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Domaine Boyer Martenot

A common refrain around the shop is that a great wine is representative of the grape(s) it’s made from, the place it comes from, and the winemaker that crafts it. As popular as the saying is these days that “wine is made in the vineyard,” it’s not. Good grapes are grown in vineyards, and you can't make great wine without great grapes, but the alchemist that coaxes the potential from the grapes and shines them through the prism of place is the winemaker. 

Each year we eagerly anticipate the new wines from Vincent Boyer of Domaine Boyer-Martenot because in a deep way that spans both innovation and tradition, his wines exemplify this refrain. This young winemaker (well, not that young, he and I share a birth year, so wishful thinking on my part), approaches the elevage of the wines like no other Burgundian vigneron that I know – yes, corrections are welcome. Overtly oaky, fruity, or reductive notes are eschewed in favor of wines that push the expression of grape and place further to the forefront. 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. It is dedicated to showing the variety of the different terroir  of the village and bottles 9 different Meursaults, all but one being from single vineyards – some village and some 1er Cru. 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. (In 2017 when he began doing this half the wines were bottled after a year in barrel, and half saw the second year in concrete egg, so if you find a ’17 with a foil top it is just barrel, if it’s waxed it had the concrete). 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 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.

He wants to show the site, and here’s the thing friends, Meursault isn’t always shy. It can be elegant, and balanced, and complex, but a small wine it is often not. Vincent brings forth each parcel’s distinct personality by weaving in tension and verve, but not hiding or masquerading what the grape and the place want it to be. A wine can be powerful, and his 1er Cru Charmes for example surely is, but still be brimming with energy. In March I had the chance to visit Vincent in the cellar and taste all the 20’s out of concrete egg,  and the ‘19’s from bottle, as well as a ’79 Narvaux that was stunning – mature, yet youthful, just like Vincent or myself…Ha-ha. This batch of 2019’s is truly something else. We hope you’ll like them as much as we do. 

Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Les Tillets, 2019 $85
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Les Tillets, 2019 MAGNUM $185

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, Les Chaumes, 2019 $87
Les Chaumes also sits high on the slope near the forest line, and above 1er Cru Perrières. The vineyard lies at southern end of the village towards Blagny. Spoils are thin and rocky over limestone. Chaumes, to me, is the opulent one of the bunch. Notes of stone fruit pushing to pineapple. There is a note of springtime blossoms too. On the palate there is some viscosity the runs across your tongue, with a finish that exudes a citrusy acidity. 

Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Narvaux, 2019 $90
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, Narvaux, 2019 MAGNUM $190 

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, 2019 $189
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Meursault, 1er Cru Perrières, 2019 MAGNUM $365 

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, 2019 MAGNUM $310 
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, 1er Cru Le Cailleret, 2019 $193
Domaine Boyer-Martenot – Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Le Cailleret, 2019 MAGNUM $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.