2021 Vézelay, L'Elegante, Domaine la Croix Montjoie, Burgundy
About this WINE
Domaine la Croix Montjoie
Domaine La Croix Montjoie was established in 2009, and was named after the crossroads of Vezelay, which lies between Chablis and Beaune.
The estate has ten acres of vineyards overlooking the basilica and the foothills of the Morvan. Chardonnay is grown here, with an ideal location of a south/south-east facing hillside and stony clay and limestone rich soil. The grapes are cultivated to make the most of the naturally occurring seasons, including the harsh winters and cool summer nights.
Pinot Black Irancy is also grown, slightly further north of Vezelay. The vineyards and building management are family run, with the help of close friends, and all are involved in the ongoing development of the business.
Burgundy never quite achieved its political ambitions of being a kingdom in its own right, but for many, the region produces some of the most regal red and white wines in the world.
In Burgundy there are 100 different appellations, numerous individual vineyards and more than 3,000 individual producers. Around 15 million cases are produced annually from 26,500ha of vines in Burgundy, which is usually sub-divided into five regions: Chablis in the Yonne department; the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune in the department of the Côte d'Or; and the Chalonnais and Mâconnais in the Saone-et-Loire.
The world's most famous white wine grape may have originated in Burgundy, where there’s a village called Chardonnay (near Mâcon). This marvellous, full-bodied grape responds well to barrel ageing and can produce wines of great complexity that can age for decades. More often than not though, in recent times, the wines are better enjoyed in their youth. The simpler white wines of Chablis to the north, and the Mâconnais in the south, are usually made in stainless steel to preserve freshness.
The heartland for white Burgundy is the Côte de Beaune with its three great villages, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. Here the vineyard classification system really comes into its own. On the flattest land, the wines will be classed only as generic Bourgogne Blanc; as the slope begins to rise, the wines are designated by the name of their village. At mid-slope, the finest vineyards (whose wines are bottled separately) are categorised as Premier Cru (eg Les Charmes) or Grand Cru (Le Montrachet).
Though attractive wines can be found in the Côte Chalonnais (Mercurey, Givry), the great red wines of Burgundy are found in the Côte d'Or. The line of magical villages which constitutes the Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St Georges is practically a roll call of great names. The Côte de Beaune competes through such gems as Volnay and Pommard, which are adjacent yet contrasting villages: lacy elegance for the wines of Volnay, while sturdy and more structured in those from Pommard.
Whereas Burgundy used to be considered a veritable minefield because of the complexity of choice, these days it is more of a playground for the adventurous wine lover, thanks to the vast increase in number of quality-conscious, properly-trained producers.
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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Domaine La Croix Montjoie is led by the dynamic Sophie and Matthieu Woillez. This is one of the top estates in the exciting appellation of Vézelay, located between Chablis and Beaune. Soil here has more clay than in Chablis, giving the wines a little flesh and stone fruit to complement the natural freshness of this northerly region. The L’Elegant – our favourite wine from the estate - comes from older vines planted on an east-facing slope. While most of the wine is made in tank to preserve fruit purity and freshness, a quarter is barrel-fermented in older oak to add some complexity and subtle toast spice. This is a charming wine that sits neatly between Chablis and the Côte d’Or, both stylistically and geographically.
Drink now - 2025
Adam Bruntlett, Senior Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (June 2022)
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