2018 Domaine de Montille, Beaune Premier Cru “Les Grèves” Red Burgundy, France.
Etienne’s 2018 Beaune Premier Cru Les Grèves Rouge is a beautiful and detailed red Burgundy that absolutely shows its class and is remarkably poised for such a young wine with a gorgeous textural quality and depth of fruit already in evidence on the lively, but satiny medium bodied palate. First impressions here are of potential and I was easily seduced by the bouquet and the beautiful entry with its lovely red fruits, rose petals and bright spiciness from the use of whole bunches in the fermentation. The De Montille Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves has silky round layers of Italian cherries, crushed raspberry and tangy strawberry fruits along with touches of mineral, herbs, blood orange and very well judged wood accenting, making for a regal and elegant Burgundy and one that should fill out in every dimension over the next 5 to 10 years, though one that seems to be complete and complexity enough to be enjoyed in its early life, it especially would be exciting with cuisine. This dark ruby colored Burgundy is ripe in aromatic and taste terms, highlighting the vintage and the showcases the underlying terroir, which is marked by the clay and limestone soils here that are very chalky, and as with all of De Montille’s farming, this parcel is all organic and biodynamic. Like his father’s classic style, Etienne De Montille used loads of whole clusters here, is this vintage, with about 66%, and it saw a native yeast primary fermentation, which is traditionally done here, along with a lengthy maceration period and diligent (daily) gentle hand punch-downs. After about 15 to 20 days on the skins the wine is pressed and racked to barrel, with about 25% new being used, as is per normal for the Domaine De Montille. The De Montille wines are always around 12% natural alcohol and the they usually see about 18 months in the oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered, all of which seem to be geared for graceful aging and this 2018 Le Grèves with its sense of pedigree is looking good to live up to this domaine’s reputation.

Domaine de Montille, located in Volnay, is one of the most respected wineries in the world, not just one of the top domaines in Burgundy, but also sparking a huge amount of pride within France. The De Montilles, with a family heritage that dates back to the 17th century in the region and a winemaking tradition and history since 1750, but it wasn’t until Hubert de Montille, a well known lawyer, took over in 1947 that the estate started to rise in quality, joining some of the elite domaines in the Cote d”Or. Dedicated to wine and committed to excellence, Hubert began a run of producing long lived and highly sought after Burgundies, making some of the best reds within the Pommard, Beaune and Volnay crus ever seen. I have been lucky enough to taste a few of Hubert’s finest efforts, including his 1990 Volnay, 1er Cru, Les Taillepieds, which was a bit near the end of its life, but was absolutely heavenly. Now, De Montille is run by Hubert’s son Etienne, who has maintained the heritage here and in some cases eclipsed his famous father with some excellent wines of his own. It should not be overlooked that, Hubert’s equally accomplished daughter Alix, who’s married to Jean-Marc Roulot, joined as the winemaker for the white wines, which have almost become the equal of the reds. Etienne, also a lawyer, has also carved out some new high quality parcels, which have ben added to their impressive collection of mainly Premier Cru vineyard plots, which now includes two Grand Crus, Corton and Clos Vougeot to go with all those exceptional Premiers. Over the years, I have enjoyed many of these wines and I have developed a personal taste for a few of them in particular and this Les Grèves Beaune 1er Cru is one of my favorites, along with the Volnay, 1er Cru, Les Mitans, the Pommard, 1er Cru, Les Pézerolles, the Beaune, 1er Cru, Les Sizies, which is one of the best values in the lineup, and the Cote de Nuits grown Nuits St Georges bottlings. The winery now has 20 hectares of land in 20 appellations, impressively Etienne and Alix have 75% in Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyard sites. I hope to see this beauty again in a dozen or so years time, it should reward the patient and savvy Burgundy fans.
($125 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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