Michele and I visited Beaune two years ago and had such a wonderful time that we decided to return. We wanted to visit some wineries but since it was harvest time it was difficult to get appointments. We were traveling with a friend who suggested we visit Domaine Michel Mallard et Fils because he really likes their wines. Somehow he was able to arrange an appointment.
The winery is a short taxi ride from the town of Beaune.
We were welcomed at the winery by Maryse and Patrick Mallard and their son Michel, now the fifth generation of this father to son winery.
The winery is located in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny a small village between the Côte de Beaune and Cote de Nuits. The domaine works 11 hectares of vineyards on and around the hill of Corton.
Charles and Michel -Photo credit E. DeSalvo
Michel Mallard took us to the cellars to taste the wines.
What followed was a master class on his wines and the wines of Burgundy in general.
As many of the new and enlightened generation of Burgundy vignerons, Michel believes that great wine begins in the vineyard where he works to conserve and improve the life of the soil by using grass coverage, organic composts and controlled treatments only when absolutely necessary. In order to get the right balance between sweetness and acidity, they limit the amount of grapes produced by each vine. Plants that start to grow wild are thinned, tidied, aligned and cropped to allow more air and light through their foliage. The grapes with the optimal balance and maturity are hand harvested and sorted.
At the winery the white grapes are treaded and gently pressed in a pneumatic press. Crushing is avoided and they prefer to obtain free run juice at low pressure which is then clarified by the force of gravity alone. Some of the juice is drawn off into stainless steel vats, and the rest is placed in French oak barrels. Fermentation begins by the activation of the indigenous yeast. Beginning in 2016 Michel began vinifying with no added sulfur.
The White Wines we tasted…
Ladoix Blanc 2017 made from 100% Chardonnay. The vines grow at the bottom of the hill on the climes (vineyards) Madones and La Vigne Adaim, with a southeastern exposure. The vines are 10 years old. The soil is very heavy with a clayey texture from the weathering of the geological formation of Bresse maristone deposits. Michel said the high clay content and its position at the foot of the slope allow the soil to receive a good supply of water.
The barrels are made using wood from the Allier and Vosges forests. The wine is aged 12 months in 30% new wood casks (228 Burgundian barrels). The wine has aromas and flavors of white fruit with hints of pear and lemon and a touch of spice.
Landoix 1er Cru Les Gréchons 2016 made from 100% Chardonnay from vines between 40 and 50 years old.
This climat is located in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny. The term Gréchons comes from the word Grève, from the Latin grava meaning sand or gravel. The soil is composed of friable rock, fine scree, sand and gravel and is a great terroir for cultivating vines.
The wine is aged for 15 months in 50% new wood casks.
This wine has hints of peach, pear, citrus fruits and a touch of hazelnuts.
The Red Wines we tasted…
Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru La Toppe Au Vert 2017 made from 100% Pinot Noir from vines between 40 and 50 years old. Located in Ladoix-Serrigny, La Toppe au Vert extends over Corton’s northeastern slopes (with southeastern exposure) and sits just below Grand Cru vineyards on the Corton hill. The term Toppe or Teppe is a pre –Latin origin and refers to a land on a hillside that enjoys good exposure: a land left fallow waiting the planting of the vines. Vert, originally Vers, means steep terrain in the Burundian dialect.
The soil is heavy with clay and moderate stone content. The soil composition comes from the weathering of thin deposits from the formation of Combianchien limestone.
Michel said this type of soil causes the vine’s network of roots to spread out horizontally near the top of the surface.
At harvest unhealthy grapes are removed, are destemmed and whole clusters are stacked in stainless steel vats or wooden casks.
Michel said they do not like to interfere too much in the wine cellar and prefer nature to take its course and produce its own vintage. After about a week of maceration, the fermentation process begins. At the beginning they do punching down of the cap, to gently extract the liquids, and at the end of fermentation, pumping over to adjust the tannic structure of the wine. The wine is then drawn off and some of the pressed grapes are added to the juice. Once assembled, the cuvee is placed in French oak barrels. The wine is aged for 15 months in 60% new oak casks (228 Burgundian). This is a wine meant to be aged for many years with a floral bouquet, hints of red fruit, cherries,clove and spice. It represents perhaps the best value in the Mallard Cellar as it is preciously close in quality to his Grand Cru wines at a fraction of the price.
Corton Grand Cru “Les Renardes” 2013 made from 100% Pinot Noir from vines between 50 and 55 years old. At the heart of the hillside, the parcel Les Renardes flourishes on the southeastern flank of the commune of Aloxe-Corton. Renardes means vixens, indicating the presence of numerous dens of foxes living in the area, or it just may be the name of the original climat’s owner.
Shallow soil, with clay and moderate stone content, from the weathering of colitic and bioclastic limestone (skeleton remains of living organisms) from the formation of limestone deposits in Ladoix. These limestone deposits split into slabs a few centimeters thick, allowing the roots to penetrate the soil more deeply. The wine is aged for 16 to 18 months in 70% new wood casks, 228L. This is a wine with hints of blueberry, red currants, a touch of black pepper, licorice and subtle meat and game notes.
Michel asked if we would like to taste anything else. I asked him if he had the 2007 vintage of this wine. 2007 is a vintage for Red Burgundy that is drinking particularly well right now. Michel obliged and opened a bottle. It was fantastic and has all the qualities of great Burgundy. Michel was kind enough to give us the open bottle to take back to the hotel with us. We drank it a few days later and it was still fantastic.
Michel Mallard produces: Côte de Nuits-Villages, Chorey-les-Beaune, Savigny-les-Beaune, Ladoix, Aloxe-Corton, Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.
In the United States Michel’s wines can be difficult to find. My friend who had introduced me to these wines told me that Amanti Vino in New Jersey carries much of the Mallard range https://www.amantivino.com/
Since these wines sell quickly, if you do not see them on the website, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that you want to be alerted the next time they do an offering of Michel Mallard’s wine.