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Domaine Etienne Delarche, Grand Cru Corton-CharlemagneCôte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)

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Domaine Etienne Delarche, Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2020 (750mL)

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Alcohol

A few weeks ago, you wiped us out of Delarche’s world-best Grand Cru Pinot value in two hours flat. Today, the same opportunity is presented again, with Burgundy’s other magnificent half. When it comes to Grand Cru Chardonnay in the illustrious Côte de Beaune, some of you already know that Delarche’s Corton-Charlemagne has been the undisputed value champion for seven years running. But for newer subscribers, I’ll happily repeat myself: Grand Cru whites of this quality, at this price, are now almost exclusively reserved for the history books—except today’s limited offering.


Despite its consistent excellence, Delarche’s Corton-Charlemagne remains shockingly underpriced, and that’s further underscored when their primely positioned vines are compared to their neighbors. Delarche’s choice parcels in this legendary site are adjacent to producers who charge hundreds for their own bottlings. So, while Burgundy’s prices, allocations, and politics exist in a state of chaotic flux each year, Delarche’s scintillating and luxuriously sculpted Corton-Charlemagne remains a strong constant. I cannot think of another Grand Cru Côte de Beaune bottling with this quality/price ratio—the value this wine delivers is second to none. Six bottles per person.

NOTE: This marks our once-per-year, tightly allocated offering. Consider this your first and final notice! 



No Corton-Charlemagne offer is complete without a recounting of the vineyard’s epic history. It takes its name from a former Holy Roman Emperor, who gifted the vineyard to the religious community of Saint-Andoche de Saulieu in the year 775. According to legend, it was once an all-Pinot Noir vineyard, from which the hard-partying Charlemagne (Charles the Great) enjoyed many a bottle—staining his white beard in the process. Seeking to clean up his beard, if not his act, the emperor’s wife had the vineyard re-planted to Chardonnay. Even without the fascinating folklore, it still ranks among the greatest Chardonnay sites in the world.


Delarche, for my money, has one of the strongest top-to-bottom value lineups in all of Burgundy. Located in Pernand-Vergelesses and helmed by Etienne Delarche since 2008, they produce an assortment of reference-point whites and reds from Pernand’s best crus while also owning a few precious rows of vines in the “En Charlemagne” (western facing) and “Le Corton” (eastern facing) sections of Corton-Charlemagne. The soils are a grayish limestone marl and Delarche’s old-vine parcels reliably deliver Chardonnay of incredible power, energy, and longevity.


Delarche’s Charlemagne is crafted from hand-harvested, de-stemmed Chardonnay grapes that ferment on ambient yeasts in new French oak casks. After 14 months of maturation, it is bottled unfined and unfiltered. While drinking this Grand Cru right now is wine’s equivalent of infanticide, its inviting opulence and tension is still a beautiful lesson in young Corton-Charlemagne—just be sure to decant, decant, decant! 


I impatiently waited 60 minutes before pouring myself a glass of today’s 2020 release. And while it’s no surprise that the wine’s aromas were still a touch introverted, the potential for this Grand Cru is off-the-charts great. Right now, it’s a lively yet tightly coiled ball of ripe yellow fruit, citrus zest, toasty oak, and iodized rock that glides across the palate with an impressive acid-to-weight ratio. While there’s no lack of invitingly deep layers here, allowing this to rest another 1-2 years in bottle will bring immense joy to those who demand luxuriously silken textures in their Corton-Charlemagne bottlings. 




Domaine Etienne Delarche, Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2020 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBurgundy / Côte de Beaune
  • Sub-RegionCorton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
  • SoilGrey Limestone Marls
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendChardonnay
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • Oak100% New French Barrels

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBurgundy / Côte de Beaune
  • Sub-RegionCorton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
  • SoilGrey Limestone Marls
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendChardonnay
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • Oak100% New French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 50-55° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • Drinking2023-2030
  • Decanting1-2 Hours
  • PairingPoulet au Vin Jaune w/ Morels