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FICOFI: Domaine de Montille

January 28, 2017

Domaine de Montille is not a name familiar to all Burgundy lovers but there is absolutely nothing lacking in its quality or breed. The estate pre-dates the French Revolution, but the name Montille only came about in 1863 through the marriage of Marie Eleonore Chauvelot de Chevannes and Etienne Joseph Marie Leonce Bizouard de Montille. It has remained within the family since but it was really through the work of Hubert de Montille (the grandson) in the past few decades that the wines have become better known and more sought-after. Occupying 17 hectares, mainly in the Cote de Beaune (with some parcels in Nuits-Saint-Georges and Vosne-Romanee), the estate has practised biodynamic viticulture since the 1980s but truly certified only in 2012. Today, the estate is helmed by Etienne de Montille who famously holds opposing views on his preferred style of wine from his father Hubert, preferring greater purity of expression with greater precision whilst retaining the character of the unique terroir of each plot.

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For this evening on 19 Jan 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore, Etienne has organised a tasting focusing on three cool vintages in Pommard, followed by three warm vintages of Volnay, culminating in a final trio of Corton grand cru. The progression turned out to be absolutely spot-on as the initial delicacy gave way to bigger wines, finishing with wines that are structured, robust and masculine. Throughout the tasting, Etienne proved to be the master educator, infinitely knowledgeable, honest and immensely likeable. A real masterclass.

2008 Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles 1er. Classic pinot tint with feminine aromas of delicate red fruits, camphor and red plums, very seamless and slightly sweet on the palate where earth and red fruits dominate with good concentration and great linearity, seducing the senses with subtle power. Excellent. Situated at the northen end of the Pommard commune (just beyond the southern boundary of Beaune), Les Pezerolles is considered an aytpical Pommard, more feminine than Les Rugiens or Grands Epenots.

2007 Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles 1er. More lifted than the preceding 2008 with aromas of sweet red fruits, medium-bodied, displaying good delicacy and very lovely acidity, less plump. Drinking well.

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1998 Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezerolles 1er. From a later harvest, hence exuding darker tones of earth and forest floor, medium-bodied, soft and understated, somewhat nondescript with dryish textures and palpable tannins, not really burly, short finish. Definitely from an older style. I’m not sure if this will improve with further cellaring.

2009 Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds 1er. Sandwiched between Pommard to the north and Mersault in the south, the domaine’s stronghold of Volnay is appreciably more robust than the preceding trio of Pommard, structured with subtle red fruits and silky tannins that exude floral fragrances infused with tangerines, well integrated with good concentration and balance, finishing with a persistent glow, becoming better with time. Very fine.

2005 Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds 1er. Quite dark with a restrained bouquet, not showing much. Similarly reticent on the palate though it is well structured and integrated with good acidity, its tannins still tight, somewhat short at the finish. Many liked this but I’d prefer to cellar it longer.

1999 Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds 1er. This wine opens with a gentle fragrance, soft and open with light tannins and gentle characters of earth, camphor and red berries, medium-bodied, displaying good definition, acidity and persistence. Excellent.

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2012 Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru. Corton is yet again very different, much bigger in proportion and structure compared with the preceding premier crus. This particular vintage exuded a great earthy pungency with distinct tobacco notes, displaying good concentration and depth with the fruit and acidity well integrated though essentially still a young wine that has yet to develop.

2010 Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru. Shut initially, only to develop a sudden burst of glycerin and ripe red and dark berries along with dark plums and tangerine, still tight with flavours confined within a fairly narrow spectrum, yet to put on fat, delicious with subtle intensity but not ready.

2006 Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru. Notably darker with a lovely sweet fragrance, medium-bodied with excellent concentration and acidity, robust and masculine though its tannins are supple and subtly structured. Very successful.

After the masterclass, we moved on to a delectable dinner at Jiang Nan Chun, complemented by a different selection of wines…

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2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. Attractive bouquet of dew, crème de la crème and chalk, forward in fruit concentration and minerality with mild characters of toast and yeasty tones, not too dry.

2014 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Saint-Aubin En Remilly 1er. Lifted aromas of morning dew and gentle malt lead to superb concentration and definition with crisp acidity that yielded excellent mouthfeel, fullish with a mild sternness towards the minerally finish, replete with some sweetness at the edges. Excellent.

2013 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er. Sweet floral fragrance, displaying crisp acidity with good concentration and intensity, quite open, more minerally in balance, coming together very well but slightly short.

2006 Domaine de Montille Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. From magnum. Made from young vines planted only in 2005 on soil composed of yellow marl, brown clay and small gravel, this wine was shut initially, gradually revealing some dew and morning air, much better on the palate where there is good concentration of white flowers, icing and lemongrass accentuated by crisp acidity, tapering towards a gentle finish. May need more time.

2011 Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Pezeroilles 1er. Gentle nose of red and dark fruits, rounded and accessible, well integrated but nondescript, finishing short.

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2011 Domaine de Montille Pommard Les Rugiens-Bas 1er. Dark in tone and color. Very good in concentration, displaying deep notes of dark plums with a mild medicinal quality supported by stern minerals, fleshy and very accessible, finishing well.

2002 Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Taillepieds 1er. From magnum. This is a big and robust wine with an abundance of red and dark fruits, layered with excellent concentration, very well integrated and fresh. Still youthful. Long life ahead.

2002 Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Champans 1er. From magnum. Saving the best for last, this wine exuded fragrant aromas, medium-bodied, quite open with crisp acidity and good concentration, medium-bodied, displaying good linearity towards its gentle finish. Quite understated in character with plenty of life ahead. Excellent. My favourite of the evening.

 

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