decade ago the winegrowers of Marsannay started the process of having part of the appellation upgraded to premier cru. It is a long process and it still remains a lot of work before we can see any results. Meanwhile, the growers of the appellation are putting the different climats to the test. In the case of Domaine Bart they now have as many as nine different Marsannay bottlings.
– Potentially between 25 and 30 per cent of the appellation is up for premier cru status, says Pierre Bart at Domaine Bart. We are trying to show which climats would be of interest and which ones should remain in the village appellation.
Despite the name Marsannay is an appellation that stretches over three communes, from Chenôve just south of Dijon, through Marsannay, down to Couchey. It is a vast appellation, a total of 532 hectares, out which the rosés represent 201 hectares.
– My guess is that there will be five or six premier crus, says Pierre Bart. Probably large ones like Champs Perdrix, Champ Salomon, Clos du Roi, Longeroies and Montagne.
Pierre Bart is the sixth generation at Domaine Bart. Since 2009 he is running the domaine and its 22 hectares of vines together with his mother and his uncle. There is a strong focus on Marsannay, coupled with a few goodies from Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny and Santenay.
– My grandmother comes from the same family as Domaine Bruno Clair, explains Pierre Bart. Part of the vines come from that side of the family, part from my grandfather’s side. The Bonnes Mares and the Chambertin Clos de Bèze mainly come from my grandmother.
– 35 years ago, when my uncle arrived at the domaine, the style of the wines changed. He increased the size of the domaine, mainly in Marsannay. He chose to improve quality, both in terms of equipment and in terms of winemaking. Since then we haven’t changed our vision when it comes to our wines.
The use of new oak is modest at Domaine Bart. None for the Bourgogne rouge and entry level Marsannays. Others take about 25 per cent, whereas the two grand crus of the domaine get 50 per cent new oak.
– The whites are very traditional, says Pierre Bart. We press and then the juice is put in tanks or barrels to ferment.
– The reds are different, he continues. Usually we destem, but depending on the vintage and the cuvée we add a bit of whole bunches. We use cool maceration, 8°C–12°C during one week. Then we just let the temperature in the tank rise to 18°C, the starting point for the fermentation. We use natural yeast and we do pumping over and pigeage. Very traditional.
– We make very fruity wines in classic style. The main words at our domaine are fruit and balance, balance between fruit, acidity and tannins. So we don’t produce big extracted wines. We try to respect the fruit.
When Pierre Bart talks about entry level Marsannay, Finottes is one of the bottlings he has in mind. It is a lieu-dit in the flat part just north of Marsannay. It has been in the family for a long time, but it was only in 2007 it became a monopole. Up until then a small part of Finottes was owned by Domaine du Vieux College, also in Marsannay.
– Eric Guyard sold his small part of Finotte to us that year, explains Pierre Bart. It’s on very sandy soil, very deep. It produces a fruity, easy-drinking wine. Some of the vines are 94 years old. Finottes and finesse are the same word. The grapes are 100 per cent de-stemmed. No new oak. One third in tank. One third in barrels which are one, two or three years old. And one third in demi-muids (large barrels that hold 600 litres) of the same age.
Not far from Finottes, just 20 metres to the North, is Longerois. The name simply means long rows. The soil contains more clay and there is a bit more of a slope. The wine is made in a similar manner; the only difference from the Finottes is that the Longerois gets 30 per cent of new oak.
– Then a bit further into the valley, just behind Finottes, we have Les Echezots. It’s a cooler terroir. Take a 100 metre diameter circle and you’ll have all our vines in Finottes, Longerois and Les Echezots inside it. They are that close. But since Les Echezots is further in it gets more cool winds from the Hautes-Côtes, which means the grapes ripen later there. Les Echezots is always the last parcel to be harvested. Sometimes as much as ten days later than the others.
– Because of the cool wind you don’t get any problems with rot in Les Echezots, so it’s very easy to harvest. The tannins are strong and it’s aged in demi-muids in order to get more freshness and fruit.
Closer to the village, on the Couchey side of Marsannay, you’ll find Les Grandes Vignes and Champ Salomon.
– Les Grandes Vignes is quite close to Clos Salomon, but it does not have the same concentration, says Pierre Bart. In terms of winemaking Les Grandes Vignes is exactly the same as Les Echezots.
Outside Marsannay Domaine Bart has vines in Santenay, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny. In the case with the two latter it is grand cru in the shape of Chambertin Clos de Bèze and Bonnes Mares.
– We have one hectare of Bonnes Mares, says Pierre Bart. We are next to Domaine de Voguë, close to the Route des Grands Crus. Since 2007 we use 50 per cent whole bunches and 50 per cent new oak. We think it gives the wine a better balance when you have the same percentage of the two.
– Clos de Bèze is treated the same way. Usually Clos de Bèze is considered to be more concentrated than Bonnes Mares, but in our case it’s the other way around. We are in the red part of Bonnes Mares. The vines are old. 40 per cent of them were planted between the wars. There is a lot of millerandage. Our vines in Clos de Bèze are younger.
© 2014 Ola Bergman