Olivier Bernstein

Burgundy, France

Corton-Charlemagne — 2018

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • Located on the highest part of the hill, the parcel is at the northern tip of the appellation, next to the village of Ladoix-Serrigny. The hill itself offers an exemplary geological section through the younger (145 million years) Jurassic strata which lie between Ladoix-Serrigny and Meursault. The color of the clay-rich marly soils varies from yellow through ochre to brown. Limestone alternates with marl beneath a thin cover of rendzinas. At mid-slope, the mainly red wines of the Corton appellation grow on soils appreciably different in character.

    • Vineyards: Plots are in the sub-climate of “Le Corton” at the edge of the 2 villages of Aloxe-Corton and Ladoix-Serrigny, just below the forest.
    • Cultivation: Lutte raisonnée (“reasoned protection”)
    • Viticulture: Two green harvests during the summer; sustainably farmed
    • Vine Age: Over 50 years
    • Elevation: 350 meters (1,150 feet)
    • Exposure: East
  • Vintage Report

    • “The winter of 2018 was cold, late and long. It started a month late and continued with some snowflakes that fell in early April. Despite the vigorous February cold and the negative temperatures in March, the vines woke up quickly from their winter dormancy. I observed the first signs of budburst on April 12, which was one week later compared to 2017. This trend was reversed with the arrival of a mild spring with summer temperatures. The vegetation grew at a blazing speed; Richard and our team worked tirelessly in the vineyards to de-bud and raise the growing vines. The heat combined with the humidity caused a strong threat of disease, mildew in particular.

      The application of treatments was orchestrated with accuracy and allowed us to minimize the fungus. Luckily the North Wind helped us in our fight by drying and sanitizing the foliage. The clusters appeared and at the end of May, the flower buds opened, giving the Côte de Nuits an intoxicating fragrance. The berries grew visibly while a heat wave raged for one month of the grape harvest. Temperatures rose to 29 degrees Celsius, but the vines resisted well by drawing the water stored in the soil during winter.

      The berries were a beautiful color and the concentration of sugar in the juice increased rapidly. The 2018 vintage was hot and early; I decided to set the date of the harvest to September 1 to maintain the acidity of the grapes and a nice freshness for the future wine.

      The first bunches that arrived in our vat room were those from our plot of Mazis-Chambertin. The fine maturities allowed us to vinify with 80 percent whole grapes for a short vatting time that did not exceed 18 days. All vintages are vintner’s vintages, but I think 2018 was also a winemaker’s vintage. It was necessary to make the right choices to preserve equilibrium.

      The result after a small year is quite fascinating: mature, rich and fresh at the same time. The decision to harvest early and the choices in winemaking have borne beautiful fruit. The wines have explosive noses from small, red berries, and an impressive balance in the mouth.” Olivier Bernstein, September 9, 2019.