Hautes-Cotes de Nuits (Burgundy)
Created by Bernard Hudelot in 1970, Domaine de Montmain was built on an ancient vineyard exploited by the Dukes of Burgundy from the 11th to the 17th century. In the 17th century the area was gradually abandoned due to climatic cooling, with producers shifting the production of great Burgundy reds to the Côte de Nuits, 100m lower. Today, due to the impact of global warming, this region of the “Hautes-Côtes” is enjoying a return to the highest level wine production. Hudelot was born in 1942 in Villars Fontaine and grew up in a family of small peasants, at 12 years old, he left the village to study and came back at 26 to rehabilitate some of the best terroirs of the village left abandoned, sticking to his belief in ancient traditional methods.
Since 1996, Pinot Noir has shown an increasing roundness, power and elegance, with the Chardonnay reaching better maturity and finesse thanks to the white marl soil, similar to those of Corton-Charlemagne. The total vineyard surface is currently 30 hectares, with 40% of white wines and 60% of red wines grown on clay and limestone, with darker soils at a low depth from the Middle Jurassic rocky layers. The reds have lots of similarity with the Nuits-Saint-Georges and can be easily mistaken when tasted blind.
The entire vineyard is cultivated with high trellising and wide rows spacing of 3 metres. With spaced vines, air is able to dry the vineyard rapidly, as a result only small doses of sulphur and copper are required (3 times less than the average). Thanks to the height of the clusters and the spacing of the rows, the grey rot, enemy number 1 of the Pinot Noir in Burgundy, isn't very developed. The wines obtained are "clean".
To guarantee quality, the yields are kept low and harvesting is always done by hand. Grapes are sorted in the vineyard and then transported in small crates to the winery, where they go through manual sorting. The grapes are destemmed and crushed. Vinification is carried out in a traditional and ancient way, with natural yeast, with fermentation lasting an average of 15 - 20 days for reds. The Domaine exclusively select barrels whose staves were naturally desorbed 36 months’ outdoors, using these to mature the white wines for 18 months, and 30 months for red wines. Wines are bottled with high-quality natural corks thanks to a unique and exclusive treatment process started by the domaine in 1998 to avoid TCA (1-year drying of the corks).
A trip to the cellars of Domaine de Montmains is a special experience for wine lovers. Today they have wines from the 80s, 90s, 2000s in their treasure trove that is the cellar, just waiting for the time to tell the story of their vintage. The best indicator of the quality of these wines over time is to open an old bottle from the 1970s or 1980s.
The Climat “Le Rouard” Chardonnay
Made from a 6.1 hectare steep vineyard, planted on white marl dating back to the Jurrasic period (similar soils to Corton). The wine spends 8 months in oak barrels on lees, 1/3 new barrels and is bottled unfiltered. These are suave and mineral driven wines, with notes of hazelnuts and liquorice. Tasted blind it could trick you easily!
Sourced from a tiny 1.7 hectare vineyard planted on white marl in 1954, it includes some 64 year old Aligoté vines. Aligoté from Montmains is as good as some of the best Aligoté from Bouzeron. Maturing 12 months in old oak barrels on the lees, the wine is bottled unfiltered. This Aligoté is generally picked quite ripe and aged in old Chardonnay barrel. Look for notes of fennel, citrus and confit lemon, along with a beautiful rich texture, buttery vibe, and a long finish.
White grapes: Chardonnay, Aligoté
Red grape: Pinot Noir
Hautes Cotes de Nuits