By now, I’m sure you’ve snatched up one of our offerings from the inimitable Marius Delarche, who has become our go-to grower in Pernand-Vergelesses. Today’s wine, an exuberant and densely fruited 2015 from an old-vine site called “Les Boutières,” is a stunner. I hesitate to call it a “baby Corton” because it’s much more serious than that. It’s full of energy, finesse, depth, and has a long life ahead of it. Considering the price, it is easily one of the best values ‘15’ has to offer. If you’re in need of an affordable Burgundy that can easily disguise itself as something exponentially more expensive, stock up on this one—or at the very least buy a handful and watch this flower blossom over the next decade.
Domaine Marius Delarche was originally established in the mid-1900s and, since then, the torch has been passed three times, from father to son, in classic Burgundian fashion. For the past decade, Etienne Delarche has been at the helm and his winemaking has turned many heads, as he has been able to retain the original charm and artisanal style that his forefathers laid down. Although the family makes a wide range of wines, their “Les Boutières” is by far the most impressive when considering price-to-quality ratio. The vineyard is yet another quirk of Burgundy’s hierarchy, classified as ‘village-level’ despite bordering the Premier Crus “Vergelesses” (arguably the most important site in the appellation) and “Les Fichots.” And, since it is located in the southernmost part of Pernand-Vergelesses on a gentle southeast-facing hillside, it benefitted greatly from the highly regarded (and warm) 2015 vintage—a year that has been labeled as a hybrid between the ripeness of 2005 and the structure of 2010. Simply put, it’s a vintage to be remembered, producing wines of concentration and ‘early’ drinkability that will nevertheless age effortlessly.
The soils of “Les Boutières” are rich in clay-limestone with traces of flint. This vielles vignes (old vines) bottling is hand-harvested from vines no less than 70 years old and, despite not being certified, the family makes every effort to farm organically. The grapes are 100% destemmed and fermentation is initiated by indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks with a once-daily punch-down (the re-introduction of skins to juice by ‘punching-down’ the ‘cap’ of skins that forms atop a vat of fermenting wine). The wine is then transferred into oak barrels (just 10% of which are new) for 12 months. It is then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
In the glass, the concentration of this wine is immediately apparent. The core is nearly opaque, showing off a deep and brooding crimson red moving out to slight ruby-pink and purple tones on the rim. Rich fruit hits you on the first wave with highly concentrated red currant, black cherry, black strawberry and a hint of cranberry. The nose quickly moves into secondary aromas of dried orange peel, black tea, forest floor, dried mushrooms, crushed rocks, and an assortment of wildflowers. The palate well-concentrated, with flavors similar to the nose. In terms of Burgundy, this wine is nearing full-bodied. It is approachable now but it also has incredible density and structure, leading me to believe this wine will be long-lived. While it is delicious to drink now, its true beauty will be revealed in another 3-5 years, while peaking around its 10th-15th birthdays. In its youth, a hearty beef bourguignon is the way to go, but if you’re patient enough to consume it during its peak, reach for something slightly more delicate, like duck breast with a simple reduction sauce. Bon Appétit!