With over 600 hectares, the homonymous AOC is the second largest appellation in Burgundy and usually delivers conventional red wines. For white wines, this patch of earth is even less known.
In 1997, third-generation Bruno and Caroline Lorenzon took over their family vineyards in the village of Mercurey in Côte Chalonnaise.
Bruno rents a cooper facility in Mercurey to build his own specific barrels for each vintage – a fan of fine-grained, light-toast wood, his wines are structured with very subtle but harmonious integration.
Since the early 2000s, Bruno has developed an almost-insane work ethic in the vineyards and became extremely determined to prove the world that Mercurey can produce wines that are on par with the famed villages of Vosne-Romanée and Puligny-Montrachet.
For more than 40 years the Lorenzon family have been working without pesticide and herbicide. With Côte d’Or – like soil structure of hard limestone and white marl, it produces a strong acid backbone for aromatics to develop in the berries.
The vineyards are all south-facing with small differences in altitude and depth of top soil. It has took decades for the family to acquire the best parcels within the epicenter of Mercurey.
Bruno made the decision to switch all 6.5 hectares into high density planting in 2004 and a portion of the Les Champs Martin at 20,000 feet/ha (double the norm in Côte d’Or). The vines are also trained very tall (170 cm) to maximise exposure to sunlight for photosynthesis.
White winemaking involves whole-bunch pressing for 4 hours with skin contact to extract phenolics and fine lees material. Fermentation takes place in old barrels for 6-8 weeks. Bruno is extremely particular about oak selection – all barrels’ raw material is selected in the forest by Bruno and dried on-site to produce his own barrels. He prefers very light toasting.
Red winemaking is focused on wines to be enjoyed in 4-10 years with partial stem-inclusion and thin cap punch down every 3-4 days.
Both styles spend a year in 20 – 40% new wood for élevage, followed by 5 months in stainless steel vats before bottling without filtration and finning, only a small amount of Sulphur is used at the domain.