Vincent Boyer of Domaine Boyer-Martenot values both innovation and tradition, his wines exemplify this. Vincent approaches the elevage of the wines like no other Burgundian vigneron that we know – yes, corrections are welcome. Overtly oaky, fruity, or reductive notes are eschewed in favor of wines that push the expression of grape further to the fore front. His goal is for them to be structured, but open knit, unfurling in the glass, and over years in the bottle. The domaine is located in the village of Meursault and most of its 24 acres of vines are there – there is some Puligny too – and 9 different Meursaults, all but one being from single vineyards, are produced.
The recipe, so to speak, is similar across the board. Hand harvested, fermented with indigenous years in tank, aged for one year in barrel (usually 20%-30% new) - and here is where he takes a left turn - all the wines are aged an additional year in unlined concrete egg-shaped tanks. It is common for winemakers to rest the wines in steel for a time after barrel, and it is also common practice for wines to be fermented and aged in concrete, but no one is raising the wines in quite this manner. What mark does it leave? Not a huge one, but that’s the point. Vincent feels the anaerobic steel post barrel is a shock to the wine, it pulls it back and inhibits expression, but he also feels the added time aging after barrel is key to settling it, bringing the different barrels together to meld, and to give it time to refine.
In March of ’21, Andy tasted nearly the all of the 2020 wines out of concrete egg. The wines, each in their own way, exemplified what makes 2020 such an interesting Burgundy vintage. The wines are concentrated, but with precision. Acidity is ample along with the fruit being ripe which means balance!
Boyer-Martenot, Bourgogne Aligoté 2020 Estate vines are grown in vineyards within the borders of the village of Meursault. Soils are deep and fertile, not suitable for either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
Boyer-Martenot, Cuvée Fernand Boyer Meursault 2020 This bottling contains fruit from four villages-level vineyards, as a tribute to Vincent’s grandfather and the founder of the family estate, Fernand Boyer. It is a lovely introduction to the estate and is textbook Meursault.
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Les Tillets, 2020 $87 Tillet sits high on the slope above the 1er crus at the forest line. The soil is thin and there is a high chalky limestone to clay ratio. Of all the single vineyard wines this one was the most ‘open for business.’ It was rich and bright, true yin and yang. Notes of stone fruit and wild flowers with a forward weight, followed by a spicy and stony note with ample acidity to balance.
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Narvaux, 2020 $87 Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Narvaux, 2020 MAGNUM $180 Oh, Narvaux, it’s hard to not keep this all for our cellar. So complex and complete. Narvaux is also high on the slope – are you seeing a theme here? – Soils are rocky and very thin with the limestone bedrock very close to the surface. Aromas of pear flesh, golden apple, and scallop shells. On the palate there is a briny, almost saline, minerality, that laces through the riper, but reserved, fruit. Delicious today, but with years ahead.
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, 1er Cru Perrières, 2020 $170 Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, 1er Cru Perrières, 2020 MAGNUM $345 My note when I tasted this wine was one single word, “Parfait!” After that I put my pen down. Later that day I reflected and recorded some thoughts, but it kind of feels superfluous. Nevertheless, here is a fuller run down. Perrières sits above Charmes on the south end of the village. It lies at 900’ in altitude facing east with stony limestone soils. Aromas of white peach, hazelnut skin, citrus zest (lemon and lime), crushed rocks….. then go in for a second sniff and start over! Seamlessly textured palate, that has a focused attack, plush midpalate, and a finish that resonates with energy and nerve. You could have stopped reading at “parfait."
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, 1er Cru Charmes, 2020 $170 Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, 1er Cru Charmes, 2020 MAGNUM $345 Charmes lies at the southern end of Meursault at the border with Puligny-Montrachet. Soils are silty and stony, with a vein of iron rich earth. Charmes always befuddles and amazes me with the dichotomy of its powerful richness and tense structure. In a way this wine epitomizes Vincent’s winemaking talents. It doesn’t hide from what the grapes from this land wants it to be, which is structured and bold, but he laces in the elegance that lies within. Golden apple, with orange blossoms, stone fruit, and minerality too. Plush and long.
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Puligny-Montrachet, 'Les Reucheaux', 2020 $102 ‘Reucheaux’ sits below Puligny’s premier cru row, on the Meursault side of the village. Soils are very stony, with limestone subsoils. A bit more heft, a bit more flesh than your usual Puligny, but still chock-full of herbs and flowers and spice.
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Le Cailleret, 2020 $192 Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Le Cailleret, 2020 $420 If you are only going to make one Puligny 1er Cru, Cailleret, bordering Montrachet, is a pretty good one to be tasked with! Cailleret sits high on the stop at 1,000’ ft in altitude, facing east, and with a ruddy limestone rich soil with lots of ‘cailloux,’ or stones, from which the vineyard gets its name. Aromas of citrus peel, sweet herbs, white flowers, and delicate spice. The palate is full of ripe white fruits, with a chalky minerally tone, and a finish that last for minutes on end.