As a wine drinker, you must have heard of famous wines across the world and might have tasted all of them, but have you ever thought about where these wines come from? The answer is Le Montrachet Wine Region.
About Montrachet wine region
The DRC Montrachet Grand Cru and the Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet are two of the best Chardonnay wines in the world, produced in the Montrachet region.
Where is Montrachet wine region it located?
Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is a well-known French wine region with five main wine growing areas:
- Côte de Beaune
- Côte Chalonnaise
- Côte de Nuits
Montrachet is the oldest of the Côte de Beaune’s five Grand Cru appellations. It’s also the second-largest of the five sites, with an area of about eight hectares. (Chevalier-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Criots-Bâtards-Montrachet are the other four Grand Crus.)
The Grand Cru vineyard is located between Meursault and Santenay in the north and south, respectively.
The vineyard is situated mid-slope on Montrachet hill, above the villages of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. It includes property in the communes of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet.
However, the distinction is evident in the way the vines are grown. On the Puligny line, the Montrachet vines extend from east to west. On the Chassagne side (also known as Le Montrachet), the vines are traditionally planted north to south.
The Montrachet Appellation’s Brief History
Montrachet has been producing wine since the Middle Ages! Local landowners gave vine parcels to the Cistercian church of Maizières in the ‘Montrachaz’ field in 1252.
For several years, Montrachet was nothing more than a rugged vineyard with no limits. Both the villages of Puligny and Chassagne added the word “Montrachet” to their names in 1879. Montrachet became an appellation in July 1937.
Today, the Montrachet vineyard is divided into parts or plots, each owned by a different winemaker and produces some of the most desirable white wines in the world. They are as follows:
Plots in Puligny-Montrachet (Montrachet):
- Regnault de Beaucaron
- Mme De Surville
- Marquis De Laguiche Jean Clos de la Mouchère Premier Cru
- Le Cailleret 1er Cru de Puligny-Montrachet
- Maison Bouchard Pere et Fils
- Mm Ramonet Noël et Jean-Claude
- Guillaume (Boillerault de Chauvigny)
Plots in Chassagne-Montrachet (Le Montrachet):
- M Amiot Guy et Mme Monnot Jean-Claude
- M Colin Marc
- Mlle Petitjean Claudine
- Mme Blain-Gagnard Claudine
- Mme Fontaine-Gagnard Laurence
- Mr. Fleurot René
- Ch. de Puligny Montrachet
- Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
- Domaine des Comtes Lafon
- Domaine Jacques Prieur
- Domaine Leflaive
- Domaine Thénard
The Four Grand Crus Surrounding Montrachet
Montrachet is the oldest and probably the most famous of the Côte de Beaune’s five vineyards. However, the other four Grand Crus that surround it produce excellent wine.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
Batard-Montrachet is a Grand Cru that includes the villages of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet. Its terroir is suitable for the Chardonnay grape, which produces complex wines with excellent ageing potential, such as the Corton Charlemagne and Etienne Sauzet Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru.
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot and Girardin are two well-known winemakers in this Grand Cru.
Puligny is home to the Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru appellation. It yields the most concentrated white Burgundies with layers of complexity.
Chevalier-Montrachet wines are similar to Montrachet wines in style and appear to become more complex with age.
Some of the acclaimed wineries in the area include Bouchard Pere et Fils and Domaine Colin-Deleger.
This small Grand Cru vineyard is located entirely within Chassagne-Montrachet and produces some of the best white wines in the world. It is one of the most diminutive Grand Cru vineyards in France, measuring 3.9 acres (1.5 hectares) and producing fewer than 400 cases of wine per year.
Domaine d’Auvenay and Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard are two wineries in the region.
Let’s take a look at what makes Montrachet’s environmental factors (terroir) special.
This is a miniature Grand Cru vineyard entirely within the Puligny-Montrachet appellation. The wines of Bienvenues are also compared to those of Bâtard-Montrachet.
Domaine Paul Pernot and Domaine Louis Carillon et Fils are two well-known wineries in Bienvenues.
Terroir and Viticulture in Montrachet
Montrachet is located at an elevation of 840 feet (256 meters) above sea level, on a standard, even slope. The underlying rocks are Jurassic in age (175 million years BC).
Another distinguishing feature of the Montrachet terroir is manganese’s presence in the soil, which is not present in Chevalier-Montrachet or Batard-Montrachet.
The three-way hills surrounding Montrachet shield the entire city, giving it the best temperature, rainfall, and wind conditions in all of Burgundy.
The vines are angled southeast, allowing them to receive the required sunlight for ripening. The vineyard’s stony limestone soil and slope make for excellent drainage. The vines grow deep, stable roots in order to reach the water and minerals in the limestone.
The limestone soil also aids in reflecting light up to the vine canopy, allowing the grapes to ripen to their full potential. Most vineyards use sustainable and conventional methods to plant the vines, such as using horses instead of tractors, to avoid compacting the ground.
Let’s look at the wines produced in this region.
What are Montrachet wines?
All of Montrachet’s wines are white and made entirely of Chardonnay grapes. The sector produces some of the most exquisite Chardonnay wines in the world. These dry white wines are known for their richness and structure, and a bottle will cost anywhere between $170 and $2900, with rarer vintages costing even more.
Many Montrachet wines are produced in small quantities, such as Domaine Leflaive’s Montrachet Grand Cru wines. Another example is Lucien Le Moine, which becomes highly collectible almost immediately after its publication. Just two barrels of Montrachet DRC Domaine’s Batard Montrachet Grand Cru are produced each year.
What goes into making a Montrachet wine?
Every winemaker in Montrachet has developed his or her unique winemaking techniques. However, the general steps in the procedure are the same.
Take, for example, the winemaking practices of producer Joseph Drouhin at the Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru estate:
On the Puligny side of the appellation, the Marquis de Laguiche estate is situated. It has a gentle slope and excellent exposure to the southeast. The density of plants is 10,000 stocks per hectare, which aids in extracting as much nuance as possible from the terroir.
What is the process of vinification of Montrachet wine?
The grape varietal is picked by hand in small open crates to maintain the fruit’s integrity.
After that, they’re sorted. The grapes are often sorted twice: once when they are picked and then again on the sorting table at the winery.
The pressing is done at a prolonged rate. The juice from the most recent pressings is not included. After débourbage, the wine is immediately transferred to barrels for fermentation (decanting white wine to minimize sediment).
The wines are aged from 15 to 18 months in oak barrels that have been weathered for three years before being used.
So, who are the great Montrachet winemakers whose wines you should seek out?
Montrachet’s Finest Wines
Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru
Domaine Leflaive is among the most wine notable producers on the Côte de Beaune, with its headquarters in Puligny-Montrachet.
Here’s a fun fact: Domaine Leflaive was founded by Joseph Leflaive, who purchased the area’s 1er and Grand Crus to begin winemaking. However, in 1995, his son, Olivier Leflaive, left Domaine to concentrate on his new company, Maison Olivier Leflaive.
In Puligny-Montrachet, this Domaine produces four grand cru and four premier cru wines. It focuses almost exclusively on Chardonnay-based white wines. Leflaive’s best dry white wine is the Montrachet Grand Cru.
Potential for aging: 8+ years
Serve with pasta, fatty fish, and mild, soft cheese.
Taste: The 2014 vintage is lively, with a good minerality. It’s solid and soft, but there’s a lot of lemony acidity in it. The aromas of apricot, raspberry, iodine, and grilled, as well as smoky wood, will delight you.
$10,000+ is the average cost.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru
A tiny plot of land in Montrachet belongs to the prestigious Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The de Villaine and Leroy/Roch families share ownership. Aubert de Villaine and Henri-Frederic Roch currently operate the Domaine.
This Domaine is referred to as “DRC” or “the Domaine” in Burgundy. DRC primarily produces red wine, with Montrachet serving as their sole white wine variety.
Aging potential: 8-20 years. The 2009 vintage is ready to drink now, but it will continue to grow in terms of flavor and complexity until at least 2030.
Taste: Sugar, ripe pineapple, menthol, spearmint, vanilla, caramel, and wild herbs are all present in the 2009 vintage.
Serve with salmon, lobster, and crawfish in a mild butter sauce.
The average cost is $8,000 or more.
Domaine Ramonet Montrachet Grand Cru
The Burgundy appellations of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet are home to Domaine Ramonet. Ramonet’s viticulture is based on old vines and low yields. The top cuvées do not use vines that are less than 18 years old.
Taste: The 2011 vintage is well-structured, balanced, and full-bodied. Honey, truffles, cinnamon, tropical fruits, glycerin, and herbs are layered in this smooth concoction.
15+ years of aging potential The 2011 vintage will taste better as it ages until 2060.
Salads are a good accompaniment.
$2800+ is the average cost.
Domaine des Comtes Lafon Montrachet Grand Cru
Domaine des Comtes Lafon is a Burgundy winery that produces some of the region’s most renowned Chardonnay. The Comtes Lafon began using organic farming methods in 1995 and has been using biodynamic farming since 1988. The Domaine des Comtes Lafon Grand Cru is its most prestigious wine.
Taste: Aromas of citrus and hazelnut oils, white peach, verbena creamed Cavaillon melon, and glazed pear characterize the 2010 vintage.
15+ years of aging potential The 2010 vintage is ready to drink now, but its complexity will continue to grow until 2043.
Serve with a mushroom sauce and salmon.
$2,100+ is the average cost.
Bouchard Pere et Fils Montrachet Grand Cru
This historic Burgundy wine estate was created in 1731 and is the Côte d’Or’s largest vineyard owner.
It produces more than 100 wines, mainly from Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, in appellations such as Maconnais, Côte Chalonnaise, and Beaujolais.
The wines are aged in oak in a cellar at the Château de Beaune, which dates from the 15th century. This cellar was dug directly into the ground, providing ideal temperature and ventilation.
Taste: The 2015 vintage is rich, concentrated, and well-balanced. Popcorn, mandarin rind, buttered apples, peach pit, a floral bouquet of orange blossom, and a touch of fresh oak are among the aromas you’ll enjoy.
Aging: 8+ years The 2015 vintage is ready to drink now, but its flavor and character will strengthen before 2030.
Scallops are a good accompaniment.
The average cost is about $600.
Joseph Drouhin Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet Cru
One of Burgundy’s most influential winemakers is Joseph Drouhin. The Domaine, which was established in Beaune in 1880 and had vineyards in the region of Chablis. The Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits and the Côte Chalonnaise, has spread over the twentieth century.
The Marquis de Laguiche Montrachet Grand Cru is one of many grand cru wines produced by Domaine Joseph Drouhin in the Côte d’Or and Chablis.
Taste: The 2010 vintage is a concentrated, full-bodied wine that is focused, balanced, and well-balanced. Vanilla, plum, sugar, truffles, smokey and buttery tastes abound on the palate.
Aging potential: More than eight years, the 2010 vintage is ready to drink now, but it will age gracefully until 2023. Serve with tartare of red tuna.
Price range: $700 and up
What are the options for purchasing Montrachet wine?
Order it online through merchants
Montrachet wines are available from online wine merchants. Each seller can give you a different price, so make sure you compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best bargain on the vintage you want.
You’ll also have to watch out for fake wines. Choose a reputable merchant that can authenticate your wine bottle.
Visit the Wineries in Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet
The estates in Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet give some of the finest Montrachet Grand Crus and Premier Crus. For wine tasting, visit Domaines Famille Picard or Maison Leflaive Olivier La Maison Hotel et Restaurant.
Look for it on a wine exchange.
Peer-to-peer online marketplaces for wine are known as wine exchanges. Its members exchange wine with private individuals, wine funds, and syndicate groups worldwide. If you go through a wine exchange, you’ll bypass the merchants, brokers, and auction houses.
However, to respect the wines you’re interested in, you’ll need to do your analysis. As a result, this may not be the best choice for someone new to wine collecting or investing.
Use a wine broker to purchase your wine.
If you don’t want to do your preparation and wine buying, you can always hire a wine broker.
Wine brokers are experts in buying and selling wines, and they can help you authenticate the wine. They frequently have access to exclusive wine sales. Since some wines aren’t listed on most online sites due to restricted availability, this is ideal for a fine wine collector.
On the other hand, you’ll have to pay hefty commissions and fees on each order.