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Volnay Premier Cru Domaine de Montille, Les Champans 2004

Drunk September 2013, Murano, London

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The winery

The Domaine de Montille in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune was established in Volnay in the mid-18th century. It currently farms 20 hectares of primarily Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in the Côtes de Beaune and Nuits. Since 2002, Alix and Etienne de Montille manage the estate and the winemaking, following on from their father, Hubert de Montille. This winery boasts some of the most prized red wine producing vineyards of the Côte de Beaune and their wines can be found on the lists of virtually every three star restaurant in France. 

Alix and Etienne de Montille

Alix and Etienne de Montille

The wines tend to be different than those of the other well-known names of Volnay and Pommard - concentration and purity of fruit, firm structure, and above all, the ability to improve and become more complex with ageing. Because of their moderate alcohol levels, the wines tend to be shy during their first couple of years in the bottle. 

Volnay is an appellation of a moderate surface area (207 hectares) and is 100% Pinot Noir, tucked into the mid-slope with a terroir dominated by a mix of clay, marl and limestone just south of Pommard. The wines in this area are elegant and in in proportion to its size, has the most Premier Crus – in Burgundy, with 42 climats covering more than half its surface area.

"En Champans" is a steep terroir with limestone at the top of the parcel (along the departmental road D973) with a light brown soil. In the bottom, the soil contains more clay with the color somewhere between brown and red. The Domaine de Montille vines climb up the hillside and benefits from optimal sunshine. 

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Domaine de Montille has never used herbicides and abandoned chemical fertilisers in 1985 when it began using compost. The domaine transitioned to organics in 1995 then to biodynamics in 2005. The domaine is known in Bugundy, among others such as Arlot, DRC, Dujac and Leroy, to regularly vinify using a significant proportion of whole clusters, varying by cuvée and by vintage. The vinification at this estate is traditional with a large emphasis placed on punching down the cap during the peak of the fermentation. The stems are left in in percentages of 0-25% depending on the vintage, and the maceration is quite long (12-16 days). The percentage of new oak used never excedes 25%.

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The wine

Wow this was a spectacularly good Burgundy, just so delicate yet complex and balanced. Firstly an incredible nose, 

mint, berries fruit, oak.  The smell of this wine was so memorable. The finish was long. I must try this Domaine de Montille, Les Champans again and fast. This is the best that Burgundy has to offer!