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2011 St Aubin, En Remilly, 1er Cru, Ch. de Puligny-Montrachet
Château de Puligny was a slumbering force until it was finally awoken by the arrival of Etienne de Montille in time to oversee the 2001 vintage. Under Etienne, yields have been drastically reduced and the wines are handled much more sympathetically in the cellar so that the quality of the fruit dominates the oak.
In 2012 Étienne and investors purchased the property and have radically reformed the estate, dropping unsuitable vineyards, converting to organic (and indeed biodynamic) farming, and further improving the winemaking.
Etienne also makes the wines at his family's domaine in Volnay, where a lighter touch is also in evidence in recent vintages. Puligny needs more Premiership performers, and Château de Puligny has already established its credentials as an elite respresentative.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
Though tucked away in a side valley behind the two ‘Montrachet’ villages, Saint-Aubin is a great source of fine, steely white Burgundy and some attractively fruity reds. Production used to be about 50:50 between the two colours, but the whites have become the more sought-after and now represent two-thirds of the crop. There is a significant difference however between the best Premiers Crus – such as En Remilly – and the vineyards tucked away further up the valley.
- 80 hectares of village Saint-Aubin
- 156 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (15 in all). The finest include En Remilly, Murgers des Dents de Chien, La Chatenière, Les Frionnes
- Recommended producer: Hubert Lamy