The Montrachet family consists of grand five Grands Crus grown in the two villages of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. These two share the Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet appellations. Chevalier and Bienvenues belong to Puligny, Criots belongs to Chassagne. These Grands Crus are the most southerly of the Côte-d'Or, and lie between Meursault in the north and Santenay in the south. Their origins go back to the Middle Ages - the work of the Cistercian abbey of Maizières and the Lords of Chagny. The wines of Montrachet (pronounced Mon-rachay) came fully into their own in the 17th century. There is no argument : this is the finest expression of the Chardonnay grape anywhere on earth. The Grand Cru appellations date from 31 July, 1937.
The underlying rocks date from the Jurassic, 175 million years BC. Exposures lie to the east and the south. Altitudes: 265-290 metres (Chevalier) ; 250-270 metres (Montrachet) ; 240-250 metres (Bâtard, Bienvenues, Criots). In the " Climat " of Montrachet, the soils are thinnish and lie on hard limestone traversed by a band of reddish marl. In Chevalier, the soils are thin and stony rendzinas derived from marls and marly-limestones. In the Bâtard " climat " soils are brown limestone which are deeper and, at the foot of the slope, more clayey.
The power and aromatic persistence of these lofty wines demands aristocratic and sophisticated dishes with complex textures : « pâté » made from fattened goose liver, of course, and caviar. Lobster, crawfish, and large wild prawns, with their powerful flavours and firm textures, pay well-deserved homage to the wine and match its opulence. Firm-fleshed white fish such as monkfish would be equally at home in their company. And let us not forget well-bred and well-fattened free-range poultry whose delicate flesh, with the addition of a cream-and-mushroom sauce, will be lapped up in the unctuous and noble texture of this wine. Even a simple piece of veal, fried or in sauce, would be raised to heavenly heights by the Montrachet's long and subtle acidity.
Serving temperature : 12 to 14 °C.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is without question the most famous estate in Burgundy and arguably the greatest, producing some of the best wines in the world. It is probably one of the most traditional wineries in France. Wines are produced in small quantities while the demand is huge. The domaine has 25 hectares of vineyards, all Grand Crus, including the jewel in the crown, the 1.8 hectare monopole of Romanée Conti.
Romanée-Conti, a vineyard of four and a half acres,was originally the property of the Abbey of St. Vivant. In 1760 Prince Conti acquired it against the competition of a famous collector of jewellery, Madame de Pompadour – the king’s minister against the king’s mistress. He withdrew it from the market and reserved it for his own dazzling social events. It was he who created the myth surrounding Romanée-Conti.
The price of this tiny, treasured vineyard was 80.000 livres, which in those days was worth a small kingdom. Reclaimed as property of the nation during the Revolution, the vineyard passed through the hands of several proprietors to an ancestor of the present owner for 14.000 gold pounds in 1868.
In June 1940 began the journey of 16-year-old André Noblet from estate´s cellar caretaker to chief winemaker. The moment was not exactly favourable for the young man, as in July France was occupied by Germany. This single-minded and intelligent young man wanted to learn as quickly as he could all there was to know about the making of the estate´s wines, and Louis Clin did not spare his efforts, time or knowledge from this eager and gifted youth. As early as 1946 André vinified his first wines under Mr. Clin´s supervision. André Noblet finally took over the whole responsibility for the estate´s wines after the death of Louis Clin.
–We are the keeper of a certain philosophy of wine and, mainly, we are concerned by the perfection in details" assures Aubert de Villaine.
Aubert de Villaine became co-director of the domaine in 1974. His goal at the domaine is to bottle a wine that has had almost no manipulation, but is the result of perfectly balanced, healthy fruit. At the domaine everything is directed at producing great wines which are ideal for keeping. Biodynamics, used over the last ten years, has led to a change in direction under the new leadership of Henry Frédéric-Roch, one of the domaine's co-managers, together with Aubert de Villaine.
Production area: 1.8 ha
Grape varieties: Pinot Noir
Average age of vines: 54 years
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
1, Rue Derrière le Four
Tel. + 33 3 8062 4880
Fax + 33 3 8061 0572