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Domaine Denis Mortet in Burgundy was founded by Denis Mortet in the early 1990s. He died at the age of 51, after taking his own life in January 2006. In his brief, but highly acclaimed passage from the winemaking scene, he rose to become a colossal figure in Burgundy, fashioning wines from relatively modest vineyard holdings which punch far above their weight. He rose to fame with an exceptional range of wines from the 1993 vintage. He believed with a deep passion that the work in the vineyard was everything. But there was an essential contradiction to his work: he yearned to make wines of finesse and style, but everything he did in the vineyard and cellar tended towards sumptuous wines of almost unparalleled weight and opulence, which achieved cult status and a devoted following. But the harder he drove himself, the further from his stated aim he went. Only now, under son Arnaud and the watchful eye of his mother Laurence, are the wines achieving the minerality and elegance (and seemingly without sacrificing weight) that Denis sought. At the domaine everything starts in the vineyard, where every measure is taken to produce the finest, ripest fruit possible, creating a style of wine which, as Denis used to say is "a pleasure to drink young or old." This is an estate of young vines - 25 years old - and where village wines are tended as if they were a Grand Cru; thus all the reds see 100% new oak. Denis Mortet's immaculate vineyards are the key and no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of excellence. The number of cuvées of village Gevrey has fluctuated in recent years. It was reduced to just one in 2005, two in 2006 and then expanded again to four in 2007: Gevrey on its own, Combes Dessus, En Champs and vieilles vignes. Other cuvées which have appeared from time to time include En Motrot, En Derée and Au Vellé. The Domaine's 10 hectares encompass 14 different Appellations, including two Grands Crus - Clos-de-Vougeot and Chambertin - and are a far cry from the days of his father, Charles, who started off with only one hectare. Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Bottle 6 x 75cl1cs
Arnaud harvested from 25th September for 10 days and, though the grapes needed lots of sorting, yields finished up better than in 2012. He likens the vintage to 2008 but with more flesh and more flattering. Arnaud is continuing slowly to reduce the percentage of new wood – no more than 30% for the village bottlings, 50-60% for the Premiers Crus.
Arnaud Mortet characterises 2012 as having a small yield, between 25 and 35 hl/ha, with good maturity and ripe tannins while retaining acidity: “A very Burgundy vintage”. Since his father’s time, Arnaud has reduced the amount of new oak, a program which he began in 2008 and has accelerated quite substantially for 2012 – and extracts more gently. Maybe some markets will prefer the previous style but we are convinced that Arnaud is making wines of absolute brilliance now as a result of his intelligent fine-tuning.
Arnaud Mortet is achieving his stated ambition to make fresher, more elegant wines than those of his father, and though some markets may not appreciate this refinement of style, we certainly do. There is less emphasis on extraction and on new oak, so the wines are a touch lighter in colour than they used to be, but fresher and perhaps more subtly nuanced. A great success in 2010.
Bottle 12 x 75cl1cs