Burgundy is a region full of surprises and of new names, and one needs to keep an open mind while exploring the area.
A new name for me was Brice Martin, a producer located in Comblanchien with what only can be described as a tiny estate with an even tinier production – 2,000 bottles annually. I thought Domaine Nicolas Faure was small, but this new start-up with modest vineyards is even more miniscule.
Brice works full time at Domaine Jean-Marc Millot in Nuits-Saint-Georges as a tractoriste (tractor driver and viticulturist), a full-time job with the same seasonal variations as his own wine project. This is hard work indeed.
Brice is a thorough guy, with a deep background in the Burgundian soil. He is a man of the vineyards and the terroirs, and seeing his vines – located below the rail line in Premeaux-Prissey – one understands what this means.
The vineyards are grown organically, with a diverse vegetal cover maintained between the rows. This looks more like viticulture at the top organic estates, not in a modest vineyard east of Comblanchien or Premeaux.
Finding his style and place
Brice Martin makes two wines: a Coteaux Bourguignons (2/3 gamay and 1/3 pinot) and the 100% pinot Bourgogne La Corvée Guichard.
The estate in its current form is quite new, as Brice has only made these wines since 2017. Consequently, I do find it a bit unfair to rate these cuvées at this early stage. I recall my first tasting with Nicolas Faure, when we tasted a rather light Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Herbues – underlining that not even the best vignerons get it 100% right on their first try.
The style here is low sulphur, meaning none is used during vinification, and only a little added at bottling. Adding to this the use of 100% whole clusters, and one finds some pretty wild wines, perhaps inspired a bit by Marc Soyard, one of Brice Martin’s friends. This is not playing it safe, and I really admire this.
The 2020s are quite powerful and intense. The Coteaux Bourguignons is a bit on the weighty side, but nonetheless with a fine, pure palate. Last year was a difficult one to manage, especially if the wines are made in your spare time with friends helping. That said, there is definitely potential here.
The Bourgogne 2020 seems better balanced, with lovely intensity and acidity. It will need some time to fully unfold, and this is a fine vintage in the Comblanchien region.
The 2019s are showing very well, especially the Coteaux Bourguignons, which demonstrates delightfully fine balance and freshness. The energy and lightness in this (still concentrated) wine is pretty impressive. What a delight!
In fact, the 2019 Coteaux Bourguignons has some fine hedonistic qualities that could earn it .
Keep up the good work, Brice. I will definitely taste more from this estate in the future.