2004 Domaine Denis Mortet, Gevrey-Chambertin “Mes Cinq Terroirs” Red Burgundy, France.
In a week reviewing nicely aged and or mature French wines, the 2004 Denis Mortet Mes Cinq Terroirs” Gevrey-Chambertin seemed a perfect way to finish, its remarkably fresh and shows off a vivid array of pure red Pinot fruits and snappy herbal nuances, dried spices, floral notes, an earthy element and subtle mineral tones in a fine medium bodied food friendly Burgundy. Some secondary tertiary flavors are starting to emerge with hints of autumn leaves and Earl grey tea nicely playing background roles to black cherry, reduced strawberry and wilted rose petals, all of which are lifted by the vintage’s acidity that is still present and lively and the mountain herbs that is pretty striking, reminding me of some of my recent experiences with Domaine Dujac’s village offerings. Sadly we lost Denis Mortet in 2006 and it is amazing that his family, devastated by the loss, were able to keep things going here. I have found modern vintages, by the late Denis Mortet’s son Arnaud very faithful to his father’s wines, and he has even maybe raised the game with his passion and commitment. This wine, made before the untimely death of Denis, is a fitting tribute and time capsule of his style with a lovely silken, well mature example. As the name suggests, this Gevrey comes from tiny old vine parcels in five different terroirs with the appellation all with classic pebbly and compact soils with an underpinning of limestone and clay. A lot has been done here to improve concentration and there’s a big focus on small yields here with the idea to made ripe wines that have age worthy structure and are both seductive and soulful in style. This glowing ruby Burgundy will go a few more years and while I doubt much more of this vintage exists in the wild, I do recommend searching out Arnaud’s latest versions, especially from the 2020 vintage, which looks set to be a classic year.

The Domaine Mortet was originally founded back in 1956 by Arnaud’s grandfather, but made famous by his dad, who impressed famed importer Martine Saunier (who personally introduced me to these wines) that put his wines into her amazing portfolio of Burgundies that included Domaine Leroy. The Denis Mortet wines fast became fan favorites and offered a tremendous value, and from the mid nineties Mortet gained cult status and I remember being very excited to my first set of his wines from the 2001 and 2002 vintages, so this look back at his 2004 took on a little more meaning. The Mes Cinq Terroirs Gevrey-Chambertin, always a favorite, is sourced from, as importer Martine’s Wines notes, from six hectares of five terroirs: En Motrot (located between the church and Château de Gevrey-Chambertin, immediately after Clos Saint-Jacques and at the end of Lavaux Valley), Au Vellé (situated to the north of Château de Gevrey-Chambertin, this plot of old vines stands on a slope of gradual incline and is fully east-facing), La Combe du Dessus (on a gentle slope; it is at the end of Lavaux Valley, opposite En Motrot), En Champs (located on a gentle slope at the foot of the 1er Cru Les Champeaux and facing the rising sun) and En Dérée (located at the foot of the slope of the place named En Champs, this plot of very old vines). These five vine plots are situated on the northern slope of the Cote de Nuits’ Gevrey-Chambertin AOC called the “Côteau de Brochon” all of which are farmed without chemicals and provide excellent grapes for this elevated Village bottling. Arnaud Mortet, like his dad, uses traditional methods in the cellar and has a gentle touch as a winemaker, employing indigenous yeast, small lot partial whole cluster fermentation(s) and ages in mostly used wood with this one typically seeing 20% new French oak. The Mes Cinq Terroirs matures on the lees in barrel for 18 months and then rested in stainless steel for another six months to clarify it before bottling. A big thanks to Ben Edwards, who graciously pulled this bottle from his personal collection to share with friends.
($100-159 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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