Domaine Jean Marechal Mercurey 1er Cru Clos l'Eveque 2018
Delicate pinot color, rich fresh strawberry fruit with hints of undergrowth. Fine tannins show a silky texture, and the balanced acidity brings the red fruit notes high on the palate. Elegant finish.
DOMAINE JEAN MARECHAL
Despite the fact that the Domaine Jean Marechal has been making wine in Mercurey from father to son since 1570, they are not so widely known as some of the other producers in the appellation. Which suits us here at Elden selections just fine. Whatever reason for the domain remaining undiscovered in this generation, we are here to report that this is one of the shining stars in Mercurey. Following in the footsteps of the current appellation locomotive, Bruno Lorenzon, the Domaine Jean Marechal is producing top flight wines that are fine and elegant.
The domain works 8 ha (a little over 19 acres) of vines in appellation Bourgogne, Mercurey and Mercurey 1er Cru. The premiers cru are in some of the best parcels in the appellation: Clos l’Eveque, Champs Martin, Les Nauges, Les Byots and the Clos Barraults (both red and white)
Vineyard work is mainly manual and ever meticulous, in the belief that there is no such thing as good wine without good fruit. Plowing is systematic, using interceps to force roots to dig deep and to maximize rain absorption.
Yields are intentionally limited by severe suckering, insuring concentration and aromatic complexity.
At harvest, the grapes are destemmed, with a long temperature-controlled fermentation. The cap is punched down twice a day to get good extraction. Aging is in oak, with the percentage of new wood judged each vintage.
BURGUNDY 2018 VINTAGE
There has been talk over the past year of the 2018 vintage in Burgundy being one of the greatest of all time. Comparisons with the mythical 1947, and all that. But let’s be careful and take a closer look.
We’ve tasted some marvelous wines, both white and red, and from all of the appellation levels. Purity and concentration would be the key words across the board.
But lest we forget, 2018 was the hottest vintage in Burgundy since 2003. And frankly, we were expecting wines like we got in 2003: flabby whites and Cote du Rhone-like reds. But that did not happen. And the secret to understanding 2018 Burgundy lies in understanding the difference between these two very hot years.
If you look at 2018 from start to finish, not only was it hot, it was dry: 50% less precipitation than the annual average over the past 30 years. However, if you were here in the early part of the year, you’ll certainly remember the rain.
After a very dry summer in 2017, winter 2017-18 was wet. It rained nearly every day through March and into April. And the vine was slow to bud.
That all changed in the middle of April. Wet soil and higher temperatures brought on explosive growth in the vineyards that the vignerons had a tough time keeping up with. In a week we went from bud burst to unfurled leaves.
The first flowers burst in mid-May. The crop set regularly with very little disruption, and summer settled in. The early wet conditions followed by April’s warmth saw the onset of mildew, but the fungus never stood a chance.
It was a hot and sunny summer. Some would say it was a heat wave and a drought. And we started to see signs of stress in vineyards in certain sectors. Things were better where there was a little rain. But August was bone dry. In fact, there was no rain from June 15th to the end of October.
It was about this time that comparisons to 2015 cropped up. You could see ripeness rapidly approaching, and there was talk of harvest starting at the end of August.
The vines were incredibly healthy; no moisture means no threat from mildew or odium. No rot. Good ripeness.
And, for the first time since 2009….a normal yield! So, let the harvest begin!
And it did, in the last days of August. What was most astonishing right from the start was that the perceived acidity levels seem OK. Granted, there’s no malic acid, but the levels of tartaric acid seem to be compensating, and there is an over-all impression of balance.
Also amazing was the amount of juice the crop produced. Not only was the yield bigger than the past 10 years’ average, but the amount of juice set a record for Burgundy. So there will be a lot of 2018 around.
And all this in a year that felt more like the south of Spain than Burgundy as we know it. The only thing we can attribute the quality of 2018 to is the abundant winter rains, and the vine’s ability to go searching for water when it needs it.
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.
Clos de Paradis
Clos des Barraults
Clos des grands Voyens
Clos des Myglands
Grand Clos Fortoul
Le Clos du Roy
Le Clos l'Evêque
Les Champs Martin
Clos Château de Montaigu
Clos des Hayes
Creu de Montelons
En Pierre Milley
La Croix Rousse
La Plante Chassey
Le Bois Cassien
Le Clos la Marche
Le Clos Laurent
Le Clos Rond
Le Meix de la Guinarde
Le Meix Foulot
Le Meix Frappé
Le Puits Brintet
Le Saut Muchiau
Les Bois de Lalier
Les Vignes Blanches
Les Vignes d'Orge
Les Vignes de la Bouthière
Les Vignes des Chazeaux
Vigne de Maillonge
Vignes du Chapître