BONNES MARES

Surface Area: 15.06 hectares

The principal producers of Bonnes Mares are as follows: De Vogüé, 2.70 ha; Drouhin Laroze,1.49 ha; Georges Roumier, 1.39 ha; Bart, 1.03 ha; Robert Groffier, 0.97 ha; Fougeray de Beauclair, 0.92 ha (this will revert back to Bruno Clair in 2016); Vougeraie, 0.70 ha; Bruno Clair, 0.63 ha; Dujac, 0.59 ha; Naigeon, 0.50 ha; Peraizeau, 0.39 ha; J.F.Mugnier, 0.34 ha; Newman, 0.33 ha; Georges Lignier, 0.29 ha; Hervé Roumier, 0.29 ha; Louis Jadot, 0.27 ha; Auvenay, 0.26 ha; Bouchard Père et Fils, 0.24 ha; Joseph Drouhin, 0.23 ha; Arlaud, 0.20 ha; Hudelot-Baillet, 0.13 ha; Charlopin-Parizot, 0.12ha.

At the northern end of Chambolle-Musigny, partly over-lapping into Morey-Saint-Denis, lies Bonnes Mares, as far away as it could be, and yet remain within the same commune, from Le Musigny, which lies at the southern end. The most logical derivation of the name is that it is a corruption of Bonnes Mères, good women, a reference to the nuns of Notre Dame de Tart, a religious establishment which flourished in the middle ages, and which gave their name to the Clos which lies next door in the commune of Morey-Saint-Denis. Jasper Morris suggests two alternatives: marer is a word for cultivate. According to Jacques Lardière of Maison Jadot, Jasper also adds: Mares is an old French word for fairies. Personally I find this more than a little fanciful.

It is a largish vineyard by Burgundian standards, and possesses, as you can see, a large number of owners. The 1.52 ha which lies in Morey are owned by the Clair family, and most of this is leased until 2016 to the Fougeray de Beauclair domaine, after which the parcel will revert to Bruno Clair, making him the second largest domaine in the climat. Before the Clair-Daü estate was split in 1985 what is now owned by the Domaine Bart was also part of Clair-Daü. They were then the most important proprietors.

The vineyard lies at 270 - 300 metres above sea level and consists of two quite different types of soil. Above a diagonal line which runs from the top at the Morey end to the bottom at the southern end lies a while marl, rich in fossilized oysters: terres blanches. This makes up most of the climat. Below it the soil is red-brown colour; heavier and with more clay: terres rouges. The upper slopes, as elsewhere, contain very little earth and are largely broken up limestone rock. At the bottom the depth can be as much as 70 cms deep.

This leads to a difference in the wines. At the northern end – mainly terres rouges - the wines tend to be bigger, more vigorous, muscular, more masculine: denser and more closed-in, even a little four square.

The terres blanches produces a more civilised wine. 'More spiritual', says Christophe Roumier. Like others he will make them separately and then blend the two together. The resulting wine is greater than the sum of the parts.

In the best hands, like his, we have a wine which not only has the power and the dimension, but also the elegance and depth of great Burgundy. Silk and grace: no. That is Musigny. But volume, velvet and vigour. Bonnes Mares can be very fine indeed.

The following tasting of Bonnes Mares took place in Guilford CT at the end of March 2012.

2002, Domaine Drouhin Now-2022 plus

Medium-full colour. Barely mature. Fragrant nose. Good grip. This does not have the weight of Jadot. But balanced and elegant. Medium to medium-full body. Just about ready. Ripe and generous, mellow and mineral. At first it seemed to lack a bit of energy, but it was better on evolution. Fine plus.

2002, Domaine Groffier 2015-2030

Medium-full colour. Barely mature. A rather bitter/herbal aspect dominated this wine and detracted from the quality. A lack of generosity about the fruit. Better on the palate. Fullish body. Round, rich and ripe. Good vigour. The tannins are not very sophisticated though, so the wine does not have the class for great. But long and energetic. Very good indeed.

2002, Domaine Jadot 2016-2030 plus

Medium-full colour. Barely mature. Ripe, concentrated, quite mellow nose. Good rich fruit. Fullish body. Still some tannin. Lovely depth and style. Splendid energy. This is very fine.

2002, Domaine Georges Roumier 2016-2030 plus

Medium-full colour. Barely mature. Brilliant nose. Clean and pure. Concentrated and very, very complete and classy. Quite structured. Some tannin. Excellent fruit. This is still youthful but very profound, complex and distinguished. Still needs time. Excellent.

2002, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé 2016-2030

Fullish colour. Still youthful. Rich, full nose with a touch of oak and chocolate. A little four-square after the Roumier. But lots of energy and a fine, long finish. Better and better in the glass. Very fine.

2001, Domaine Drouhin Now-2020

Medium colour. Now mature. Soft, fragrant, ripe, seductive nose. Lovely fruit in a gentle ambience. Medium body. Good depth. Good intensity. High class. Soft but plenty of wine here and a fine future. Very fine for a 2001.

2001, Domaine Dujac Now-2018

Fullish but mature colour. Ripe, exotic nose. Just a hint of the stems, but more just 'different' from the rest. Medium to medium-full weight. A little astringency hovers in the back. Ripe and balanced but a little disjointed. More and more classic Dujac as it developed. Very good indeed but not fine.

2001, Domaine Groffier Now-2020 plus

Ripe, vigorous, full colour. Rich, full plump nose. Good depth. Ample, juicy fruit. Fresh and now velvety. A full, meaty 2001, but not lacking grace. And rather more class than the 2002. Plenty of lie ahead of it. Fine plus.

2001, Domaine Georges Roumier Now-2020 plus

Very full colour. Really suspiciously dense. A big, perhaps too big, 2001. Lots of fruit, but also quite a lot of unabsorbed tannin. Plenty of energy. But I fear it will never soften up satisfactorily. So fine but not great.

2001, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2020 plus

Full, barely mature colour. Impressive nose. Full and ample but not rigid and four-square. Just rich and succulent. Ripe and seductive and still quite youthful. Lovely fruit. Impressive quality.

2001, Domaine de la Vougeraie Now-2020 plus

Ripe, fullish vigorous colour. Not a lot on the nose at first, but balanced, ripe and very elegant. Medium-full body. Subtle, generous, excellent grip and class. This is very lovely. A point but will last very well. Lots of energy at the end. Very fine.

2000, Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Now-2016

Medium to medium-full, mature colour. The nose is of a fully evolved wine. Soft, ripe, fragrant and classy. Medium-full body. Ripe, gentle and balanced. Lots of finesse. But a very fine example of a minor vintage at best.

2000, Domaine Georges Roumier Now-2017 plus

Good fullish, vigorous colour. Lovely fruit on the nose. This has depth, vigour and class. Medium-full weight. Ample, fresh, harmonious and very stylish. An excellent example of the vintage which will still keep.

2000, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2015

Full colour. Still quite dense. Evolved oaky, spicy, slightly cooked fruit nose. The wine lacks a bit of sophistication. Ripe but too suave. Fresh but a bit artificial.

1999, Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils 2015-2030 plus

Medium-full colour. Just about mature. Fresh, classy, medium-full weight on the nose. Fragrant and harmonious. Medium-full body. Just a touch of tannin still to resolve. Fresh, ripe, elegant and complex. This is a very lovely wine. Very fine.

1999, Domaine Drouhin Now-2025 plus

Medium-full colour. Just about mature. Quite evolved on the nose. Ripe. Perhaps it lacks a bit of the usual Drouhin sophistication. But an attractive, easy to enjoy, medium to medium-full bodied wine with a lovely finish. Still very fresh. Fine plus.

1999, Domaine Dujac Now-2025 plus

Medium to medium-full colour. Just about mature. Delicious, soft, fresh, sweet, ripe Dujac nose. More Dujac than Bonnes Mares. Medium to medium-full body. Very ripe, clean and stylish. Long, complex, fresh, full of charm. Fine plus.

1999, Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Now-2020

Medium-full colour. Rich, meaty nose. Good ripe fruit and plenty of weight. But not the greatest of finesse. Medium to medium-full body. Ripe and balanced. Ready. Very good indeed.

1999, Domaine Groffier 2015-2025 plus

Medium-full colour. Still youthful. Ample, rich, flowery-fresh nose. Cool and quite concentrated. Good dimension. Full body. Just a bit of tannin to resolve. Very good grip, and plenty of fruit and energy. Less classy as it evolved, but fine nevertheless.

1999, Domaine Jadot 2018-2040

Full, barely mature colour. Splendidly rich, full nose. Very profound. Very concentrated. Still closed in. This has very lovely, multi-dimensional fruit. Lots of depth and real finesse. Excellent.

1999, Domaine Georges Roumier 2016-2040

Full, backward colour. Fine full, rich, concentrated nose. Lots and lots of depth. Still very youthful. Still some tannin to resolve. Splendid energy and really aristocratic fruit. Marvelous finish. Brilliant.

1996, Domaine d'Auveney Now-2030 plus

Fullish colour. Very lovely fresh nose. The fruit is very pure. Ripe. Vigorous. Medium-full body. Creamy rich and very composed. Very fine indeed.

1996, Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Now-2025

Medium-full colour. Soft, ripe, round, rich and harmonious on the nose. No undue acidity. Medium body. Ripe, fresh, ready for drinking. Not a blockbuster but intense, long and classy. Fine plus.

1996, Domaine Drouhin Now-2025

Fullish colour. Just a touch of brown. The nose is ripe and rich. Fullish body. Gently oaky. Profound and classy. Just about à point. Good grip. Ample and generous. Fine plus.

1996, Domaine Jadot 2015-2030

Full colour. Rich, ripe, backward and concentrated. Meaty, but in the best sense. Lots of vigour and depth. Splendid ripe concentrated fruit. Lots of wine, lots of class and excellently balanced. Will still improve. Very fine indeed.

1996, Domaine Georges Roumier Now-2030

Fine, full, vigorous colour. Lovely pure, minerally, fresh fruit. Medium-full body. Very good grip. Lots of energy. Great class. This is ready but has a slendid future. Very fine indeed.

1995, Domaine Bertheau 2015-2030

Medium-full colour. Attractive plump nose. Lovely fruit. Very well balanced. Medium-full body. A lovely harmonious wine. Long, complex and vigorous. Very fine.

1995, Domaine Drouhin Now-2025 plus

Medium-full colour. Fully mature. Ripe, soft, accessible nose. Lovely fruit. No great structure. Medium-full body. Balanced. Fragrant. Ripe and intense. Very good class. Long on the palate. Fine plus.

1995, Domaine Groffier Now-2020

Medium-full colour. Still youthful. Odd aspects on the nose, making it not entirely clean. Ample and meaty. Fullish. A bit astringent and lumpy. Very good grip, but not much elegance.

1995, Domaine Jadot 2015-2030

Full colour. Closed nose. Still a bit adolescent. Rich, ripe and meaty. Just needs time. Full body. Still some tannin. Rich, pure, harmonious and profound. Very fine.

1995, Domaine Georges Roumier 2015-2040

Very full immature colour. Splendid concentrated closed nose. Crammed with fruit. Yet not a bit too tannic. Marvelous dimension. Excellent grip. Brilliant.

1994, Domaine Dujac Drink soon

Light to medium colour. A lot of reduction on the nose. Realy unpleasantly shitty. Light to medium body. Cleaned up a bit on aeration but not enough for me.

1993, Domaine Drouhin Now-2020

Fullish, mature colour. Ripe, fresh and vigorous on the nose. Very good complex fruit. Medium-full body. Ripe and rich and mellow and seductive. Complex and gentle, but long on the palate. Fine plus.

1993, Domaine Dujac Now-2018

Medium-full mature colour. Good fresh, balanced, ripe, Dujac nose. Stylish and complex. Medium to medium-full body. Plenty of vigour and intensity if no enormous weight. Yet a long finish. Fine.

1993, Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Now-2020 plus

Very good colour. Full and still youthful. Full, rich, ample nose. Splendidly ripe. Fullish on the palate. Very good grip and good energy. Very classy. Long. Very fine.

1993, Domaine Georges Roumier Now-2025 plus

Very good colour. Full and just about mature. Lovely fresh, high quality fruit on the nose. Profound and classy. Full body. Intense and complex. Lovely long finish. This is very fine indeed.

1993, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2030

Very full, youthful colour. Fine, lush, round but quite substantial, ripe nose. Lovely fruit and very classy. Nothing too rigid here. Fullish body. Rich. Youthful. Very fine.

1991, Domaine Jadot Now-2020 plus

Very full colour. Barely mature. Rich, meaty nose. A touch of sweetness detracts from the class. This is not as pure as the Roumier. Fullish. Quite structured. There is a lot of wine here. And on the palate it is classy, profound and intense. Very good energy at the end. Very fine.

1991, Domaine Georges Roumier Now-2020 plus

Full colour. Barely mature. Rich, ripe, cool, civilised nose. Lots of depth and class. This is splendidly concentrated, balanced and distinguished. Full body. Good tannins. Very good grip. Vigorous and profound. Very fine plus.

1990, Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Now-2018

Full, immature colour. Fullish, voluptuous, rich nose. Some class but not as much as there should be. On the palate the wine is rich and ripe but rather lumpy and lacking grip. So rather flabby and sweet at the end. Very good at best.

1990, Domaine Jadot Now-2030

Full, barely mature colour. Splendid depth and concentration on the nose. Very full body, but nothing a bit rigid. Still very youthful. Fresh, complex, profound and very lovely, especially at the end. Very fine indeed.

1990, Domaine Georges Roumier Now-2030

Full colour. Just about mature. Fragrant nose. Full body. Ripe, balanced and classy. Marvelous depth and finesse. Even more intensity than the Jadot, but a litle more accessible. Excellent.

1988, Domaine Drouhin Now-2020

Medium-full, mature colour. Elegant, composed ripe fruit on the nose. Medium to medium-full body. Balanced, fragrant and classy. Not a bit lean. Medium-full body. Lovely long finish. Very fine plus.

1988, Domaine Dujac Now-2018

Medium, mature colour. Typically Dujac on the nose. Soft, ripe and fresh, and with nothing lean here. Almost sweet, in contrast. Classy and harmonious, but lacks a bit of dimension. Only very good plus.

1985, Domaine Georges Lignier Now-2020

Medium-full colour. Fully mature. Spice and oak on the nose. Quite classy. Medium to medium-full body. Ripe and sweet on the palate with good grip. Finishes well. Fine

1985, Domaine Moine-Hudelot Drink soon

Rather a weak, mature colour. A little insubstantial on both the nose and the palate. But reasonably fresh and stylish. Not enough backbone though. Not to coarse. Indeed a pleasant wine.

1985, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2020

Medium-full colour. Good vigour, but fully mature. Ripe, round, succulent nose. Lovely fruit and no undue size. Balanced, plump, quite concentrated and most attractive. Long and classy. Fine plus.

1983, Domaine Clair-Daü Drink soon

Medium colour. Fully mature. Crisp nose. Good freshness. Quite pure. On the palate medium body. Clean fruit but a little thin and feeble. Yet there is decent depth and intensity and it is quite long at the end. Very good indeed.

1983, Domaine Georges Roumier Drink soon

Medium-full, mature colour. Somewhat rigid on the nose. But plenty of fruit here, if a bit lumpy. Medium-full body. Not the greatest class and composure. Better intensity and grip than the Vogüé, but very good at best.

1983, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2017

Medium-full colour. Fully mature. Slightly toffee-sweet nose. Fullish. It is a little rigid and it lacks a little class. The fruit is a bit artificial and there is astringency at the end. Good plus at best.

1972, Domaine Clair-Daü Now-2020

Good fullish, mature colour. Ample, ripe, rich nose. This has depth and class and lovely fruit. Good size, without being a blockbuster. Balanced, complex and stylish. A lovely 1972. Very fine.

1972, Domaine Dujac Now-2020 plus

Medium to medium-full mature colour. Very fresh on the nose. Plump, ripe, stylish and balanced. Ample and fresh and less evidence of the stems than in most of the rest of the Dujacs. Medium-full body. Very good energy. Very lovely. Fine plus.

1972, Domaine Groffier Drink soon

Good colour. Rather lumpy and monolithic on the nose. Obviously heavily chaptalised. Medium-full body. Somewhat solid and unbalanced. Good at best.

1972, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2020

Medium-full, mature colour. Just a little four-square on the nose. Ample and ripe and stylish on the palate. Medium-full body. Good depth and complexity. Stylish too. Long. Fine.

1969, Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Now-2020

Slightly corked, but not so much so that one could not judge the wine. Medium-to medium-full colour. Rich, ripe and ample. Intense and with good grip. Fullish body. Still plenty of life. Fine plus.

1966, Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Now-2020

Medium colour. Fully evolved. Soft, fragrant nose. Medium-full body. Rich, mellow, classy and vigorous. Plenty of depth and grip. Still plenty of life. Fine plus.

1964, Domaine Georges Roumier, bottled in Beaune by Georges Linton Now-2020 plus

Fullish, vigorous colour. Mature, rich, very concentrated nose. Very lovely fruit. Lots of intensity and vigour. Long. Lots of life ahead of it. Very fine.

1959, Domaine Clair-Daü Now-2020 plus

Very full colour. Splendidly rich, vigorous, sweet, concentraated nose. Full bodied. Intense and classy. Still very youthful. Excellent.

1957, Maison Bouchard Ainé Now-2018

Medium colour. Fully evolved. Fragrant and classy but now a little suggestion of age on the nose. Medium-full body. Ripe and quite vigorous. Fine.

1955, Domaine Bertheau, bottled in England by Avery's Now-2018

Medium-full, mature colour. Open, accessible, plump and evolved, yet still has good energy. Sweet and full of charm, if not quite as classy as it could have been. Fine nevertheless.

1952, Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils, Tasteviné Drink up

Quite ullaged. Medium colour. Fully evolved. Not much on the nose. The wine is getting towards its end, but is still balanced, complex and classy. Fine. Was even better in its prime.

1949, Maison Bouchard Ainé Drink up

Lovely full vigorous colour. Evolved, funky nose. A touch of both oxidation and volatile acidity. Medium body. A little astringent at the end now, but sweet and ripe. Was a fine bottle but now on the downslope.

1919, Maison Jules Belin Drink soon

Pure and rarified. Sweet and fragrant. It has lightened up, naturally, but is ample and fresh and lush and delicious. This was the better of two bottles, apparently.