Domaine de Montille dinner - Confrerie des Chevalier du Tastevin, Singapore

Harbour Grill, Hilton Hotel

Tasted July 25, 2009 by Paul S with 733 views

Introduction

Interesting educational dinner for Elsa and I. De Montille has always been rather pricey, so this was a good chance to taste through a wide range of their wines along with some well-prepared food. Food was great, it was good to catch up with our hosts, Charles and Michele as well.

Some thoughts on the wines. I was very impressed by two out of the three of the de Montille whites. Perhaps a reflection of the skills that Etienne de Montille picked up while working with Chateau de Puligny Montrachet. I like the style. They all had the typical 2006 fat, but still had great aromatics, plenty of focus and lots of stylish class. In that way, I thought the wines also made a nod towards the whites of Domaine Roulot, whose winemaker, Jean-Marc, was married to Etienne's sister, Alix de Montille. One white, the PM Les Caillerets was disappointing. Strange, given that it has been highly rated over the past few vintages - no noticeable flaws, but perhaps an off bottle?

The reds were a little harder to read. All were good, some really very good, puching within their class for sure, but precious few were outstanding. I thought all of them, including the Pommards and Cortons, showed a light touch. Almost Volnaysien. Certainly classy, again classy and well-defined, with some amount of purity and clarity, and little oak or extraction noticeable in the wines. While they carried the low acid style of 2006, all the wines had a nice balance. The Volnays, in particular, I thought had good typicity. By all accounts, a style I should like, except for a little niggling issue with an unusual sweetness, almost candied, in many of the wines. Not full-blown, new world articifical stuff, but enough to stand out. Was that imparted by the vintage or the maker? The jury is still out on that.

All in all, I came out of the dinner with a lot of positives. I like the Domaine, I like its wines. Just not sure about the pricing though - for that amount, one does expect something special. Maybe other vintages do show a spark that is missing in the 2006s. Until I see that though, it will be difficult to fork out the asking price on these wines.

Flight 1 - Apperitif (1 note)

White
2006 Maison Jean-Claude Fromont Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru
88 points
Not a bad Chardonnay as Chardonnays go. Not even a bad Burg - but just lacking in Chablis character. Sure, there was a chalky minerality and some stones on the nose, but that was laced through with tons of ripe notes - sweet lemons, honey, honeysuckle, toasty flavours and, with some time in the glass, the slightest hint of premox with dried apricots and peaches showing up. The palate showed the warm wash of alcohol from the attack, along with ripe red apples and some iodine notes. Good acidity for a 2006, but a little disjointed at first, with a some tartness sticking out awkwardly. With time, the wine came into balance, and showed better, with some gunpowder and mineral and bready tones moving into a satisying finish. Lacks interest and typicity though.

Flight 2 - Amuse Bouche - not sure what it was, some cream emulsion thingy with spice, but it paired perfectly (1 note)

White
2006 Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru Les Aigrots Blanc France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru
91 points
I really liked this. Started out nicely, but got really very good as it sat in the glass. Lovely nose. Lots of depth and character, with deep cahlky mineral notes, earth, straw mushrooms and a touch of flowers. Lots of personality on the palate as well. Sweet apples, lots of spice notes like nutmeg and cloves, ripe lemons, mineral - all nicely integrated, with plenty of complexity and a good sense of structure. Pretty good acid for a 2006 as well. I thought there was a little bit of heat at the back of the mouth, but so slight that it did not distract. In fact, the wine remained very alive and interesting all the way into a smashing finish with plenty of length - with spice and mineral notes lingering in a lovely interplay of flavours. Very good indeed.

Flight 3 - Sauteed Burgundy escargots, forest mushrooms, semi-dried tomatoes, lettuce and red wine sauce (3 notes)

Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er Cru Les Brouillards France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
91 points
The most immediately charming of the fight of Volnays, and probably of all the reds over the evening. Nose was very high-toned, very Volnay, with perfumed notes of crushed flowers, stewed cherries, a touch of metallic mineral and some dired earth. Great aromatics here, but it just struck me as being on the sweet side. Much the same on the palate. Very good clarity of flavours, with fleshy, sappy sweet strawberries and more crushed flowers seasoned with a touch of spice. Again, rather high-toned, but nicely held up with fine tannins. Balance was pretty good too. Just a hint of heat at the finish speaking of the vintage, but otherwise, plenty of sweetness at the end, with candied notes of boiled sweets and sweet cherries along with a touch of pepper and a long minerally tail. Rather obvious sweetness aside, a good wine that would benefit from some age.
Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er Cru Les Mitans France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
90 points
Good, but I thought this was the weakest of the Volnay flight. Nose was lower-toned and less expressive than the Brouillards, but perhaps with a little more depth. Dried earth, a dusting of mushrooms and dusky red fruits were wrapped in a tightish package. There were some suggestions of nobility there, but the palate quickly dispelled that. Yummy enough, but a little too clumsy for this to be a great wine. It attack with sparkly acidity, fresh-cut flowers and a high-toned cola and cherry / raspberry fruit that was quite a departure from the nose. Fruits were a little chunky and lacking in complexity, especially past the soft mid-palate and into the finish, which showed quite a bit of peppery spice and pepper layered over firmish tannins and a wash of heat. Balance was decent, but true to its vintage, acid was on the low side. At the moment, this was a good, yummy drink. It will probably get better with time, but I am not sure it will ever be a great wine.
Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er Cru Champans France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
92 points
My favourite of the Volnays. The Broulliards was drinking better and showing more expressively at the moment, but this had more depth, structure and a finer balance to my palate. On the nose, lots of depth, with some toast, red fruits, earth and sweet cherries. All a bit buried at the moment though. Palate was a good deal more opened. Sparkly, tingly acid on the attack. Did not quite translate to freshness for the wine, but balance was decent though, especially given the fact that there was lots of sappy fruits - sweet dark cherries I thought, and a nice concentrated depth to the wine. Still very primary now, but there was a sense of an inner complexity that I thought both the Broulliards and Mitans lacked. Finish was very decent, starting out with a mineral tone and frim tannins, but gathering sweetness through the night, with strawberries and cream and then a slight candied edge to it. Enjoyable on the night, but I would give it some time.

Flight 4 - Jerusalem artichoke veloute, Confit of duck leg and croutons (3 notes)

Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Beaune 1er Cru Grèves France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru
91 points
One of the surprise performers of the night. I really liked this - it showed very solidly, even when put side by side with two Pommard 1er Crus in the same flight. Nose showed lots of concentration, with earth, mineral, grassy herbs and some soy and mushroom. Lovely balance on the palate. Nicely rounded, but with some tannins giving support to flavours of cherries and strawberries sprinkled with spice - lots of complexity here. Finish was decent as well, with more delicious spice notes. Great with food.
Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Pèzerolles France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru
91 points
First of a pair of Pommards. Certainly a good wine, but I thought both this and its flight partner showed a Volnay maker's touch! Nose was really tight at first. Lots of mineral, very deeply buried dark fruit and an earthy tone. Quite Pommard one would think, except for the fact that the fruit came across rather sweetly, and even more so with time to breathe. Again, lots of depth on the palate and plenty of density and concentration. Lowish acidity notwithstanding, it still had a nice clean balance, with orange peel, dark cherries and iron-like mineral flavours wafting around. Softer than already soft Rugiens in the same flight, with lots of transperant elegance, one could be forgiven for thinking this was a Beaune rather than a Pommard. Finish was giving and expressive, with herbs and spice closing the wine off pleasantly.
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Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pommard 1er Cru
92 points
My favourite of this flight. Like the Pezerolles, rather tight on the nose. Attractive though - with soupy fruit in the form of strawberries and dark cherries and some umami laced stock in there. Plenty of power on the palate. Sappy dark cherries, herbs, plenty of spice and a nice minerality. Soft for a Pommard maybe, but nicely structured with nice acidity for a 2006 and firmish tannins carrying the wine well into a punchy finish showing stewed tea and lingering raspberries and strawberries. Pommard-lite. But a very nice wine overall.

Flight 5 - Smoked beef tenderloin, pumpkin puree, potato gratin and truffle sauce (2 notes)

Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Corton-Pougets France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru
92 points
Did not quite know what to make out of the pair of Cortons that we had. Certainly good wines, but a little lacking in Grand Cru weight and texture. Both had an unusual sweetness to them as well - 2006 character or winemaking style I wonder? The Pougets had a rather stunning nose. Deep, sappy cherry scents, dusky red fruit, earthy mushrooms, higher-toned truffles, ferrous mineral and some crushed flowers. Very seductive and elegant - but almost in a Chambolle or Volnay style, with plenty of sweetness to boot. Palate was not quite as expressive, but still drinking well. Plenty of power, with sweet dark cherries, a touhc of plums and dried herbs. Just a bit soft on the underbelly though, with lowish acidity and fine powdery tannins not giving the type of structure I would expect in a young Corton. Still, the finish had nice length and, again, quite a bit of power, pulling away with some orange peel, more sweet fruits and a final expression of slightly bittersweet tannins. A touch more firmness here. A nice wine that will benefit from bottle time. May not be one for the ages though.
Red
2006 Domaine de Montille Corton-Clos du Roi France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru
92 points
This just edged out the Corton-Pougets as my favourite in the same flight. Same unusually sweet seductiveness and approachability here though. Deep nose, with liquered cherries, a hint of candy, shitake mushrooms, toasty vanilla notes and long whiffs of crushed flowers. If anything, the palate was even sweeter than the nose, with cool cherry fruit, a touch of jam, spice and minerals. A little soft on the attack, acid a little on the low side, yet the essential balance was there, so that the wine came on with lots of youthful verve. It also firmed up towards the finish, with tannins layering the wall of the mouth, giving shape to a powerful tail-end, with lots of length to its flavour orange peel, tea leaves and mineral tones. A nice wine, perhaps slightly more complete than the Corton-Pougets. Like its stablemate, this will benefit from some bottle age - although I repeat the caveat that I do not think this will be one to keep hidden in the cellar for decades.
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Flight 6 - Platter of Burgundian cheese (2 notes)

White
2006 Domaine de Montille Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
88 points
I do not know if this was a slightly off bottle, but I just did not enjoy it that much. Nose was gorgeous. Almond nuts, sweet flowers, pretty fruit tones with sweet apples and pears and a shade of the tropical in the form of pineapples. Very sexy, stylish lines. Palate was a let down though. Plenty of sweet fruit, rather punchy on the attack. Nice flavours of green apples and ripe lemons past the midpalate as well. Even the finish was decent, with little spiced notes. Only problem, unsually for a 2006, was the very obvious acidity. Punchy to the point of being sharp, it stuck out like a sore-thumb, distracting from all the other qualities of the wine. Alright when served chilled, but really noticeable when it got warmer. Still a pretty decent, drinkable wine, but one of the poorest of the night for me.
White
2006 Domaine de Montille Corton-Charlemagne France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
93 points
This was excellent. By some way the wine of the night for me. Beautiful nose with toasty almonds and walnuts nestling amidst white fruits, green apples and a honeyed accent. With clear Grand Cru complexity, breadth and texture on the palate - this more than made up for the disappointing Puligny 1er Cru Caillerets on the same flight. A nice fleshy fatness in the mouth, this had deep flavours of sweet apples, nuts, peach and minerals. Plenty more here to explore - it will take some time in the bottle to open up. Finish was lengthy and layered, with lots of complexity and delicious musk, chalk and white fruit. This is a testimony to how good 2006 whites can be. Open, expressive, fleshy, yet very complete. A lovely wine. 93-94
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