Domaine de Montmains is in Villars-Fontaine in the hills behind where all the action takes place on the Cote d’Or. Mathieu said “I feel our appellation is worth zero. But our wines are worth more than that.” In the past, I have enjoyed some beautiful Haute-Cotes-de-Nuits wines and when we visited Domaine de Montmains I was totally in love with their wines too. We enjoyed an array of wines from 2014 back to 1996. In fact, the best wine was a 1999 Gamay in half bottle. But the overall result was a stunning array of whites and reds. Some looked like the more classic Cote d’Or wines, some were uniquely of the site they grew up in and on. Of the older wines we tasted, they proved they have the ability to age gracefully and I get the impression we will see more of these wines as time goes on.
Aligote doesn’t get a lot of love but I have now tasted a handful of gorgeous examples. This one from Domaine de Montmains actually drinks like a White Burgundy made from Chardonnay. This is in part due to the fact they have planted the Aligote in a good site (rather than just sticking Chard in the ground) and they have also given it plenty of love and time in the winery so you get a wine with depth of flavour and building some texture on to the ordinarily boney Aligote palate. At 5 years of age, it is ready to go right now. The combination of acidity and texture is great for seafood in a rich sauce.
The high slopes above Burgundy’s main Cote d’Or. Traditionally it was way too cold to ripen grapes with any consistency. But that is changing. And some sites are making stunning wines. The style is often a leaner, more elegant take on Burgundy. However, in the right year, the richness of the sun can come through into your glass. This might be where we are sourcing the great wines of Burgundy in 50-100 years from now.
The classic part of Burgundy known as the Cote d’Or (the slope of gold) is essentially one vineyard that is 60km long and maybe 5km at its widest. From this limestone ridge, some of the most complex, long-lived and aromatic wines are produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Cistercian monks who owned the land codified the entire region and so each small plot has a name.
A variety that shares the same parent as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but not their glorious outlook on wine. Making mealy, lean, mineral and citric wines that tend to lack fruit. Aligote is rarely described as a great wine, perhaps because the best terroirs are planted to other grapes?