The why, the what and the how of...

Domaine Bonneau du Martray

Domaine Bonneau du Martray, one of the most famous estates in Corton Charlemagne, had belonged to the same family for over two centuries until it was sold in 2017 to Stan Kroenke, owner of the American cult wine estate Screaming Eagle.

The vineyards of the estate were once the property of Emperor Charlemagne in the eighth century. According to the legend, it was the passion of the emperor for this wine of Corton that led him to give it his name. Jean Le Bault, Count of Morinière, inherited the estate in 1969 from his uncle, René Bonneau du Martray. In 1994, Jean-Charles de la Morinière took over from his father.

Bonneau du Martray only produces grands cru wine. Jean-Charles geographically surveyed the soils of its vineyards and this revealed nine different soil types. In 1996, as a result of these differences in soil, he started to vinify the parcels separately.

Prior to harvest, vineyards are monitored almost daily to assess the ripeness of the grapes. Once harvested at optimum ripeness, the whole bunches are pressed pneumatically and transferred to oak cask for fermentation where only indigenous yeast is used. Avoiding steel tanks allows for a fresher, richer white with better integration with the oak. Ageing is done in equal parts new, second and third-fill barrels.

The Corton Grand Cru red wine follows a similar practice, but work has been done in the vineyards to reduce yields. This produces more concentrated juice and allows for better extraction of colour and tannin. Rather than focusing on a bold red, the result is a wine with fresh fruit, finesse and silky tannins.

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