An icon of Burgundy, Denis began his career working for father Charles, eventually succeeding him in the mid-1980s. An introduction to famed vintner Henri Jayer, around this time, provided him with both friend and mentor. When his father retired in 1991, the Domain Charles Mortet inheritance was split between his two sons. Denis began his own domaine with 4.5ha in Gevrey-Chambertin.
In 1991, the legendary winery owner Lalou Bize-Leroy invited Denis to taste her entire line-up for the year. This, and the earlier meeting with Jayer, inspired both his wines for the rest of his career and then ultimately his son. It was Arnaud, having worked first on the 1999 vintage, who took over after his father’s sudden death in 2006.
Earlier on, Denis gained a reputation amongst peers in Burgundy for both impeccable farming practices and the seductive textures deep in his wines. Wine lovers agreed; opinions which have stood the test of time. The domain grew to 11ha, often through retiring wine-makers placing their faith in his continuing stewardship of their precious vineyards.
Arnaud enjoyed great help from mother Laurence and sister Clemence, and the Mortet reputation for elite farming reached new heights. Deftly evolving the styles of their wines, he lowered the level of extraction, fine-tuned the vinification, and greatly reduced the use of new wood.
Like many of the greats, he is never satisfied, always seeking to improve. An example, for certain wines, is his insistence in cutting out the main stem of grape clusters for whole cluster fermentations – a truly labour intensive and time-consuming process.
Domaine Denis Mortet offers a match of tremendous grain and sensual quality, displaying an elegance of product of which mentor Jayer would surely still be so proud!