Earlier this month I attended a lunch with Jean-Baptiste Bordeaux-Montrieux, whose family owns Domaine Baron Thenard in Givry. The domaine covers 57 acres of vineyards from Givry, in the Côte Chalonnaise, to Grands Echézeaux, just north of Vosne-Romanée.
But its jewel in the crown is 4.5 acres of Le Montrachet on the Chassagne side of the appellation, making Thenard the second-largest proprietor of the esteemed grand cru. We had the opportunity to taste six vintages of the Montrachet at lunch, along with current vintages and a few mature versions of Givry Cellier Aux Moines and Givry Clos St.-Pierre.
The oldest vines in Le Montrachet were planted in 1945 and the average age is 45 years. Bordeaux-Montrieux believes in little intervention, so nothing is added at fermentation. “We try to respect the terroir and the millesime,” he said. There is 50 percent new oak, long lees contact and fining with casein once the barrels are assembled in tank.
Thenard sold much of its Montrachet to the négociant Remoissenet until 2006, thus its wines bore the Remoissenet label. Now, Bordeaux-Montrieux bottles most of it himself, selling a little to Louis Jadot and Etienne Sauzet.
A barrel sample of the Montrachet 2008 was deep, rich and creamy, with toasted brioche and lees aromas followed by citronella, spice and mineral flavors and a long finish (91-94 points, non-blind).
Purity marked the 2007, its lime, peach and stone notes accented by pastry and iodine matched to a firm, even tannic structure (94 points, non-blind). The 2006 (the current vintage selling for $450 to $500) was less aromatic, but very opulent and fleshy, showing peach, wax, lanolin, vanilla and spice flavors, ending with a tactile sensation (92 points, non-blind).
The 2005 revealed an intense nose of sweet corn, nut oil and roasted nuts. It was concentrated and creamy in texture, featuring citronella and dried apple flavors, fine intensity, structure and balance, with terrific length (96 points, non-blind).
Thenard’s Montrachet 2000 evoked the essence of nut oil, mint, honey and struck flint in the bouquet, then honey, vanilla custard citronella and mineral enveloped in a creamy texture. I detected a touch of heat on the finish (95 points, non-blind). In 1999, Bordeaux-Montrieux used 80 percent new oak. This white was even mintier than the 2000, but overall less expressive, offering white chocolate, buttered pastry, toast and spice notes. Tight and restrained, it needed air to open (93 points, non-blind).
The Givry Celliers aux Moines 2001 displayed a fragrant bouquet of flowers, raspberry and red currant and spices allied to an elegant profile and fine length on the palate (90 points). The Givry Clos St.-Pierre 1993 exhibited a deep, bright ruby color and a firm, tannic structure supporting its black cherry, black berry and spice notes. Though long, it was a tad dry on the finish (89 points, non-blind).