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Bonnes-Mares


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The only shared Grand Cru in the Côte de Nuits, Bonnes-Mares is divided between Chambolle-Musigny, which has the lion's share of the vineyard, and Morey-St-Denis, which lays claim to a smaller share. Bonnes-Mares itself makes wine of a surprisingly distinct character, with both tannic expressions of raw power and balanced, subtle masterpieces being made from within the vineyard's 40.1 acres. The tannic style is more common, and of Bonnes-Mares' best wines, the majority follow that style. About 6,000 total cases of wine are made each year.

Bonnes-Mares' name is thought to derive from the verb marer, loosely translated to English as to cultivate, and therefore this makes Bonnes-Mares an area for "good cultivation." This seems true, as the Grand Cru is one of the most quantitatively oriented of its kind. Fortunately, Bonnes-Mares has been able to combine its quantitative success with qualitative prowess as well.

History

The Grand Cru of Bonnes-Mares was "minted" in 1936, making it one of Burgundy's original AOCs. At this point several rules were made, like the outlawing of white wine. This rule also applied to every other Côte de Nuits Grand Cru except Musigny. Since then, the Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru has maintained its reputation as one of the best, if not one of the most flashy, Grands Crus in the Côte de Nuits. Despite the fact that there are some boutique producers here, there are also a number of producers that don't charge inflated prices, and as a result Bonnes-Mares has suffered a little less from the current perception that Burgundy wine is overpriced.

Climate and Viticulture

Due to the appellation's massive size, the soil types of Bonnes-Mares tend to vary greatly in style. They can lean toward the light and somewhat thin, as in Chambolle-Musigny, and these soil types usually make for refined, elegant wine. Then they can be rich and deep, with concentrated banks of limestone and tougher rock, which makes a wine in the Morey-St-Denis style.

Although Chambolle-Musigny has the greater part of the vineyard, the soils of Bonnes-Mares tend to be more in line with Morey-St-Denis' rich, deep banks of limestone, and more often than not the wine will take on a similarly tannic, deep character. The vineyards are not really sloped, so they don't have that exceptional variance of fruit that some sloped Grands Crus like Corton can take on, but more than make up for it with a variety of powerful flavors that become more intriguing over time.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

Bonnes-Mares is a Grand Cru, and as a result there are few poor wines made in these vineyards. Certainly, some wines may be overpriced, but almost all of them will be of Grand Cru quality, despite the size of the Bonnes-Mares vineyard. Nevertheless, we would like to summarize the absolute best producers in Bonnes-Mares, all of whom make wine of a world-class quality showing exceptional character and at the same time solid definition of terroir.

There are 10 producers that meet these criteria in Bonnes-Mares.

Subregions

Since this is a Grand Cru vineyard, "Bonnes-Mares" followed by some Grand Cru designation will be on the label. Some producers may put a lieu-dit afterwards, although I have never seen this practiced, but these are largely meaningless.