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2006 Beaune Perrières, 1er Cru, Domaine de Montille
Domaine de Montille is a first class Côte de Beaune domaine and one which is producing some of the purest expressions of Pinot Noir to be found in Burgundy today. The domaine was developed by Hubert de Montille, a prominent Dijon lawyer, who inherited 2.5 hectares of vineyards in Volnay in 1951 and most of the production was sold in bulk to négociants. Over the years he acquired further parcels in Volnay, as well as 4 hectares in Pommard, taking his total holdings to just short of 17 hectares.
Today the domaine is run by his son Etienne. The winemaking is traditional - partial destemming followed by a relatively long maceration period. The wines are aged in oak barriques (20-30% new) and are bottled unfiltered. These are wonderfully elegant, harmonious wines that require at least five years bottle ageing to show at their very best.
The domaine has recently been considerably extended by purchases of vineyards in Beaune, Corton, and (from 2005) the Cote de Nuits, including some marvellous Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts. There are also some fine holdings of white wine vineyards, especially Puligny Montrachet Les Caillerets.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
The wines of Beaune are usually on the lighter side, especially if from the flatter vineyards on the Pommard side, or the sandier soils towards Savigny. The sturdiest wines with the greatest depth of flavour come from the steeper slopes overlooking the town itself.The Hospices de Beaune charity auction on the third Sunday in November is one of the highlights of the year. The Hospices building, known as l'Hôtel-Dieu, is well worth visiting. Beaune is also home to several of the region’s best known merchants such as Maisons Louis Jadot and Joseph Drouhin.
- 128 hectares of village Beaune and 52 hectares of Côte de Beaune
- 322 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards. The finest vineyards include Les Grèves, Clos des Mouches
- Recommended producers: Germain, Devevey, Domaine des Croix, Jadot, Drouhin, Camille Giroud.
- Recommended restaurants: Ma Cuisine (not least for the wine list), Le Conty