Posts Tagged ‘Domaine de Montille’

          Aux Malconsorts is a 5.86-hectare Premier Cru climat that ranks among the very finest vineyards in Vosne-Romanée. Lying at the southern portion of the appellation, at the border with Nuits-St-Georges, Aux Malconsorts is superbly located just to the south of La Tâche and north of Les Boudots, the  remarkable Premier Cru  in Nuits.  The vineyard is divided by a north-south running vinicultual path, with disparate soil profiles in each half. Above the path the soil is lighter and sandier, whereas the soil below the path is richer, more ferruginous and  compact. The vineyard faces east from a elevation varying between 260 and 280 meters. Soil depth varies from as little as 10 centimeters to a generous one meter.

The etymology of  Aux Malconsorts derives not (alas) from an evil consort but rather from old French descriptors of the thorny brushwood that covered the plot before it was cleared in 1610 and converted into a vineyard.

Aux Malconsorts produces preeminent Premier Cru Vosne-Romanée of commanding presence, with firm, dense tannins, elegantly muscular and richly structured wines that can rival the best of this extraordinary appellation.

The reference-standard producer of Aux Malconsorts has for years been Domaine Sylvain Cathiard, whose .74-hectare parcel, with 35+ year old vines, consistently produces stellar wines. Since 2005, however, upon acquiring the vineyards of Thomas Moillard, Domaines Dujac (1.57 hectares) and de Montille (1.38 hectares) have joined Cathiard in setting the standard. In addition, Domaine de Montille’s holdings in Aux Malconsorts include a .48-hectare parcel (named Cuvée Christiane by Etienne de Montille in honor of his mother) that juts into La Tâche, where it seems geologically quite at home. Regardless of whether this parcel in fact once formed part of La Tâche, as many speculate, Cuvée Christiane exhibits distinctly different qualities from the remainder of  Aux Malconsorts.

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Les Champans:  This 11.19 hectare Premier Cru climat  lies south of the village of Volnay, downhill from Les Taillepieds, southeast of the RN 73. Facing east, southeast from on a moderately steep slope varying between 250-280 meters, the clay-limestone soil  is shallow and rocky. Good sources of Les Champans include Domaine de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville.

The name derives from the local description for a sloping field.

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Les Taillepieds: This 7.17-hectare Premier Cru climat lies just south of the village of Volnay, in the central section of the commune,  immediately to the north of Clos des Chênes. Facing east, southeast, with an elevation ranging between 280 and 320 meters, and planted on hard marl and limestone colluviums, Les Taillepieds is among the best vineyards in Volnay.

The name [tailler (cut) + pieds (feet)] suggests that the steepness of slope and the sharpness of the rocks have conspired over the years to cut many a foot.

 The Les Taillepieds of Domaine de Montille has achieved almost iconic status, although Marquis d’Angerville is another good source.

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Les Thorey: This 5-hectare Premier Cru climat lies in the northern part of the commune of Nuits-St-Georges, uphill and to the north of the village.  Facing southeast and lying at 225-280 meters, this vineyard lies just above Aux Bousselots on a slope of 10-15%. The topsoil is a mixture of limestone and clay over a base of Comblanchien limestone. Two superb examples of Les Thorey come from Domaine Sylvain Cathiard and Domaine de Montille.

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Les Sizies is a 8.58-hectare Premier Cru climat within the Beaune appellation in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. It is situated within the western sector of the Premier Cru vineyards, to the west of the N470 and just south of the Premier Cru climat Les Avaux.  The vineyard appears to have been named after Renaud de Sesie,  13th century mayor of Beaune. Relatively flat, and lying at 240-250 meters, Les Sizies enjoys a mixed soil of clay and limestone and an eastern exposition.  Perhaps the best examples of the vineyard come from Maison Leroy and Domaine de Montille.

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Beaune AOC, looking North From Clos des Mouches

Beaune is  a wine appellation that produces high quality  Burgundy  from vines planted in the commune of Beaune situated in the Côte de Beaune region of the Côte-d’Or.  The city of Beaune itself  is the second largest  (after Dijon) in France’s Burgundy department.

By tradition, Beaune was founded about 52 B.C. as a camp for Julius Caesar’s army as it prepared to defeat the Gaul’s legendary hero Vercingetorix. The name “Beaune” derives, according to Clive Coates, from Belno Castrium, which would have referred to a fortified small villa. By 1602, Beaune was being referred to in a contemporary map as “Belna (commonly called Beaulne)”.

During the Gallo-Roman period, Beaune served as a way station along the road to Autun, then the capital of Burgundy. As the importance of Autun diminished, first following its conquest by the sons of Clovis in 532, and later after its sacking by the Saracens around 730, Beaune began to emerge as an urban entity in its own right. Formally chartered as a city in 1203, Beaune remained the residence of the Dukes of Burgundy until the late 14th Century, when Phillip the Bold married Margaret of Flanders, and moved the ducal court to Dijon. During the latter part of the Hundred Years war, in 1401, a fire destroyed Beaune. After the Treaty of Arras in 1435, first Louis XI and then Charles XIII, constructed the pentangular castle and massive fortified walls that continue to define Beaune. The Hôtel-Dieu (Hospices de Beaune) was built during that same period under the direction of Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, whose chief claim to fame is that he betrayed Joan of Arc to the rosbifs, who promptly burned her at the stake.

Beaune has been celebrated for its vineyards at least since Gregoire, Bishop of Tours, wrote his history of France (Historia Francorum) in 570. Today Beaune continues to boast some of the finest vineyards in the world. The entire appellation comprises 531 hectares, the majority of which, 337 hectares, is within 44 climats that are, in whole or part, designated Premier Cru. In addition, the appellation consists of 138 hectares of village-level Beaune and 66 hectares from the related AOC Côte-de-Beaune.

The vineyards are situated on gentle slopes northwest of the city and thus enjoy, in general, favorable southeastern exposition. The sloping hillside on which the Premiers Crus lie, begins at the border with Pommard and extends in a northerly direction until it meets the border of Savigny-lès-Beaune. The vineyards are bisected by the N470 as it crawls up the hill toward Bouze-lès-Beaune.  Most critics believe that the best section lies to the north of this road, where the soils are a mix of gravel and iron-rich clay over a limestone base. This sector, celebrated even in the 19th Century, includes Les Bressandes, Les Perrières, Les Grèves, and Les Marconnets, and produces the most complex wines of the appellation.   Further north of this sector, toward the border with Savigny-lès-Beaune, the soil becomes thinner, especially in the steeper upslope vineyards.

South of the N470, the soil  becomes more sandy, and occasionally quite stony.  While 95% of Beaune vineyards produce red, Pinot Noir-based Burgundy, a few of the vineyards in this sector, notably the famous Le Clos des Mouches, yield excellent white Burgundy. In the central portion of this sector are found two remarkable vineyards, Les Aigros and Les Sizies, whose sandy, limestone soils give rise to elegant and subtle red Burgundies of a charming, somewhat lighter style.  The vineyards downhill from Le Clos des Mouches, tend to flatten out as they extend toward the RN 74, and have deeper soil with a higher proportion of clay. This last sector, known locally as Le Puits de Beaune (“Beaune’s well”), and  accordingly suffering from poor drainage and risk of frost, is not a reliable source of fine wine.

The size and wealth of Beaune as a city have resulted in two salient consequences: (1) the high proportion (arguably not fully justified) of Premier Cru climats in the appellation; and (2) the dominance of the large négotiant houses (e.g., Drouhin, Bouchard Père et Fils, Bichot, Patriarche) headquartered in the city, within the ownership and politics of the appellation.  Although a couple of these négoces do in fact produce exemplary wines from the Beaune AOC  (Bouchard’s Vigne De L’Enfant Jésus,  from a lieu-dit within Les Grèves, and  Drouhin’s Clos des Mouches), the preponderance their wines have contributed to the unfortunate and lackluster reputation of  the appellation. Not surprisingly, some of the finest wines from Beaune come from Domaines originating in other appellations but with small holdings in Beaune:   Domaine de Montille ( Les Grèves, Les Sizies, Les Aigros, Les Perrières), Domaine Lafarge (Les Grèves, Les Aigros).

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Les Mitans is a 3.98-hectare Premier Cru climat in Volnay. The vineyard  downhill, just to the southeast of the Autun Road (RN73)   between Premiers Crus Les Brouillards and En L’Ormeau. “Mitans” means “between”. The vineyard is mostly clay-limestone, very stony, and enjoys an elevation of 250-260 meters and an exposition of east, southeast.

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Pommard is a wine appellation that produces excellent red Burgundy. Wine so labeled must come from Pinot Noir vines planted in the commune of Pommard situated in the Côte-de-Beaune region of the Cote d’Or department of Burgundy in eastern France.    

South of Beaune are found the two communes, Pommard and Volnay, whose wines (apart from the Grands Crus of Corton) comprise the finest red wines of the Côte-de-Beaune.  The name Pommard, by tradition, derives from Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit trees and orchards, to whom early Gauls dedicated a temple on the site. This is the same goddess Pomona who    

The goddess Pomona

appears in full golden mufti on the Great Seal of the City of Los Angeles and whose bare pulchritude is captured by a demure statue now situate in the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.    

The commune of Pommard lies immediately adjacent to Beaune, and begins at the point where the Route forks into the Autun Road (RN 73) and the RN 74. Pommard is generally square-shaped with a center band, running more or less north-south, containing the 24 Premier Cru parcels totalling 125.19 hectares,  and 211.63 hectares of village-level Pommard. Total production averages around 13,532 hectoliters of wine per year, entirely red. There are presently no Grands Crus although Rugiens-Bas is expected to be promoted and Clos des Epeneaux would also be deserving.    

The prime vineyards in Pommard are generally thought to be located either on the Beaune side, where are found Les Pézerolles and Les Epenots; or to the south of the village, notably Rugiens-Bas. Interestingly, these two sections produce wines of distinct contrast. The stonier, better-drained soils of Les Pézerolles and Les Epenots produced finer, more delicate wines, whereas the iron-rich, clay soil of Rugiens-Bas produces more powerful and richer wines.    


The vineyards of Pommard generally face south and southeast. The soil is somewhat varied in the commune, although there prevails generally a subsoil base Argovian limestone with an admixture of ferrous clay and marl. The thinner and rockier soils are found, not surprisingly, on the slopes above the city toward Beaune; and these give way to increasingly ferrous clay soils as the slope continues downward toward Volnay. Only in the area above the Epenots wall, along the Autun Road, is there much calcareous debris and pebbles.    

Among the finest producers of Pommard are Domaine de Montille and Comte Armand (Clos des Epeneaux).

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               Volnay is a wine appellation that produces some of the finest red Burgundy .  Wine so labeled must come from vines planted in the commune of Volnay (or a portion of the adjoining commune of Meursault) situated in the Côte de Beaune region of the Côte d’Or department of Burgundy in eastern France.

           Volnay is perhaps the most architecturally aesthetic village in Burgundy. Bordered by Pommard on the northeast, and Meursault to the south, the commune of Volnay lies near the midpoint of the Côte de Beaune. The name Volnay, according to Clive Coates, derives from a Celtic or early Gallic water deity, Volen. The village itself is built around a Romanesque church in the location selected by Hugues IV, Duke of Burgundy. Remnants of the hunting lodge used by the Dukes can be found a short distance from the village. The caves of Domaine Lafarge, which date from the 13th Century, are believed to have been appropriated by the Dukes and incorporated into the Château de Volnay, which was destroyed by fire in 1749.

            Volnay vineyards cover more than 213 ha. on southeasterly-exposed slopes, of which about 115 ha. are occupied by 26 premiers crus, and about 98 ha. are in village level vineyards. In addition, there are six premier cru parcels, totalling 21 ha.,  located at the northern extremity of Meursault, but entitled to Volnay appellation. Only red wines are permitted and there are no grands crus.

            Volnay is unique in that its best vineyards lie below the town (toward RN 74) and not above it, as all other communes of the Cote d’Or. The premier cru vineyards lie at mid-slope, below the town, while the lesser village vineyards are either on higher, more exposed hills above the town, or on lower and flatter terrain nearer RN 74.

            Some of the best vineyard sites are generally thought to be those immediately adjacent to the town of Volnay: Clos des Ducs, Bousse d’Or, Le Village (which includes several monopoles including Bousse d’Or and Clos du Chateau des Ducs)  Carelle-sous-la-Chapelle and Taillepieds. This soil is hard marl with a high percentage of limestone. Another prime cluster of premier cru vineyards is found south of the village toward Meursault: Champans and Caillerets among them. Here the slopes are steeper, with more eroded soils exposing Bathonian limestone, and creating stonier soils. Another distinct section lies northeast of the village toward Pommard. Here the stony soils are predominantly friable schiste. Immediately above the Autun Road (RN 73) is another soil type, the pure limestone of Clos des Chênes. The final major section is the grouping of premier cru vineyards within Meursault, notably the Premier Cru Santenots-du-Milieu. Here the soils exhibit more limestone, but offer a variety of topography and soil type.

            Volnay has long been celebrated for its elegance and grace. Characterized by seductively fragrant bouquets, the wines display intense but delicate pinot noir flavors. Volnay is often and justifiably described as  “feminine” on account of its charm and refinement.

            The “Big Three” domaines producing fine Volnay are generally conceded to be Michel LafargeDomaine de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville.

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