Site: Corton and the other Corton vineyards (such as Corton Bressandes) are the only red Grand Crus of the Côte de Beaune. They are located on the hill of Corton, clearly visible from miles around and capped by low-growing oak trees. The vines are on a rather steep slope with a good south-east exposure.
History & tradition: the name comes from "curtis" (the word for an estate in Gallo-Roman times) and Othon, the Emperor who owned this vineyard. Since the wine travels well, it soon acquired great fame around the world. Bressandes (people from Bresse) probably refer to the people who owned it.
Soil: a mixture of clay and small rocks create a well-drained soil where the roots of the pinot noir grape have to dig very deep in order to find water and nutrients.
Domaine area: 0.25 ha (0.625 acre).
Average age of the vines: 37 years.
Biological cultivation since 1990; biodynamic cultivation a few years later.
Vine stocks: "sélection massale" (propagation of new vine stocks from a number of selected vines) done at the Drouhin nursery; also clones of recognized quality.
Soil maintenance: compost of manure and white wood, sometimes guano (seabird manure used as fertilizer). Soil is ploughed either by tractor or by horse to manage spreading of weeds
Treatment: only authorized products for biological cultivation are used: infusions and macerations of plant materials, sulfur and copper, powdered rock. Natural predators are not eliminated.
Plantation density: from 10,000 to 12,500 stocks/ha in order to extract all possible nuances from the terroir and limit the production of each vine stock.
Yield: we aim to keep our yields low, more in line with the previous regulation, around 20% less than allowed by the current law.
Harvesting: by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit
maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks.
maceration and fermentation temperatures under total control.
Joseph Drouhin seeks total control of the process of extraction; extraction gives colour and substance to a wine but should never be detrimental to its finesse and typical character."Pigeage" (punching down of the cap during fermentation): once a day until half of fermentation is done; one pumping over ("remontage") per day till the end of the fermentation.Pressing: separation of free run juice from pressed juice.
Sorting of the grapes: in the vineyard and at the cuverie (winery) if necessary.
Type: in barrels (20% in new oak).
Length: 14 to 18 months.
Origin of the wood: French oak forests (Tronçay in particular).
Weathering of the wood: Joseph Drouhin insists on total control of the weathering for a period of 3 years, one of the contributing elements to the elegance of the wine.
Follow-up: barrel by barrel.
Fining ("collage", to clarify the wine): light, after careful tasting.
Throughout the ageing process, decisions are taken only after careful tasting evaluation, barrel by barrel. The data obtained is then completed through technical analysis. As with every other Joseph Drouhin wine, absolute priority is given to the true expression of terroir and character of the vintage.