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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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