Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru 'Les Rugiens - Bas'
- Beaune, Burgundy, France
Closed, dense, serious and compact, this is Rugiens Bas for people who like their Pommard to be intense, firm and ageworthy. It's spicy, layered and ferrous, with two-thirds whole bunches adding more nuance and complexity. It's a wine that will take a while to come around, but will be worth the wait.
95/100 Tim Atkin MW for Decanter
After a 30% reduction in 2016 due to the frosts, production is back up to a healthy twelve barrels, with two thirds whole cluster used and the wine seeing 40% new oak during its ageing. Blood orange, red currant and rust on the nose indicate the vineyard’s iron rich soils and continues with rich and savoury notes of soy sweetness and dried violets. The palate is currently still coalescing, but shows no lack of minerality and heady, perfumed fruit to smooth out the expansive but elegant tannins. A keeper.
Tasting with winemaker Brian Sieve at de Montille is always a pleasurable education, and once again we were treated to an impressively consistent set of wines, including the domaine’s best whites since 2014, accompanied by his typically measured appraisal of the vintage and the market. Regarding the latter, Brian suggests that prices are due to stabilize but that demand is relentless and quality high - “your top domaines are going to swing and miss on very few vintages”, and with certain domaines guiding particular crus on a specific trajectory, 2017 could be seen as excellent value in a few year’s time.
Of the vintage, Brian says 2017 is built for serious pleasure, with svelte tannins and juicy structure holding plenty of strawberries and raspberries. Preferring to pick early when grapes still have two thirds tartaric acid, and only a third malic acid, he believes the domaine’s 2017 reds have the supple richness and concentration of 2016 with the quantity, acidity and primary red fruit profile of 2011. Easy to understand, balanced and graceful, with alcohol bordering 13%, 2017 is good news for drinkers and yet he sees nothing to suggest the wines won’t age well.
Etienne de Montille meanwhile begins by quoting neighbour Michel Lafarge who said 2017 is “a mix of ‘59 and ‘61”. In his own reds, Etienne sees a rare vintage with plenty of plush, fleshy fruit and early integration, a sense of floral freshness like 2007, but with tension and spiciness due to their preference for varying degrees of whole cluster. This is allied to a rare intensity of minerality and salinity, accompanied by no harsh, square tannins, and so he is delighted by the sense of harmony in the wines. And then there are the whites… “best since 2014”, without quite the same density and volume, but with same transparency, salinity and vivacity.
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