1971 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton Grand Cru


Continuing my quest to taste every wine from my birth-year, I took a bottle of 1971 Corton Grand Cru from Domaine Bonneau du Martray to a La Paulée back in the days when people could crowd into an enclosed space without masks, share bottles and sing meaningless songs at the top of their voices. It is well known to be a fecund vintage for red Burgundy, though I was somewhat tentative about this bottle since I have little experience with their wines from this era. “The red wine has been a disappointment for far too long,” opined Clive Coates MW in his indispensable Côte d’Or tome, suggesting that the vines were too young and that unsuitable clonal material had a tendency to suffer rot due to the parcel location at the bottom of the slope where a wall could inhibit air circulation. Well, as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. 

The wine shows moderate bricking and is clear and healthy in colour. The nose gently unfurls with enticing vestiges of red berry fruit commingling with tea leaves, damp moss and forest floor scents. It almost “purrs” with intensity. The palate is beautifully balanced and whilst not loaded with fruit, there is certainly presence and weight after almost half a century. Harmonious and elegant with just a touch of piquancy on the finish, this delightful Corton refuses to lie in the shadow of its more famous white sibling in Corton-Charlemagne. Provenance probably played a part in its impressive showing, having come from a fine cool cellar, but this bottle proves (once again) that those 1971s just don’t let you down. 93/Drink 2021-2030.