2016 St Aubin, En Remilly, 1er Cru, Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy
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Chateau 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.
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
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.
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The most easterly of St Aubin’s vineyards, this is immediately behind Le Montrachet, lying southwest below Les Murgers des Dents de Chien. The soils are heavier, and there was no frost in 2016. There are a lot of old vines in the 1.7-hectare plot and this is an exceptional example of the village indeed. The top notes are flinty and energetic, while the palate unfurls with a weight to match the promise of the bouquet. This offers real value for the quality. Drink 2019-2024.
Adam Bruntlett, Burgundy Buyer
The Château de Puligny-Montrachet was a slumbering force until finally being awoken by the arrival of Étienne de Montille in time to oversee the 2001 vintage. Under Étienne, 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. It was a successful vintage here in terms of quality, under the eye of cellar master Brian Sieve. He recounts how the lower slopes of Puligny-Montrachet and the Bourgogne Blanc vineyards on the plain escaped nearly all the frost, but the lower Meursault vineyards were almost entirely affected. For Château de Puligny-Montrachet, this is a good vintage – maybe lacking the flesh of a truly great year, but equally delicious in its accessibility. Not all the vineyards suffered, but there were, nevertheless, some serious reductions in certain sites.
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