Two Vertical Tastings from Burgundy

Sitting down to a flight of wines from Burgundy is always a luxury.  But, to taste through two vertical line-ups from two historic producers from the region is a special treat.  And such happened when two grand names of Burgundy recently visited Los Angeles to host a tasting – Michel Gros of Domaine Michel Gros and Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moriniere of Bonneau du Martray.

The Burgundy region is considered one of the best in the world.  Consisting of 5 production areas that run north to south (Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais), Burgundy consists of thousands of small growers. The great wines of Burgundy are single grape variety wines – one red (Pinot Noir) and one white (Chardonnay).  The tasting including a vertical of Pinot Noir from Domain Michel Gros and a vertical of Chardonnay from Bonneau du Martray.

Domaine Michel Gros

Michel Gros, who has been twice named the Red Winemaker of the Year, is the sixth generation in family who began in Vosne-Romanée (in the Côte de Nuits) in 1830.  Michel began working with his father on the family estate in 1975 and today has land in the Cote de Nuits (Clos Vougeot, Vosne Romanee “Aux Reas”, Chambolle Musigny and Morey Saint Denis) and Côte de Beaune (Nuits Saint Georges).

Clos des Réas is the oldest parcel in the family and consists of a total of approximately 5 acres.  Located on the east side of Vosne-Romanée, the vineyard has its own special microclimate as it is protected from the north winds by the houses and walls around the vineyard.


2009 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – approachable with silky, soft tannins, cherry, cranberry and earth notes

The 2009 bottle commemorates the 150th vintage with the Gros family seal.

2007 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – notes of mushrooms, leather, earth, sweet spices

2005 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – a great vintage that is just waking up, savory notes, more tannic

2003 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – a challenging vintage, more vegetal, sweet tobacco, rose and thyme notes

2002 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – good acidity, light on the palate with a gorgeous floral nose

2001 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – a tough vintage produced a wine with hard tannins that ages well; sweet nose of sundried tomato, tea leaf, sweet tobacco

2000 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – due to a warm summer, the vintage produced the biggest crops; the wine has bright nose of strawberry

1999 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – intense color, tannins and acidity, spicier, earthier nose with higher tannins

1996 Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas, 1er Cru – rounder wine with less acidity and notes of cigar box

Domaine Bonneau du Martray

Family owned since the early 1800s, the vineyards of Bonneau du Martry are located on the hill of Corton in Corton-Charlemagne. Prior to the family owning the vineyards, they belonged to Charlemagne who donated the vineyards to the church in 1785.  Since the family purchased the property in 1835, there have been only three owners in over 12 centuries.

In 1994, Jean-Charles le Bault de la Moriniere took over for his parents and inherited viticulture methods that dated back to post World War II, in which agriculture was produced at a high-volume and at high speeds.  Jean-Charles recognized the gradual erosion of the soils and the threat to the vineyards and got rid of chemical pesticides, cultivating the soils more naturally.  Moving to organic farming in 2004, the winery, now 100% organic, is practicing biodynamic farming and will be certified biodynamic in 2014.

There are 16 parcels, each farmed individually and picked separately, producing 16 different white wines, with nuanced differences.  The wines clearly reflect the place that they come from.  And it is the only estate in Burgundy to exclusively produce wine from Grand Cru vineyards.


2009 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – creamy nose of vanilla and stone, great acidity

2008 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – notes of tropical fruit, guava, yellow peach, bright with high acidity and a hint of toast

2007 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – which peach, apples, flower blossoms, nutty, mineral

2002 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – fresh aromatics with hint of herbs

2001 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – minerals, light and bright, great acidity

2000 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – hints of pineapple and tropical citrus fruits, very mineral

1999 Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru – notes of earth and green apple