One of a handful of producers in the Cote d'Or who continue to use ultra-traditional winemaking techniques. Grapes are selected from vines of a minimum 15 years of age; whole bunches are fermented in open top wooden vats using only natural yeasts and no temperature control; the grapes are left on their skins for at least 20 days and the 'cap' is trodden down by the oldest method - by feet! All this extracts as much colour, tannins and fruit as possible but in relation to ripeness and quality of the 'appellation'. The wine is then put into French oak barrels where it matures for a minimum of two years with racking off two or three times a year (to gently remove natural deposits). They don't have a fancy bottling line here - usually a pipe is inserted into each barrel which is joined to four taps, and the wine flows by gravity straight from barrel into the bottles without any filtration and just a candle to check that it's clear!
Founded in 1864 by Pierre Bourée, Vallet Frères is now in the hands of the fourth generation of the family, Bernard and Jean-Christophe Vallet. The family own holdings in Gevrey-Chambertin; the entire monopole vineyard of Clos de la Justice, Premier Cru Beaune Epenottes and Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin. They are also négociants and source the best grapes from growers in other areas, with whom they have worked closely for decades. The Burgundies they produce are complex, fine and authentic examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Given the labour-intensive traditional methods used to produce this Corton Charlemagne, a ying and yang approach to accompanying dishes should be adopted i.e. simply grilled lobster, snails in herb butter, or pike dumplings in a sorrel sauce.