A fun story: Why white grapes were planted in Corton-Charlemagne?
Legend says the wife of Emperor Charlemagne (the land, Corton-Charlemagne, still bears his name) demanded white grapes be planted so her husband could drink white instead of red, thereby avoiding the staining of the Emperor’s regal beard. Well, thanks to her desire of wanting a clean beard, we now have nice white Corton to drink.
Domaine Bonneau du Martray
It is the only Burgundy domaine that produces only Grand Crus, whose roots date back to ancient times. The Bonneau du Martray family, after Emperor Charlemagne and the church, was the third owner of the “Charlemagne” in a thousand years. They were owners of one of the largest domaines and one of the best sections of the hill of Corton. Since Jean-Charles took over in 1994, the sixteen vineyard parcels have been picked and vinified separately, and the viticulture has become more and more biodynamic. The wines were getting more reputable, and they were served at a private birthday dinner party in 2006 for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2016, the estate sold the majority of its shares to American businessperson Enos Stanley Kroenke, who also owns Screaming Eagle. In 2018, the legendary estate DRC leased a small parcel of the Corton-Charlemagne from Martray, which definitely made Martray’s Charlemagne even more sought-after considering the huge discount compared with DRC.
The uniqueness of the Charlemagne
The hill of Corton is unique in Burgundy. While most vineyards in the Cote d’Or face south or southeast, the hill has a multitude of exposures. Facing west is where you find the Charlemagne; it is the only grand cru with this exposure. And here is the place you will find the vines of Domaine Bonneau du Martray.