to open simple, quiet wines like the 2014 Luberon from Tour de l’Isle. When emotions run high and there are lots of goings on, a dependable, built-to-please-many red can be a life-saver. On Christmas Eve, I did open a magnum of Napa Valley red that I had been cellaring for a long time and finally got the nerve up to pop the cork. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t help but be distracted by the table banter, the serving of the meal, etc. to really have enjoyed it. On Christmas Day, it was the 2014 Luberon that called out to me. As I nursed a glass while catching the last frame of The Christmas Story marathon, I asked my husband to describe what he liked about this Luberon. His answer was simple but precise “the fruit is there and the tannins are light”. Bring on the distractions! Happy New Year Everyone!– Anya Balistreri