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  • Weather

    15° C Light rain
  • Time

    22:34 PM
  • Wine average?

    93.4 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    60
  • Region Ranking?

    22
  • Popularity ranking?

    156

History

As with all good stories, this one takes us on a journey through time. The past, its roots; the present, the new generation; evolution, not revolution... An erudite blend, balanced between tradition and modernity...we dare say it is the continuity of change..

The family's origins can be traced back to the middle of the 17th century at Créancey in the Auxois region, with the Lords of Commeau. Then comes the 18th century. 'The domaine pre-dates the revolution; it was created in the 1750s,' states Hubert de Montille. It was re-named de Montille after the union of Marie Eléonore Chauvelot de Chevannes and Étienne Joseph Marie Léonce Bizouard de Montille, the grandfather of Hubert, on April 9, 1863. 'Montille' as he was known at the time, divided his time between the domaines in Volnay and Créancey and the Société des Agriculteurs de France, of which he was one of the founders.

 

A need to reconstruct
The domaine sat on a veritable treasure, which at the time, was not recognised for its inherent value. Musigny, Bonnes Mares, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru 'les Amoureuses'...in total, 12 hectares of magnificent terroir, planted with Pinot Noir in the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. Though today these parcels make wine lovers (and winemakers) swoon, they were sold off as and when the family's financial situation dictated. 'At the time,' notes Étienne de Montille, 'it was more common to sell vines than fields, as fields were more profitable.' Little by little, the ancestors chipped away at the domaine. In Burgundy, there is a saying: it only takes one generation to undo the work of many.... When Hubert decided to stop this erosion, the family domaine had been reduced to its smallest size of barely 3 hectares, composed of various parcels of Volnay 1er Cru.

 Hubert's arrival is a turning point
Now, if the family tradition demanded that the men should embrace a career in law, then the arrival of Hubert de Montille marked a turning of the page. Granted, he became a lawyer like his father, but he lived a double life between Volnay and Dijon, between the vines and the court. Today there is still fire in his eyes when he speaks of his career as a winegrower. This pioneering and passionate man has engraved each vintage in his memory. Beginning with his first harvest in 1947, he broke with the custom of selling wine to negociants. Hubert de Montille was one of the first to believe in the future of the bottle. This new in-house strategy played an important role in the future of the domaine. 'When you sell your wine in bottles, and not in bulk, the approach is completely different,' explains Étienne.

 

The 1950s
The 1950s saw the birth of a new type of viticulture. The domaine Hubert de Montille made its mark throughout Burgundy. 'My father is a man of character and taste. He very quickly understood that what he wanted to do was to make wines that he loved, not necessarily wines that would sell easily,' remarks Étienne. 'His wines are not technical or round. On the contrary, they are authentic and improve with time, even if, on occasion, they can seem pretentious in their first flush of youth.' The wines of Hubert de Montille have personality.

Terroir, always the terroir
It is this radically different approach that propelled the domaine to nestle amongst the great domaines of Burgundy. At a point when 90% of the region's wines were sold to negociants, who mades wines that could be described as stylistically standardized, the 'little' domains began to make wine that was radically different. Their idea was to revitalize this very particular Burgundian notion called 'terroir.' Each appellation, each 'climat' (a small parcel of land, sometimes even smaller than an appellation), that the monks classified and cultivated for over a millennia, gives a wine its distinct personality. Étienne explains, 'Above all my father looked to respect the authenticity of each of his terroirs by making wines of moderate alcohol, elegance and refined aromatic purity.'

 

« Homemade »...
Étienne and Alix de Montille learned about viticulture from an early age. But Hubert never would have passed his children the baton without them first learning 'a real profession'. And, while the children followed in the family footsteps by orienting themselves towards legal careers, the inevitable return to the vine came quickly.

In 1983, after a year in the USA, Étienne started working at the domaine. He learned from his father and through his oenology studies until 1990, when he took over the vinifications. In 1995, he became co-manager and began to move the domaine towards organic farming. He also started to adapt the vinifications to his own way of thinking.

In 2001, he returned full-time to Burgundian soil to devote himself to the domaine and the Château de Puligny-Montrachet. He took full control and asserted his style and philosophy: biodynamic farming, whole cluster fermentation to add aromatics and silkier wines with less austerity. All the while, he remained true to the vision he learned by his father's side: authenticity, purity, elegance and balance.

In 2003, Alix also returned to her childhood love, Volnay. She and Étienne created 'Deux Montille Sœur-Frère', a negociant house devoted primarily to white wines. 'All our Sœur-Frère grapes are rigorously selected, harvested and vinified with the same know-how and philosophy as our domaine grapes,' explains Alix. Since 2006 she has taken over responsibility for the domaine's whites, notably the precious Puligny-Montrachet Cailleret Premier Cru and Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. With Étienne watching over the reds and Alix the whites, the family history will continue.

In 2003, Étienne began to enlarge the domaine with exceptional vineyards and then in 2005 brought back into the fold some Clos Vougeot from the Côte de Nuit and a parcel just next to la Tâche in Vosne-Romanée "Les Malconsorts" !

In 2011, the domaine counted 20 hectares of vines, of which 75% were Premiers or Grands Crus from both Côtes.

 

 

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Winemaking

The Vines / Over the course of 20 years (1985-2005), Domaine de Montille progressively – and naturally – turned to organics and then to biodynamics. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic fungicides were completely abandoned so that the soil and vines could return to their more natural state. Today the Domaine claims a complete rupture with traditional agriculture but not to such an extent that they make biodynamics a "religion". In 2012, the Domaine will be certified as "Ecocert Bio". Above all, this is an agricultural methodology applied from a pragmatic approach: listen to the soil and the plants, promote and encourage the development of the vineyards and work in harmony with the natural cycles of the planets and phases of the moon to reinforce the vineyards.

 

Getting to know Pierre Clair, Vineyard Manager

Organics hold no more secrets for Pierre Clair. Since his arrival at Domaine de Montille in 2003, after studying a BTS in viticulture and oenology at the CFPPA in Beaune in 2002, Pierre has worked tirelessly to ensure that the soil and the vines continue to claim back what is theirs. Today he sees that the plants have rediscovered their strength and balance and can better fight stress and disease. Consequently, they have much less need of him... well, almost.

Burgundy is progressing from 'conventional chemicals' to 100% natural. What is the philosophy at Domaine de Montille?

Organics means banishing all synthetic chemicals not found in nature, except for copper sulphate. That's to say it is forbidden to use chemical fertilizers and synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.

Over 20 years ago in 1985, the Domaine began moving into organic farming and, since 2005, has implemented biodynamics. The 2011 vintage will be the first to be certified as organic because it is a very long process to gain certification. I am really pleased to work at a domaine that is conscious of environmental issues. I have always been totally convinced that we could return to something simple and healthy. Meeting with Étienne de Montille in 2003 only accelerated that belief: he wanted to go deeper into the concept of organics and evolve the domaine towards biodynamics. This thinking had always been my credo.

 

What are organic and biodynamic farming?

Organic farming forbids the use of herbicides, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides that are made up of synthetic chemical molecules. It is a total rupture with 'traditional agriculture', meaning chemical agriculture, since its introduction in the 1960s.

Biodynamics is organic farming plus:

PLUS using preparations that are supposed to revitalize and improve the behaviour of the plant in its environment

PLUS being attentive to the natural cycles of the planet and the moon and to work in harmony with these phases; reducing inputs; and reinforcing the plants' health so they produce better grapes

PLUS operating according to the rhythm and phases of the wine in the winery and cellar rather than on a pre-determined schedule

Our approach to biodynamics is pragmatic, it is an agriculture focused on technique and not on 'religion'.

 

How has this transition taken place at Domaine de Montille?
We didn't start from scratch. In fact the vines were already 'healthy' because the soils had always been ploughed and no herbicides had been used. Then in 1985, the domaine stopped using chemical fertilizers and moved to compost. Finally, the big leap happened in 1995 when Étienne, who was named joint manager that year, decided to stop using synthetic pesticides or fungicides. Nonetheless, during the first three years after we banished fertilizers, we truly purged the soils. Little by little, we introduced horse manure and vegetable composts each autumn to improve soil structure. This helped re-oxygenate the soil, giving it a second breath, and helping it to come back to life. In the end, we obtained more homogenous plant development and less degeneration. Now, the plants look after themselves, naturally.

Biodynamics, can you explain to us what it implies?
We want to 'erase' the errors of 'progress'. We want to find permanent solutions, respectful of the planet, and restart with a beneficial circle sustainable for the long term. However, it is not always obvious when fighting against market economics and large producers and consortiums. But, when I see rabbits returning to the vines, I feel reassured! We try to go as far as possible every year. We try new things. Sometimes it is like a poker game: a storm can destroy everything in an instant. But once you have a good team in place, you go for it. We get up early in the morning and sometimes we finish late, very late! At the end of the day it is the hand of man, his experience and his know-how that are the most important.

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7 different wines with 24 vintages

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine de Montille  . In a tasting of  31 wines 

In Burgundy, 2010 prices rose, but not by much. Growers were already aware of the deficit in quantity when they announced their 2009 prices, so a gentle shading upwards (I speak in Euros), was the order of the day, except that the elastic between the village wines and the less fashionable premiers crus on the one hand, and the grands crus and top village premiers crus on the other, continues to widen. You will pay increasingly higher prices for Richebourg, Puligny-Montrachet, Les Folatières and Vosne-Romanée, Les Beaumonts, while Savigny-Lès-Beaune, premier cru and Paul Jacqueson's Rully, La Pucelles remain a bargain.

4m 16d ago

 Chris May / Wine Dealer, Pro (Netherlands)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine de Montille  . In a tasting of  33 wines 

“Some of the greates wines I have tasted during 2016.”

1y 19d ago

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine de Montille  . In a tasting of  16 wines 

“In 2010 prices rose in Burgundy, but not by much. Growers were already aware of the deficit in quantity when they announced their 2009 prices, so a gentle shading upwards (I speak in Euros), was the order of the day, except that the elastic between the village wines and the less fashionable premiers crus on the one hand, and the grands crus and top village premiers crus on the other, continues to widen. You will pay increasingly higher prices for Richebourg, Puligny-Montrachet, Les Folatières and Vosne-Romanée, Les Beaumonts, while Savigny-Lès-Beaune, premier cru and Paul Jacqueson's Rully, La Pucelles remain a bargain.”

1y 2m ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine de Montille  . In a tasting of  37 wines 

“This year’s La Paulee was in San Francisco, and on the Friday night before the big gala, a few lucky gentlemen were invited to dinner at Quince, thanks to the efforts of Tom Terrific and Dapper Dave. Magnums were the theme, and Burgundy was the given. There weren’t too many wines to forgive, as almost everything showed spectacularly. Accordingly, this was an evening no one would forget.”

1y 5m ago

 Rajiv Kehr, Pro (India)  tasted  11 wines  from  Domaine de Montille  . In a tasting of  11 wines 

“A brief view of the wines we enjoyed at 1760 in San Francisco in the company of Etienne de Montille who shared our table of 4.

Chateau de Puligny Montrachet was purchased in 1993 and Jean-Marc Roulot made the wine till 1998.

A flight of Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret 2007, 2002 & 1996 was served with seared Ahi Tuna as the 1st course. I was surprised how spicy the 2007 was. Initially expressing floral notes balanced with white pepper and mineral. With time the wine started to display some of the characteristics of the 1996. A great future ahead of this but for the moment for my taste 92 points. Etienne liked the wine very much. The 2002 was the preferred wine for a lady on my table as it expressed more opulence with buttery and creamy notes with a touch of honey on the finish. 94 points. However for me since I tend to prefer wines with more age I thought the 96 was utterly delightful. A vivid complex floral nose with a bright long finish. Power yet harmonious. 97 points.”

1y 6m ago

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