I’ve reported on earlier vintages of wines from the Clos Marey-Monge, the 20-hectare Monopole vineyard of Château de Pommard in the Côte de Beaune, Burgundy. The historic Château has been given a new lease of life since its purchase by American businessman Michael Baum in 2016. Since then, a whirlwind of renovation has touched every aspect of the winery, vineyards and wines.
Conversion to organic viticulture with a plan for full biodynamic certification is in place, with ploughing is by horse and a programme to encourage biodiversity. But it is the re-mapping of this single vineyard into seven indivudual plots based on soils and exposition that is being watched with interest by Burgundy lovers, especially as the pricing is high for what remains a village-designated vineyard, not a Premier or Grand Cru.
The Clos Marey-Monge
Though some wine-pages visitors questioned the pricing when I first reported on the 2019 vintage wines, I was in no doubt that these were excellent red Burgundies. They are fashioned in a relatively rich and modern style, but having tasted four of those 2019 cuvées I thought the quality in the bottle spoke for itself.
I was delighted when Michael Baum arranged for me to taste three of the 2020 crop from the Clos Marey-Monge: the cuvées Grands Esprits, Micault and Clos Marey Monge, the latter a blend of the seven individual plots.
Prices for these wines range from £62 to £142 per bottle. That is, of course at the upper end for Burgundies classified at village-level, but I thought these were terrific. The price, therefore, is simply down to whatever the wine drinker who tastes them is willing to pay.
(2023) Micault is a 1.29 hectare plot within the Clos Marey-Monge, on pink sandstone. The wine is certified organic. Eighty percent of the grapes are whole-bunch vinified, then aged in barrel for 15 months, but only 15% new oak. Typical of the domaine's wines, it marries a juicy, unashamed depth of ripe red berry fruit with terroir notes of minerals and light smokiness. On the palate that energy from very delicate oak influence and ripe but refined tannins and acids gives beautiful mouthfeel and texture. This will cellar for a decade or more, but its balance and elegance mean it offers immediate gratification too.
(2023) From a plot of 4.81 hectares on rocky, calcium-rich soils and 40- to 50-year old vines. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel, 80% as whole clusters, with several weeks maceration. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels (25% new), like the 2019 vintage it has compelling, bright red fruit aromas, bold cherries, raspberry and a hint of undergrowth and liquorice giving a firm aromatic edge. That intensity of fruit carries through to the palate, where I really enjoyed the tension between 'prettiness' of red fruits and the hint of sinew and structure from firm tannins and keen plum-skin acidity. A lovely, robust and yet absolutely elegant wine.
(2023) An assemblage of all the parcels within Château de Pommard's walled and organically-farmed 'Marey-Monge' vineyard, fermentation took place in steel with 60% whole-clusters, before 15 months ageing in 20% new French oak barrels. As always with this property there's a sweet fruited solidity to the wine, aromas are spicy with pot-pourri notes of dried flowers and herbs, over dusty raspberry moving into black fruits. In the mouth the firm tannins of this young wine grip, the acidity adds another thread of sinew, but deep fruit is locked within. This will repay cellaring for sure, and may well notch up an extra point or two with time, but in its rich but firm style it is already delicious.