The Cornu family settled in the town of Ladoix in 1870 and established the domaine in 1875. Edmond Cornu assumed command of the estate in 1956 and in 1959 began to bottle the fruits of his labor. Up to that time all wines made at the estate had been sold to negociants. As the private clientele increased, Cornu also expanded the domaine. With the ascension of his son, Pierre, to full participation in the domaine, this dynamic family has aggressively pursued additional opportunities to acquire prime vineyard sites. Having expanded the domaine, Pierre is now joined by his cousin, Emmanuel Boireau, in supervising the vineyard and cellar work.
Currently, the estate comprises 15 hectares, 13.5 of which are planted to Pinot Noir and the rest to the classic white grapes of Burgundy (1.5 hectares to Chardonnay plus 0.5 hectare of Aligoté). The vineyards are spread across the communes of Ladoix, Chorey, Aloxe Corton and Savigny in the Cote de Beaune and a small parcel in Corgoloin in the Cote de Nuits.
The entire crop is hand-harvested. The grapes are completely destemmed. The fermentation for the reds and the Aligoté occurs in stainless steel tanks; pigeage and remontage are part of the fermentation process for the red wines, the extent to which either is done is dependent on the structure of the particular vintage. Fermentation temperatures normally range between 30 and 32 degrees centigrade. After the alcoholic fermentation the red wines are racked into small barrels to age for 15 to 20 months, again the length of elevage depends on the structure of the wine, the more sturdy and complex the wine, the longer the aging in barrel. The malolactic fermentaion is done in barrel. The wines are rarely fined and only occasionally may be filtered. The few white wines produced at this domaine are, with the exception of the Aligoté, fermented and aged in small barrel with a minimal use of new oak.
|Bourgogne Aligoté: This traditional white wine of Burgundy as translated by Cornu has the bright acidity that this variety is noted for but also is quite full-bodied and aggressively mineral, characteristics that result from the old vines that are the source for this cuvée. The vines are in Chorey and Ladoix. Approximately 600 bottles per annum are devoted to our use in the USA.|
|Chorey-les-Beaune Blanc: Three to four barrels are produced of this rare white that is barrel-fermented and barrel-aged. An entrancing wine that is mineral to its core, it is usually bottled after 12 months of aging. It is an interesting mix of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc from vines of 40+ years of age in a small ¼ hectare parcel. One barrel (300 bottles) is dedicated to the US market.|
|Ladoix Blanc: An even more rare white wine than the Chorey Blanc, the Cornu family produces less than a handful of barrels. The wine is barrel-fermented and barrel-aged and it is important to note when assessing this wine that the vineyards are just around the corner from Corton Charlemagne! Only 180 bottles make it to the States annually.|
|Bourgogne Rouge Les Barrigards: This is a lovely little red from a single vineyard situated near Chorey which captures the essence of this area. The vineyards, averaging thirty years of age, are on the eastern side of the route nationale on a clay and limestone soil with a gravel texture. After a ten-day cuvaison, the wine is racked into small barrel for an elevage of one year before bottling. The Bourgogne “Barrigards” features the high spice tones that are a classic feature of this section of the Cote de Beaune; light, slightly nervy, with an exuberance that makes this a fine companion with birds simply roasted or grilled, sausages on the flame, or a “dagwood”. We purchase, on average, 3600 bottles of this wine per vintage.|
|Chorey Les Beaune Les Bons Ores: The vines from this parcel in Chorey are planted to a gravel-infused mix of clay and limestone. The Cornu family owns a bit more than two hectares of vines which are in excess of 35 years of age. After fermentation, the Chorey Rouge is racked into barrel (no more than 10% new oak) to rest there for fifteen to eighteen months before bottling. This wine rarely carries a lot of color; then again, why should it? It’s from Chorey and its made from pinot noir; thus, we have a spice box of aromas and a bit of rusticity to its tannins, with a nugget of red cherry fruit; a stimulating wine that is as true as it gets. Another important wine from Cornu that renders particular value, we purchase on the order of 2400 bottles per annum|
|Savigny Les Beaune: A wine of charm with its silky tannins, a splash of red fruits, and a tantalizing floral bouquet, it’s known as “the cat” chez Cornu as its moves across the palate with a feline grace and has the finesse for which pinot is renowned. It receives typical Cornu treatment in the cellar: hand harvested, destemmed, racked into small barrel (perhaps 10% to 15% new oak) and bottled after one (perhaps a maximum of two) racking and eighteen months of elevage. The parcel is about ¾ of a hectare in size and the vines are 35 years of more in age. We buy two barrels (600 bottles) per vintage.|
|Ladoix Vieilles Vignes: Here, we introduce to as fine a value as we have in our Burgundy portfolio. The village of Ladoix borders on the Cote de Nuits and brings the black fruits of that region into a marriage with the red fruits of the Cote de Beaune to make a wonderfully complex and satisfying wine. The vineyards lie at the foot of the hillside of Corton. The vines are quite old, one part of the vineyard having been planted in 1926 and another part being planted in 1960. The Ladoix “Vieilles Vignes” is aged in small oak for eighteen months with about 10% of the oak being new. This wine is a major player in our Burgundy program: eight barrels (2400 bottles) are ours annually.|
|Ladoix Les Carrieres: The Les Carrieres cuvée is the “yin” to the “yang” of its neighbor, the Bois Roussot. It usually carries a touch less depth to its color, is a bit more high-toned, always intensely aromatic, with a spice-driven fruit;all in all, a wine that always makes us hungry; its grace can be deceptive as there is plenty of backbone. The vineyard sits next to the Grand Cru Corton parcel of “Le Rognet et Corton” and just adjacent to the 1er Cru “Bois Roussot”. The vineyard is laced through with a mix of gravel and stone providing excellent drainage and sun-absorbing capacity. After a racking into barrel, this wine rests for eighteen months in small oak with about 20% of that oak being new. We have the privilege of purchasing about 360 bottles per vintage.|
|Ladoix 1er Cru Le Bois Roussot: The Bois Roussot vineyard lies at the limit of the Grand Cru designated areas of Corton and Corton Charlemagne, high on the hill overlooking the village of Ladoix. The vines face east-southeast and sit on a thin clay-limestone soil infused with red marl. The Bois Roussot provides us with a firm wine with lots of black cherry fruit; more broad-shouldered than its neighbor “Carrieres” with more density as well; strongly mineral in its finish; a classic wine red Burgundy that captures the exceptional combination of black and red fruits that mark the best wines of Ladoix, the place where the Cote de Nuits merges with the Cote de Beaune. We purchase two barrels (600 bottles) annually.|
|Ladoix 1er Cru La Corvée: The “La Corvée” is perhaps our favorite wine from this domaine ; noble, proud, the best that Ladoix can produce ; sturdy, powerful, well-balanced ; a keeper that is not far from the glories of Corton. The vines are located on the northern side of the Ladoix hill with a south-southeast exposure. The vines are old, in excess of 45 years of age (as of 2012). The Cornu family owns a bit more than 1/3 of a hectare. We buy an average of 420 bottles per year (including a small number of magnums).|
|Aloxe Corton Vieilles Vignes: This Aloxe is a classic of this appellation from the rose-tint to its color to the rustic tannins in the finish. In our opinion, the joys of the great wines of Aloxe are many but it takes time to know and love these wines. We do and this wine, vinified from a parcel of very old vines, some of which were planted in 1942, others of which were planted in 1958, and the final part planted in 1971,is as fine an example as we can cite; a wine of stature and strength and rigor that will last for years. We have the pleasure of purchasing five barrels (the equivalent of 1500 bottles) per vintage.|
|Aloxe Corton 1er Cru Les Moutottes: We sometimes comment that the “Moutottes” is the exception to the rule of Aloxe. Here, we have a wine that is graceful with a generous fruit that soothes the beast that is Aloxe Corton. It is seductively luscious but with lots of backbone, a friendly, sophisticated and fine companion at the table. The vineyard sits right next to the Grand Cru Corton “Rognet”. The Cornu family owns a one-half hectare parcel. The wine is aged in small barrel for eighteen months, about one-fifth of the oak is new. We purchase a barrel (300 bottles) per vintage.|
|Aloxe Corton 1er Cru Les Valozieres: There is no doubt that the Valozieres is from Aloxe Corton; it is a classic rendition of the terroir of this appellation: a tough, structured wine built to last ; more earth than fruit ; you can feel the dirt in the tannins ; married to truffles and game, this wine will perform like the champion it is; a great wine that defines the appellation. The vineyard has a deep clay base infused with gravel. The vines sit mid-hill with a south-southeast exposure just beneath the great Corton “Les Bressandes”. The Cornu family owns about one-third hectare and the vines are of an average age of 40 years (as of 2012). As with the other Cornu wines, after fermentation in open-top vats, the wine is racked into barrel (20% new oak) where the malo-lactic fermentation occurs. The wine is bottled after 18 months of aging. We purchase one barrel every vintage and usually put up a small number of magnums in recognition of the aging capacity of this wine.|
|Corton Grand Cru Les Bressandes: This wine explains why Corton is a Grand Cru, the only red that gains that status in the Cote de Beaune: excellent color, a bouquet of black and red fruits with hints of the forest ; broad on the palate ; smooth yet solid with sweet tannins ; a stellar performer from the outset with a structure and depth that rewards many years of cellaring. The vines in the Cornu parcel (a bit more than a half-hectare) are 30+ years of age on average (as of 2012). In this instance, the cooperage is about 30% new oak during the elevage. We purchase the equivalent of 420 bottles per vintage and we always put some of that allocation in magnum.|
Broad and imposing, the hill of Corton visually dominates its immediate environs, announcing the commencement of the Côte de Beaune in dramatic fashion as one heads from north to south. Here, the rigorous unbroken east-facing procession of the Côte de Nuits yields to a circular orientation, as the vineyards of Ladoix, Aloxe-Corton, and Pernand-Vergelesses fan out 360 degrees from Corton’s densely forested cap—echoing the more variegated orientations and multiple diversionary combes of the Côte de Beaune itself.
2016 Bourgogne Blanc: Because of frost damage to this white grape parcel, Cornu combined all his surviving Chardonnay from Chorey, Ladoix, and Meursault and made 8 barrels (usually, he would have had 30 barrels of his three different whites) of Bourgogne Blanc. 2016 Savigny Rouge: not made because of frost damage. 2016 Ladoix “La Corvee”:
It has been our custom in recent years to let many noteworthy releases arrive at our NY warehouse without any fanfare. Within any given year, there are a throng of important and extremely limited wines that we are compelled to offer and allocate to our clients. We often call your attention to wines that are
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