Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru 'Les Aigrots' blanc
- Burgundy, France
A vineyard that is famous courtesy of Domaine Lafarge, although less than 10% of its production is white. Etienne is one among a growing number (ourselves very much included) who are pleased to see the premier crus of Beaune starting to regain the exalted reputation they once held. Somewhere in between the power of Corton Charlemagne and the elegance and floral character of the famed wines of Cotes de Blanc, but about half the price of a Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru of similar quality. A small amount of new oak adds to the wine’s generosity but the style is deliberately kept quite lean and saline to ensure the mineral qualities of the vineyard are what linger.
The narrative and value proposition are compelling and if you are not already on the “beaunewagon” – Aigrots will tip you over the line.
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.
|Wine Type||White wines|
Domaine de Montille
A 75% Premier/Grand Crus Domaine
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