Grand Cru 2015 Powerhouse

Year after year, Faiveley’s Clos des Cortons is one of the Côte d’Or’s most powerfully structured, long-lived red Burgundies. Yet, certain vintages seem to have been expressly designed for making the most from this singularly great terroir.
And it’s hard to imagine a growing season better suited to Clos des Corton’s character than 2015, a year that is living up to its advanced billing as one of the all-time greats. As Steve Tanzer wrote in his initial profile on the vintage, “you are so going to want them.”
And Burghound’s Allen Meadows adds that “in the Côte de Beaune 2015 is the best vintage since 1999,” a legendary year of concentrated fruit in which “the Côte de Beaune outperformed the Côte de Nuits.” And, of course, the Côte de Beaune’s greatest red terroir—and only red Grand Cru—is Corton.
The stage was set then for a monumental Clos des Cortons, and Faiveley delivered. It offers compelling evidence that young Erwan Faiveley is making good on his promise to make Clos des Cortons not only his family’s most iconic wine, but one of the great icons of Burgundy.
Towering Terroir
Clos des Cortons has been exclusively owned by Faiveley since 1873, and six generations of Faiveleys have devoted themselves to producing the greatest red wine of the Côte de Beaune. It hasn’t been hard for them: this south-east-facing plot of clay and white marl over a pure limestone base, located at the summit of the Hill of Corton, effortlessly expresses a depth and profound earthiness that resonates vibrantly with the Faiveley style.
But Erwan Faiveley—who’s overseen the winemaking at Faiveley since 2007—isn’t content with just making a great Clos des Cortons. As this is the one vineyard most closely identified with his family, he wants it to even outshine the family’s fabulous Clos de Bèze and Musigny. And with half-century-old vines, and unique soils, all it needs is someone with the will to produce something miraculous.
According to Tanzer’s recently published vertical tasting report on Clos des Cortons from 1986 through 2015, this is exactly what it is happening. As Tanzer has written, “numerous improvements made by the new regime at Faiveley over the last 12 to 15 years have domesticated the wine’s tannic ferocity and brought its fruit and finesse to the fore.”
These include fanatical attention to picking Clos des Cortons at perfect ripeness, gentler pressing, less extractive fermentation in open oak vats and movement of the wine exclusively by gravity. The result is a wine that, while in Tanzer’s words is still “a big boy,” has the richness of fruit and texture to perfectly balance its powerful tannic structure.
Between these refinements and its historic vintage, the 2015’s 96 rating is the highest in Tanzer’s report, a remarkable showing for such a young Clos des Corton. Yet, there is every indication that it will only become more profound with age, eventually flirting with perfection.

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