Domaine Bonneau du Martray

Location: Pernand-Vergelesses, France

 Wines that are difficult to describe and difficult to obtain.

The story goes that Emperor Charlemange donated the area to the Abbey of Saulieu in the year 775, and its boundaries have remained in place ever since. It is also the story that the Emperor’s wife convinced him that white grapes were preferable to red to save his beard from being stained. Perhaps that explains how Chardonnay grapes came to be grown in what is otherwise Pinot Noir territory.

The region of Corton-Charlemagne was under control of the church until the French Revolution, when it was acquired by Rene Bonneau du Martay. Childless, Rene forwarded the estate – almost 24 hectares of vines – to his niece Comtesse Jean le Bault de la Moriniere, whose husband Jean took over in 1969. It was Jean who was responsible for the estate’s renaissance, restoring the property to its former grandeur, and making a number of improvements to the winery, including enlarging the cuverie and cellars, and installing temperature-controlled steel tanks. More importantly, however, he also began to estate-bottle the wine (which had previously been sold to negociants), giving him total control over quality.

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