Tasting at de Montille is always an education as the opportunity to sample across the Cote d’Or, the domaine’s consistently top class reds and whites, gives an unrivalled perspective on the quality and style of the vintage, accompanied by Brian Sieve’s typically measured appraisal. Only marginally affected by the frosts of 2016 and 2017, the domaine has enjoyed fairly homogeneous yields across the last three vintages. Great fruit set and warmer evenings but not the relentless heat that affected some sites established the tone for the domaine’s wines, and as ever, Brian is strict about picking based on the acidity profile of the grapes, which has ensured balanced wines with the correct pH and alcohol levels under 13.3%. Elegance, focus and energy epitomise the domaine’s wines and they were a pleasure to taste as always.
(NB - We spent even longer at the domaine this year as Etienne and Brian had agreed to complete the élevage of the barrels of Hospice de Beaune 2019 wines we hoped to buy at the forthcoming auction for our syndicate members. As experienced tasters of the Hospice wines, they also had useful advice on preferred cuvées, which was another factor in our choices. We later bid successfully on the barrels we wanted (Pommard 1er Cru and a rather fantastic Meursault) and they will be making their way to de Montille for completion…)
A vineyard that is famous courtesy of Domaine Lafarge, although less than 10% of its production is white. Etienne is one among a growing number (ourselves very much included) who are pleased to see the premier crus of Beaune starting to regain the exalted reputation they once held. Right below hillside of Beaune, behind the rugby stadium, there are heavier soils, but on top of limestone. Somewhere in between the power of Corton Charlemagne and the elegance and floral character of the famed wines of Cotes de Blanc, but about half the price of a Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru of similar quality. A small amount of new oak adds to the wine’s generosity but the style is deliberately kept quite lean and saline to ensure the mineral qualities of the vineyard are what linger. The narrative and value proposition are compelling and if you are not already on the “beaunewagon” – Aigrots will tip you over the line. As Brian says, with a good yield (above 40hl/ha) you get a great, under the radar, minerally wine. There is a refreshing touch of smokiness to the fruit, good stony drive all the way through. Great length, and spicy, citrussy acids keep the fruit in check. Really nice again this year. Tom, Wine Guru
The 2018 Beaune Les Aigrots Blanc 1er Cru has a clean, fresh bouquet of apple blossom, nectarine and light granite aromas, all well defined and nicely focused. The balanced palate delivers a fine bead of acidity, good weight and a slightly waxy texture. There is just a touch of salinity on the finish, completing this well-crafted and satisfying Les Aigrots Blanc. 89-91/100, Neal Martin, Vinous
93/100, Tim Atkin MW