Wine Of The Week: Maison en Belle Lies Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru
An absolute unicorn of a wine from new guard Burgundy legend Pierre Fenals.
Recently, it was my partner’s birthday. He’s not a big celebrator, so birthdays are largely an opportunity for me to declare a date night, descend on our favorite restaurant and getting a little spendy.
Problem is, he doesn’t drink! Which is secretly great for me, as it gives me an excuse to order a bottle I’m fond of (re: no deliberating over a wine that will suit multiple people’s tastes), drink two glasses of something stellar, pop a cork in it, and take the rest home to finish while swaddled in front of a movie.
Unfortunately for my wallet, this week’s destination had a bottle of Maison en Belle Lies Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru. It’s a unicorn of a wine – deeply mineral, eloquent, with notes of iodine and ripe yellow fruit. There’s such a small quantity of whites grown here, so it’s truly special.
It’s run at the hands of Pierre Fenals, a winemaker who left the Paris fashion scene to follow his passion in Burgundy. In 2002 he purchased his first 2.5 hectares in Maranges (that’s Burgundy to you barbarians), where he now produces crystal clear, deeply expressive iterations of both red and white Burgundy. This iteration comes from Corton, the grand cru vineyard that sits on a south-facing slope.
If you’re a naysayer of natural wines, these will change your mind. Fenals farms completely biodynamically, raising cows in the vineyards and producing wines without chemical interventions. They’re sublime. $199
(Looking for something less expensive? The Santenay is excellent, and great value at under $100 a bottle — floral, herbal, and intensely mineral.. $71)
Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and seasoned spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Forbes.com, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.