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The origins of the Mommessin négociant business date back to 1865 when Jean-Marie Mommessin, originally of Oyé in the Charollais, set up a business specialising in marc and other alcohols in the Mâconnais. Turning to wine in the 1920s, his son Joanny set about acquiring vineyards in Pouilly-Fuissé and in the Beaujolais. In 1932, in the middle of an economic crisis which had affected the wine trade as much as everything else, his attention was drawn by a broker he often used to use, a M. Cyrot, to the forthcoming sale of the de Blic wine domaine. This consisted of the Château de Pommard, vines in Pommard, Rugiens, Clos-Saint-Denis, Chambertin and Clos de Tart. On Tuesday 25 October he found himself at the town-hall in Morey. No one else was interested in the Clos de Tart (the Clos Saint-Denis and Chambertin vines were acquired by the Groffier family and the Château de Pommard by that of Laplanche) and so Mommessin was able to buy the Clos de Tart without having to undergo a Dutch auction. The price was 400,000 Francs, equivalent to roughly one million Francs today.

The vineyard, neglected by Chauvenet, was in disarray. "I remember we only made 11 barrels in 1933," said the 99 year old Henri Mommessin, son of Joanny, when I last made a comprehensive tasting of the wines in1997. Mommessin engaged Cyrot, already régisseur here and at the Château de Pommard at the time of the Blics, as his local manager, and two of the seven or so hectares were replanted in 1935. Cyrot was succeeded by his deputy Alfred Seguin in 1965, Seguin by Henri Perraut on his retirement four years later, and Perraut by Sylvain Pitiot in 1996.

The Mommessin family divided their vineyard and merchant business activities in the 1990s. Though they sold the latter to Boisset the Clos de Tart remains firmly their own, divided between the successors of the three children of Joanny Mommessin. For a decade or so Clos de Tart was sold through Boisset, but since 2007 it has been sold independently, with some 20 percent going direct to French private customers.

by Clive Coates MW



The subsoils are made of a very old decomposed granit rock, similar to that of the Alpes, and it is perfectly suited to this lively varietal called Gamay. The world's Gamay cartography indicates the Beaujolais is the indisputed kingdom of this varietal. 

The soils in this region are diverse and varied : alluvial deposits in the East, limestone influences combined with iron and shale in the North. The terroir is wide, the nuances are infinite, yet the most symbolic is the granit, on which the varietal Gamay is thriving with fervour. 



Burgundian tradition, Beaujolais soul, our House invites you to discover a great exception at the heart of a wonderful vineyard. Fuity and easy drinking wines, our Beaujolais wines conceal beautiful surprises. Offering complex wines, which are reminiscent of Grands Crus and making a king of the Gamay varietal, this is our challenge!

Beaujolais wines of exception, unexpected, unsuspected, this is what we invite you to taste. Great Beaujolais that we produce in accordance with the principles of conservation of nature and in the service of an unique terroir; aesthetes and connaisseurs wines which encapsulate our vineyard tradition and identity. 


Inside information

How has the Clos de Tart wine-making changed in recent years?

Until the end of the 1970s, the wine was produced by the chapeau immergé technique. A grill some two thirds of the way up the vat prevented the skins etc. from rising to the top. There could be remontage (pumping over) but no pigeage (treading down). This resulted in very aromatic wine but was less effective in extracting colour and tannin, yet it suited the Mommessin style which was always for wine which was more elegant than muscular.

Mommessin reverted to traditional methods at the end of the 1970s, gradually introducing more sophisticated methods of temperature control and movement of the wine, maceration at a maximum of 32°C rather than 35° from around 1990 onwards, and the table de tri since the 1996 vintage. At the same time as the temperatures of maceration have been reduced, the time on the skins etc has been increased, and always, except in weak vintages, has there been 100 percent new oak for the grand vin. Similarly, Sylvain Pitiot prefers natural yeasts. "I am very much against artificial yeasts," he told me on my last visit. "They banalize the wine;"


While in the past the fruit tended to be largely de-stemmed, save for about ten percent added as much for physical purposes - to aerate the vat - as anything else, Pitiot has recently begun to vinify as much as 50 percent, as in 2009, using whole clusters. "It all depends on the vintage."

In the vineyard the work is as biodynamic as possible, but Pitiot wants to retain the freedom to use some of the biodynamicaaly banned treatments if he is forced to, as was essential in 2008. "I call it culture integré, one up from the lutte raisonné." We used to pick later in the old days, he adds. This gave us firmer tannins - sometimes a bit solid. Now we have more control over the yield, the wines are concentrated but purer and more supple. He adds that he likes long, drawn-out malos. One obtains a more subtle wine.


4 different wines with 61 vintages

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