Bonneau du Martray   Corton Charlemagne

1996 Corton-Charlemagne

By Bonneau du Martray

1996 Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray, Burgundy, France

In the lexicon of Burgundian whites, the 1996 Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray stands as a stunning testament to a season of distinction. One need not wax lyrical to convey the magnificence that emanates from this particular cuvée; a vintage which speaks voluminously through its pristine balance and architectural precision.


A Study in Climatic Alchemy

The growing season of 1996 in Burgundy was one that threw an array of challenges, culminating in wines that demand a critic's keenest perception. A cool, wet spring gave way to blooming warmth in the subsequent months before September brought a rainfall that chastened vignerons. But it is precisely this meteorological medley that has sculpted a 1996 Corton-Charlemagne bearing an acid structure as resolute and finely chiselled as the columns of an ancient temple.


The Virtues of Patience and Pedigree

In their infancy, the wines professed a reticent demeanour; yet with time, the 1996 Corton-Charlemagne from Bonneau du Martray blossoms into its full regal bearing. A palette of flint and citrus extends an initial greeting before unwinding into layers of ripe stone fruit and endearing nuttiness—a hallmark of wine investment-worthiness.

Today, it unfurls with grace on the palate, offering a sumptuous texture juxtaposed against an enduring backbone of acidity. The oak, once prominently youthful, has since assimilated into an ethereal whisper, permitting the terroir-driven aspects of myriad minerals and estate pedigree to converse unabated.

In summary, with age, this exemplar from Bonneau du Martray affords investors the dual joys of complexity and rarity. Let there be no equivocation; this is an eloquent narrative in viticultural triumph and one which secures its chapter in the annals of wine connoisseurship whilst being a shrewd addition to any discerning portfolio. The 1996 Corton-Charlemagne, archaic yet evergreen, remains one of Burgundy’s most compelling symphonies.

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Scores and tasting notes


De la Moriniere permitted me to re-visit the 1996 Corton-Charlemagne (rated 92-94 in issue #116). It is a fabulous wine that possesses mouth-watering aromas of almond and hazelnut creams. On the palate, this hugely ripe offering exhibits loads of minerals, nuts, honeyed lemons, butterscotch, and pears. It is medium-to-full-bodied, extremely rich (yet fresh and lively), as well as awesome length. I was surprised to find it so accessible at such an early stage. Projected maturity: now-2008. Importer: Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines Company, New York, NY; tel (212) 572-7725.

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 20 June 1999

Vintage performance