Burgundy vintner Denis Mortet has died at the age of 51 after apparently shooting himself with a rifle on the morning of January 30.

According to some reports he died in the car park of his winery in Gevrey-Chambertin.

Mortet founded Domaine Denis Mortet in the Cote d’Or in the 1990s and quickly established himself as one of the rising stars of the region. He learned winemaking from his father Charles at Dme Charles Mortet et Fils, after whose retirement in 1991 he divided the 8ha domaine with his brother Thierry.

His wines frequently had excellent reviews – Decanter rated them highly, and Berry Bros said, ‘Denis Mortet’s immaculate vineyards are the key, and his energy in leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence completes the picture.’

Jancis Robinson paid tribute in a short note on her website. He was, she said, ‘Young, intensely ambitious and fiercely self-critical…and will be much mourned. I never met him but hope in a curious roundabout way that it was not wine and his concerns about his own wines that drove him to take this tragic step.’

Elsewhere on the internet tributes poured in. Many aficionados of his wines mentioned the fact that he suffered from depression.

He leaves his wife Laurence, a son and a daughter.

Written by Adam Lechmere