Domaine Chanson, Corton Vergennes 2000-2011

This comes from two different terroir. The top part of Les Bressandes and two barrels from Les Chaumes, which is much lower and in the Aloxe area.

Prior to, and including, the 2010 vintage Corton Blanc included Les Renardes, which gave the minerality. Chandon de Briailles have the last parcel in Renardes before the boarder with Ladoix. This is now made separately as Corton-Charlemagne.

The Corton Blanc section of Bressandes (the upper part) was planted in Chardonnay by default. When Claude and Francois’s mother came to plant, the nursery had run out of Pinot Noir and suggested Chardonnay. This wine is a happy accident.

35 hl/ha is a normal crop. “Maybe because we de-bud a lot. My mother started like this and we continue.”

“Picking date is very important. We do not like too much alcohol. 12.6 is maximum for us …riper than this and we do not like the style.”

The tasting revealed an interesting point. Despite the vintage variation the sugars and pHs are not that different, but the picking date is. (These are provided with each wine below).

Claude explains making the wine: “It is important to ferment very cold, not above 22 degrees. We have one cold deep cellar which is also humid. Here the fermentation is very slow.”

“We press with a pneumatic press, but in 2016 we bought a vertical press and want to press with this. So this may change the style. The vertical press will help to include more air. I like it because there is no turning and no strong action. I feel the pneumatic is stronger. I began by thinking it would be used more for red than white, but Francois wanted to try it for the whites and we experimented with the 2016 as we had so very little.”

“Contact with air is so important. Up to 2011 we racked with natural air and we are now racking with nitrogen, so this a difference. The must is gently oxidised without sulphur and has 24 hours settling with no sulphur in tank and some is then added just before barreling to select the right yeast. We use 20% new wood for Corton Blanc. One 600l barrel. 4 year old barrels for the main part.”

“The air contact right from the beginning works as a natural antibiotic.”

“1 year in barrel (the MLF starts pretty much immediately in January) then it’s racked to stainless steel in September and has 3 months to be bottled just before or after Christmas. No filtration or fining.”

“I make wine by feeling. I don’t know how to make whites. The less you touch them, the better. Best not to use oenology.”

“The whites are easier to vinify in a cooler year. When it’s a hot vintage we have to question the picking dates …to capture the right moment. In 2015 we picked on the 30th August. We had a great pH at 3.3 and 13.2% potential alcohol (versus 2014 at 12.8 degrees.) The biodynamics is very important for this as it helps with the acidity.”

Tasting Notes

Corton Vergennes 2011
Moderate depth colour. Cool and quite reserved on the nose…opens to a slightly buttery note and citrus. Touch of liquorish. It is straight and has a cold grip. Good weight of lime-like fruit. Plenty of acidity. good intensity. Firm stony finish. Surprisingly viscose. I like it. Quite an early vintage, but not rich. Score 18

Picked 9th September and 13 degrees. 4.9 in TA and pH 3.22

Corton Vergennes 2010
This is a deeper colour. There is a touch of cork. The fruit is lemon rich and dense. Marked viscosity. Powerful and energetic. It is compact and straight and long on the finish. Cold, powerful acidity at the end. cold mineral. Score 18.5
14 4.9 3.24pH picked 29th September. While the 2011 was at the beginning.

*Corton Vergennes 2009
This is not as deep in colour as one might expect. No deeper than 2010. This is rich and exotic on teh nose. Ripe pear and a touch of buttered toast.
Passion fruit and mango. Opulent onto the palate. Ripe and rounded and juicy. Richly textured. I like the cold cut of minerality under the palate to combat the ripe fruit. It is a powerful and dense wine. Longs f impact. Very young. Score 19. It will wait for 20 years.

We can measure the dry extract and the 2009 had a lot of dry extract.

Corton Vergennes 2008
This is showing a deeper gold. Both nutty and some floral notes too. This has some maturity, but is still compact. It has ta contrasting cold and yet concentrated feel. A good contrast of sweet and bitter. The finish is really salty and straight. A clipped wine, long and well defined at the end. Tasting vey well now, but needs more time. I can see it evolving. Score 18.25

13.6 and TA 6.6 and pH 3.16

In the end spicy and cinnamon…JP thinks this will age very well. “This wine for me is the best wine – better than the 2009 and 2010.” He says this wine in two parts, and this will allow it to age. “I am sure in the future the 2008 will be better than 2011 and 2009. Sometimes you have reduction and oxidation in the same wine as you go between the two and this is something to consider. People say they do not understand the wine and say it is finished. It’s not.”

This was picked later (as with 2013)… on the 6th October. “When we analysis very old wines with this level of dry extract, they aged for 50 years. This is in the bad time between oxidation and reduction. Dry extract is nearly the same as the 2011 vintage.”

Corton Vergennes 2007
This has a lighter, more yellow/green colour than the 2008. Slight biscuit/nutty – macadamia nuts Ripe, but light aroma. It is silky and pure and straight onto the palate. a slimmer texture. Quite delicate and refined. A lively saline finish…fizzle of salt at the end. It is transparent to the terror. Good a time to drink now. Score 17.25

“This was riper – only 13.3% 5.3 TA and 3.22 and picked on the 12th. But a ripeness and easy harmony. The problem in 2007 it was very sunny at the end and a lot of pigment was burnt in the skin and it makes easier (more simple) wine. For me when the sun is too present at the end of the maturity of the grapes we lose something. It is good wine, but we miss the ‘light’ inside the wine.

Corton Vergennes 2006
It is pale green. Smells of cucumber and fresh mint…and butter-mints. It has that minty note on the palate too. It is quite fresh and zesty. Lightly rounded. It is pure, but maybe missing a bit of density and intensity in the middle palate. It is lacks a bit of energy on the finish. Score 17.25

JP loves it, says “it is not powerful. It is not showy, but has elegance and finesse and has energy and will age – like the 1982 reds. He says it is “electric and has a nervosity. No fat at all. It was a very cold vintage too, like the 2004.

*Corton Vergennes 2004
This has some more mature notes..touch of nuts and hay but is also quite herbal…grassy still Coffee and spice. This is an intriguing combination of some maturity and slightly herbal. There is plenty of tension. It has a salty, bitter, fennel note and is straight and long on the finish. It is a good 2004. Sappy and salinity…lovely with food, but you could wait..very, very delicate and intense. …Score 17.75

Not for introduction- some wines plateau and it may be a surprise when they are not top vintages take the polar opposites of Chanson’s 2003 and 2004 Corton Vergennes.

“Usually 2004 is my favourite vintage,” says JP. “Much nicer than 2005 which is rich and powerful. (we didn’t try it, so I cannot comment). This is delicate and has balance and you can forget it for 20-25 years…far too early now.”

“It would be perfect with Saint Pierre (John Dory) and fennel.” JP speaks about the 3 star Michelin chef Michel Troisgros in Rouen, “a very good chef. You have just one thing on your plate..looking for natural things one food and one wine with the same texture of the food and the wine. I would like to see more chefs doing this.”

Corton Vergennes 2003
This has the warm richness of a sunny vintage. Ripe orange notes on the bouquet and on the palate a touch of marmalade. It has a almost burnt marmalade note…caramelised orange – really rather nicely so. It is unctuous and that bitter, burnt character with the stoney salty flavour from the rocky soil actually works very well to make an interesting and complex wine. Very different from the monastic purity of the 2004, but I like it. I don’t think it will change much in the foreseeable future. Score 17

“With duck and a sweet and spicy sauce this could be very good,” remarks JP, almost reluctantly. Clearly his preference is for the delicate 2004, but we are in agreement that both are good.

Corton Vergennes 2000
This is pre JP’s tenure. Very deep gold in colour. Rich and slightly honeyed with older biscuit notes. It is thickly textured. A broad, looser palate, flat palate..tastes rather hot at the end. Plenty of viscosity, but lacks acidity. So it’s showy, but clumsy. I feel decidedly less excited about this than the 2003

JP” This is for me the pre-ox.”

Corton Vergennes 1994
This is a touch musty with strange orange notes…also like botrytis, but not so and it was not a warm vintage and it’s an older wine. Hollow and tired on the palate and flat on the finish. It lacks energy. It transpires this orangey note is …ascorbic acid – vitamin C -in other words it smells a little like organic juice and it is now oxidative.