Wine Advocate 92 points - The de Montille 2007 Corton-Charlemagne originates with 30 year old vines. (First estate-bottling of fruit originating in a neighboring portion of Corton Pougets that was grafted to Chardonnay from Pinot is not anticipated until the 2010 vintage.) Fresh apricot, grapefruit, tangerine, and hints of flowers and chalk dust in the nose carry onto a palate that manages to combine a surprising sense of viscosity, underlying mineral density, and subtle oiliness of texture with energy and refreshment. Bittersweet citrus rind adds to the sense of invigoration and grip in a palpably mineral finish that – perhaps not so surprising given its location on this grand cru massif – is almost red wine-like. ”We feel confident that the terroir serves for a good sense of minerals,” comments de Montille, ”and now what we want to work on is the finesse, the lift.” That aptly sums up this impressively-concentrated, muscular and sinewy wine which should be well worth revisiting over the course of at least the next 8-10 years.
Siblings Alix and Etienne de Montille are vital members of Burgundys younger generation to whom the torch has now been passed. They are currently involved with three significant Burgundian enterprises, beginning with their home estate, the Domaine de Montille located in Volnay, which has been in the family for about 300 years. Since 1947, under the impassioned leadership of their father Hubert de Montille, the estate has been dedicated to the production of very fine, genuine and age-worthy Burgundy. Though they have established their own distinct paths, his two children are carrying forward many of their fathers ideals. Etienne, who started to make wine with him in 1983, began managing the estate in 1995 with the help of his mother, Christiane. In 2002 Etienne, at the time a Parisian lawyer by profession, decided to return full time to Burgundy. Today he shares ownership and management of the Domaine with his sister Alix who is responsible for its white wines.
Though the size is still quite small, the vineyards of Domaine de Montille are located in prime areas: 0.8 ha in Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret; 3 ha in Volnay 1er Cru (Champans, Mitans, Taillepieds - about 0.70 ha each, and smaller holdings in Carelles and Brouillards); 2.3 ha in Pommard 1er Cru (Pezerolles and Rugiens about 1 ha each, and 0.25 ha in Grands Epenots); 0.8 ha of Bourgogne and 0.2 ha of Volnay village. The acquisition in 2003 of 2.2 ha in two vineyards located in the prime areas of Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies (1.5 ha) and Beaune 1er Cru Les Perrieres (0.7 ha) complemented the array of terroirs. Subsequent additions include plots in the neighboring Grand Cru Corton and, thanks to the purchase in 2005 of a range of vineyards belonging to Thomas-Moillard, also extend north into the Cotes de Nuits.
The de Montille approach aims at producing hand-crafted, classical and authentic Burgundy that expresses the subtle but fabulous nuances in personality of their different terroirs. Various fashionable trends have been deliberately avoided as with any excess of technology that conceals or flattens the identity of the wines. Year after year the commitment is to move forward in an attempt to produce pure, elegant, naturally balanced, sappy, vibrant wines that develop a unique harmony and complexity with age. Vintages since 1998 show the intention to make wine that is more accessible when young without departing from the familys traditional convictions.
The Domaine moved to organic farming in 1995 and more recently to bio-dynamic farming. Total respect of the raw material from grapes to wine is key, with every effort made to produce the ripest, most balanced and healthiest fruit. Winemaking then consists of understanding the characteristics of the vintage and the identity of the various terroirs and working accordingly with minimal intervention. Technology is only valued if it contributes to bringing out the authentic expression of the wines. A moderate percentage of new oak is used (about 20 to 30%). The wines are given long aging, late malolactic fermentation and are often bottled without filtration or fining. These wines are made with an artisanal approach and could not be more different than those that are mass produced.