2020 Monthélie, Les Duresses, 1er Cru, Domaine de Montille, Burgundy
Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy (January 2022)
About this WINE
Domaine de Montille
The De Montille family has long been a venerable one in Burgundy, though Domaine de Montille’s reputation was properly established in 1947: prominent Dijon lawyer Hubert de Montille inherited 2.5 hectares in Volnay, later adding further parcels in Volnay, Pommard and Puligny. Hubert’s style was famously austere: low alcohol, high tannin and sublime in maturity.
His son, Etienne, joined him from ’83 to ’89 before becoming the senior winemaker, taking sole charge from ’95. Etienne also managed Château de Puligny-Montrachet from ’01; he bought it, with investors, in ’12.
The two estates were separate until ’17, when the government decreed that any wine estate bearing an appellation name could no longer offer wine from outside that appellation.
The solution was to absorb the château estate into De Montille – the amalgamated portfolio is now one of the finest in the Côte d’Or.
Etienne converted the estate to organics in ‘95, and to biodynamics in 2005, making the house style more generous and open, focusing on the use of whole bunches for the reds.
A small village nestling in a valley behind Meursault and Volnay, Monthelie produces mostly red wines, mini-Volnays with appealing fruit but sometimes a rustic edge, and a small amount of white wine. The best wines come from the steep slopes above the village, such as Les Duresses.
- 109 hectares of village Monthelie.
- 31 hectares of premier cru vineyards (11 in all). Best vineyard is Les Duresses.
- Recommended Producer: Lafon
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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This comes from two parcels: one is lower on heavier soil, giving breadth and power; the other is higher, on sandy limestone, giving freshness and citrus fruit. The nose is expressive and open, with sunny stone-fruit and ripe lemon-and-lime. There is a good weight of fruit, a satisfying rounded character, and wonderful purity and precision on the finish. Drink 2023-2033.
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