by Giles Cadman – Venulum
I would be hard pushed to think of anything more rewarding to drink, (despite my love of the great reds of Bordeaux and Burgundy), than fine white Burgundy, especially when something in the nature of Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne 1999 comes along at perfect maturity and provides a wonderful accompaniment to an evening meal with friends. One of the great names of Burgundy, Bonneau du Martray, like many estates in the region, has been in the same family for a couple of centuries. What is more unusual about it though is its holding of 25 continuous acres of vineyard where it is frequently possible to find estates owning just a couple of rows of vines in any given appellation.
With Jean-Charles de la Morniére (who originally trained as an architect), at the helm, Bonneau du Martray benefits from an outstanding terroir to the west and south-west of the famous hill of Corton. The yields are kept low, and as many as sixteen parcels of grapes are vinified separately in order to reflect their respective soils, climate and aspect.
Gorgeous creamy white-stone fruits such as peach along with hints of tropical fruit and even honey in addition are in evidence on the nose with an underlying minerality which helps to keep everything in check. The palate is rich, yet with great precision, showcasing a restrained opulence, with the minerality again providing balance and harmony. I have read reports, and indeed had experience of white Burgundies of this age suffering from oxidisation, but thankfully this bottle was in outstanding condition. As Neal Martin writes of the 1999, it is “…everything you could ask for in a Corton-Charlemagne…”, and I couldn’t agree more.
You can purchase Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, 1999 from Cadman Fine Wines.