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Red Wine

Domaine Jean Marechal Bourgogne 2020

Cote Chalonnaise
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Assembled from wine from two different parcels of appellation Bourgogne that are situated in the limits of Mercurey, you could call this a ‘little Mercurey’, the terroir and black fruits so resemble the village appellation. Severe pruning limits the yields (45hl/ha) reinforces the deep Pinot character of the fruit.



With so many winemakers finishing their 2020 harvest before the end of August, everyone here in Burgundy expected that this hot, sunny vintage would produce atypical wines, overripe, fat and flabby. Why it did not is a mystery to this day.

In fact, 2020 Burgundy, both red and white, is being lauded by the Press and professionals alike as an exceptional vintage, brilliantly fresh, pure, elegant and focused. Yes, the wines are ripe and concentrated, but there is good acidity that more than brings things into balance. This, in fact, defines the Burgundy 2020 style: high acidity and high concentration.

So let’s look, as we do every year, at how the growing season developed, to try to get some idea of what shaped these unexpectedly energetic wines.

In a word, from start to finish, 2020 was precocious. After a mild and humid winter, the vegetative cycle started a month early under sunny skies, with bud burst in mid-April and the first Chardonnay flowers in early May. Then the weather deteriorated. Pinot Noir flowered in cool, damp conditions, and was less successful than Chardonnay, explaining the smaller Pinot crop.

From that point on, there is not much to report weatherwise. It was hot and dry from June through to the end, the driest year since 1945. The grapes started to change color in mid-July, and harvest in August seemed likely.

Now you may think that an August harvest lets everyone get their jobs done and go home early. But remember that there is a big difference between the heat and luminosity of an August afternoon and the cooler, shorter days of September. When maturity comes galloping at you in August, you have to react quickly; a day or two can mean considerable differences in acid and sugar levels.

Indeed, there may have been more stress on the winemakers than there was on the vines. 2020 was in fact an easy growing season, dry, with little risk of fungal problems. The tough part was deciding when to harvest. Do you put off harvesting to try to get to phenolic maturity, or do you pick sooner to keep acid levels up and to avoid higher alcohol levels?

Many opted to pick early. And for the most part, it proved to be the right decision…though we still do not understand why! 

Many 2020 wines have alcohol levels of 13%-14%, but many are higher. Delaying picking increased the potential alcohol levels by as much as a degree a week.

At the same time, good levels of phenolic maturity gave ripe, but not overripe tannins. Some call the 2020s ‘crunchy’, which is a tannin level riper than ‘green’ but less than ‘fine’.

Total acidity was generally high, but most of that was tartaric acid. Malic acid, which would normally make up a big percentage of the total acidity, was low. In fact, the wines changed very little during malolactic fermentation, as there was little malic acid to transform into lactic acid.

So, again, we have a vintage that is characterized by high acidity and concentrated fruit. Some are saying that there has never before been a vintage where ripeness and acidity combined to give such brilliant wines with great aging potential. And this is true for both red and white. Freshness, balance, moderate alcohol.

The whites are rich and ripe, but with a crystalline, almost razor-sharp edge. That little touch of lactic acid makes them complex without adding weight.

The reds might bear a resemblance to past vintages.  2005, maybe. But they made wine differently in 2005. Back then, extraction was the goal: get as much out of the ripeness as you could. Today, Pinot is not so much ‘extracted’ as ‘infused’, like tea. This gives wines that are fresher and more energetic, with no less intensity and maybe more spice.

Drink them now, both red and white. There is astounding vitality in the youthful 2020s. But stick to the regional appellations for now because this is above all a vintage for aging, again both red and white. Keep the premier and grand crus for 10-15 years; longer for the best wines.  They have the balance to age, and will reveal little by little the complexity that we just get hints of today. These are wines that may shut down for a few years in a few years, that’s to be expected. But be patient; you will be overjoyed to pull 2020 Burgundy from your cellar down the line.

But even just that little touch of lactic acid made the complexity of the whites.




Mercurey, situated in the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise (12 kilometres from Chalon-sur-Saône) is one the foremost appellations of Bourgogne. Protected from moisture-bearing winds, tucked away in its hillsides or stretched along the aptly named Val d’Or (Golden Valley) the vineyards stretch as far as the neighboring village of Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu. The AOC status was instituted in 1923.Reunited by means of fellowship of the Chanteflûte, created in 1971, the local winemakers are dedicated to enjoying the wines of Mercurey and promoting them to the world.


Mercurey red is a deep, profound ruby. This crisp wine evokes strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. Age brings in notes of underbrush, spicy tobacco notes and cocoa beans. The palate is rich, full-bodied, and chewy. In its youth, the tannins of this wine lend it a mineral firmness. When aged, it is attractively rounded.


Mercurey is a typical Chardonnay gold, it varies in its degree of paleness and is flecked with green. It has floral aromas mayflower and acacia, with, hazelnut, almond, and cinnamon and pepper spice). A touch of flint is a trademark of this wine.


The vines grow at heights of 230 to 320 metres. They spread over marls and marly calcic soils of Oxfordian limestone. On the eastern side, they grow in calcic and marly soils. In the west crystalline Jurassic rocks are overlain by gravels. Part of the vineyards belong to the Bathonien. On these white limey soils and red clays, the vines are truly at home.


White Wines – Chardonnay

Red Wines – Pinot Noir

Production surface area

1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres

Reds: 548.68 ha (including 153.80 ha Premier Cru)

Whites: 84.59 ha (including 14.71 ha Premier Cru)


Red: rich, meaty and solidly put together, Mercurey brings out the best from beef rib steaks, or joints of beef or lamb, braised or in sauce. Roast pork is well suited to its rich aromas, as are poultry-based stews. Exotic dishes likewise are good partners for this wine. As for the cheeseboard, this wine harmonizes equally well with either mild, soft cheeses or aged versions

White: its spicy and floral bouquet and juicy appeal let it partner grilled fish or fish in sauce, cooked seafood, asian cuisine, and hard cheeses. White Mercurey can also make a excellent aperitif.


Premier Cru

Clos de Paradis

Clos des Barraults

Clos des grands Voyens

Clos des Myglands

Clos Marcilly

Clos Tonnerre

Clos Voyens

Grand Clos Fortoul


La Bondue

La Cailloute

La Chassière

La Levrière

La Mission

Le Clos du Roy

Le Clos l'Evêque

Les Byots

Les Champs Martin

Les Combins

Les Crêts

Les Croichots

Les Fourneaux

Les Montaigus

Les Naugues

Les Puillets

Les Ruelles

Les Saumonts

Les Vasées

Les Velley


Lieux Dits

Bourg Bassot



Champ Ladoy

Champ Pillot

Champ Roin

Clos Château de Montaigu

Clos des Hayes

Clos Fortoul

Clos Rochette-Mauvarennes

Creu de Montelons

En Boussoy

En Grillot

En Pierre Milley

En Theurot

Es Montelons



La Brigadière

La Charmée

La Chiquette

La Corvée

La Creuse

La Croix Rousse

La Perrière

La Pillotte

La Plante Chassey

Le Bois Cassien

Le Bourg

Le Clos la Marche

Le Clos Laurent

Le Clos Rond

Le Closeau

Le Crêt

Le Fourneau

Le Meix de la Guinarde

Le Meix Foulot

Le Meix Frappé

Le Puits Brintet

Le Saut Muchiau

Les Bacs

Les Berlands-Framboisière

Les Bois de Lalier

Les Bosebuts

Les Bussières

Les Caraby

Les Caudroyes

Les Chaumellottes

Les Chavances

Les Cheneaults

Les Creux

Les Doués

Les Marcoeurs

Les Montelons

Les Montots

Les Morées

Les Morins

Les Murgers

Les Mussiaux

Les Noiterons

Les Obus

Les Plantes

Les Pronges

Les Rochelles

Les Varennes

Les Vaux

Les Vignes Blanches

Les Vignes d'Orge

Les Vignes de la Bouthière

Les Vignes des Chazeaux

Les Villeranges

Meix Adenot

Mipont Château




Vigne de Maillonge

Vignes du Chapître

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