2018 Domaine Bart Marsannay Les Ouzeloy
For the French (and many winemakers worldwide), the word terroir reflects the deep-held belief that where the grapes are grown is what matters most. Where you are from – Green Bay, Chicago, Charleston, South Carolina;— it leaves a huge imprint that you can taste in the bottle. And in these Burgundy bottles, the romance of terroir will come alive on your palate.
First, for this academic venture into boozedom, get yourself started right. That’s why we chose Domaine Bart, which is now in the young hands of sixth-generation wine grower Pierre Bart. And while I think that Pierre’s affable charm comes across in his wines, what I also sense keenly is the terroir of his vineyards. And I’m in good company in thinking this – in January 2020, Pierre became “Grower of the Year in Burgundy.” That’s right! Think of all those important and famous names in Burgundy, and this young guy took the top prize.
First off is his Bourgogne Cote d’Or. Here Pierre told me that, “We want you to just be able to taste the fruit. To bite into and get a purity of character.” From vines across the domaine, its nose yields an intense bouquet of Morello cherry, field-ripened strawberries and touches of black currant. There is a distinct and pressing minerality that shades down into a long and slightly meaty finish. Yes!
Next, from the village of Marsannay is the vineyard Ouzeloy, probably named for the black bird Ouzel who so likes to munch on this vineyard’s grapes. Here the soil is a touch more sandy, which shows off the purity and beauty of Pinot fruit: lush raspberries, a beautiful sense of walking through a well-maintained potager, crushed roses, mint and tart cherries. The palate gives a living energy and youthfulness, an expression of joy with every sip. Drink now, or expect years of delectation from your cellar.
Finally, we have Fixin’s famous Premier Cru of Les Hervelets. In the ancient local dialect “Les Hervelets” means the place where maple trees grow. Les Hervelets is upslope and subsequently gets more cooling winds from the Hautes Cotes de Nuits, and it has more marl in the soil. The result? It ripens up to 10 days later than the other two, producing a wine of intense dark color and black cherry and blackberry aromatics on the nose that beguile with every sip. There is a blackcurrant baked-goods hint that lifts and supports the aroma. The palate is firm and cut, but not overly so, with enough drive to ensure years of pleasurable drinking from your cellar.
Sample the Romance of the Land: All three of these wines are vinified the same and made by Pierre in the same winery, and the only difference is the location of the vines. So come explore, taste, learn, and thoroughly enjoy these exciting wines.
And one more thing. I tasted these wines and thought, what a great way to show off vineyard expression and terroir in Burgundy. And when I saw the prices, I did a double-take. Intellectual wonders aside, I don’t think you can find a better price going in Burgundy, period. So taste, explore, and intellectualize with abandon!