2013 Antonin Guyon Corton Clos du Roy



Yes, we do a lot of Burgundy advertisements that proclaim, “this $20 dollar bottle comes from a vineyard near a vineyard that’s hundreds of dollars a bottle. Buy it!”

This is not one of those advertisements.

This is the hundreds-of-dollars-abottle wine, a Burgundy Grand Cru. This is the real deal by everyone’s standards – the French government, the Burgundy consortium, the larger wine press and even my humble palate. And it’s Grand Cru at a ridiculously steep discount. And this is not a schlocky off-the-beaten-path Grand Cru of Burgundy or some unknown producer. This is Antonin Guyon’s Corton Clos du Roy.

Standing alone as the great last northern bastion of the Cote du Beaune, the hill of Corton is the only red wine Grand Cru of the Cote de Beaune. This magnificent hill produces some of the greatest wines in Burgundy, but is also truly unique. Nothing else in the rest of the world tastes like Corton.

Vineyards are recorded as being planted on the hill of Corton as early as 696, although the first plantings were probably much earlier –  linguistic evidence suggests that the name Corton is a corruption of Curtis d’Orthon, a reference to the Roman Emperor Otho, who ruled in the 60s, A.D. But it was Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (pictured above) who gave the hill of Corton its legendary status. Being a lover of wine, and noting that snow melted from this hill first, he suggested to the local monks that they plant his beloved (and much-consumed) Pinot Noir on these slopes. They agreed, and thousands of years of Grand Cru, Holy-ordained, red wine has flowed from this hill ever since. And as the French government describes these wines when grading them for grand Cru satus: Corton’s wines must be “solid and opulent, Corton is iconic – highly complex, impressively mouth-filling in a way that is at once sensual and structured.” And this wine is no exception:

An intense color of crimson velvet, a generous aromatic expression of fruit, blueberry, black cherries, kirsch and flowers – violets – is the first note from the nose. Once tasted the palate adds a dimension of sous bois, a hint of savory meats, leather, pepper and savory spice. The palate is  powerful and muscular (in the dimension of Grand Cru Red Burgundy) yet has softened – this wine is now five years in bottle, and its firm and frank tannins are starting to merge into the muscularity which defined its youth, resulting in a combination of power coated with a generous softness – a well-built, sharp-dressed man who feels no need to impress.

I have loved the 2013 vintage since its release for its generous and up-front fruit so by all means, drink this now during the holiday season. Yet I have also had several bottles that reached their peak with 10 hours of air, suggesting to me that this wine will make old bones in your cellar, is one to lay down and treasure for the majority of a child, or a silver anniversary, or maybe just the completion of a really good beef bourguignon on Saturday, December 11, 2038.

In short, what is in this bottle matches exactly what is on the label – Grand Cru nobility. My true hope is that I’ve been able to source this at a low enough price that everyone in the world can enjoy Grand Cru Burgundy this season. It’s not the cheapest wine we’re ever gonna sell here at Waterford. But it is one of our best deals. Ever.

Happy holidays! Don’t miss this one.

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