A Tale of Two Cellars

Jun 13, 2006

Day 9, June 11: Sunday I had one appointment, but it encompassed two domaines and one négociant operation. Etienne de Montille runs both his family domaine, De Montille, and manages the Château de Puligny-Montrachet. In addition, he and his sister Alix have a small négociant operation buying grapes for white wines called Deux Montille.

The 2005 whites of Château de Puligny-Montrachet are richer than those of De Montille and Deux Montille, with plenty of fat in 2005. We taste non-blind in the cellar, one of the few in the village due to the high water table. The Bâtard-Montrachet here is restrained, almost elegant at this stage, with almond and hazelnut notes, while the Montrachet shows a vanilla custard flavor, creamy texture and long finish. However, I was very impressed with the Puligny-Montrachet, full of citrus and mineral notes and very well-defined. The St.-Aubin En Remilly also exhibits a strong mineral character with citrus shadings and fine balance.

The Domaine de Montille and Deux Montille wines are made in a separate cellar in Meursault. Alix presents an elegant Meursault Bouchères and racy, mineral-infused Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumées, among other whites. But the star here is one barrel of Chevalier-Montrachet, an ethereal white, full of floral, citrus and mineral flavors.

Etienne de Montille has expanded the family domaine with a few new parcels in Beaune and several in the Côte de Nuits. As impressive as these new reds are in 2005--such as two different parcels of extraordinary Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts and a tight, wild berry-flavored Corton Clos du Roi--it’s the heart of the domaine’s range from Volnay and Pommard that excites me.

The Volnay Champans is packed with a cherry note and fine richness. The Volnay Taillepieds is elegant, yet very firmly tannic and will require a lot of time to unwind. The Pommard Pezerolles offers the earth and mineral accents to complement its cherry flavor and the Pommard Rugiens is very deep and round, with great intensity.

France Burgundy

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