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A street sign in front of a dusk sky in Monthelie, Burgundy, France.
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Monthelie

Monthélie (pronounced ‘Mont’lie’) is a small commune in the Cote de Beaune of 200 or so residents, which produces a very large amount of wine – almost to the detriment of anything else. As the local proverb has it, ‘une poule y meurt de faim durant la moisson’ – in other words, ‘a chicken would die of hunger during the harvest’. 65,000 bottles of wine per year are produced – the lion’s share of which are red – soft, fruity and similar to those from nearby Volnay. There are 15 Premier Cru plots in Monthélie, and Elden Selections has some of the best hidden gems from them. Despite being the smallest village in the Cote de Beaune, Monthélie’s quiet charm and dedication to winemaking will reward any visitor, as will the 12th century church (complete with famous Burgundy glazed roof tiles) and the 300-year-old Chateau de Monthélie. But viticulture here really goes back as far as 1000 years, when the monks of Cluny Abbey first began cultivating vines. Nearby Volnay and Meursault are also worth visiting – their wines being similar to Monthélie but different enough to warrant investigations all of their own.

White Wines

White wines from Monthélie (just 10% of the total wine produced) are close cousins of those from nearby Meursault – handsomely golden, they offer sweet apple, nuttiness and white flowers. These whites are often described as being similar to the wines of neighboring Meursault. That is true, though in terms of finesse, slightly exaggerated. When in balance, these whites make excellent and affordable Chardonnays. They go very well with stir-fried prawns or even a warming fish tajine.

Red Wines

Monthélie is nearly all red, and that red should be brilliant ruby. Cherry and blackcurrant fruit, and, in certain vineyards, a similar floral arrangement to Volnay (violets!) highlight the bouquet. As the wines evolve, they take on the typical Pinot Noir secondary aromas of undergrowth, leather and mushroom. Monthélie, on the Volnay side of the village, is fine and delicate like Volnay. And on the Auxey-Duresses side, the wines can be firmer with more obvious tannic structure. When pairing the reds of Monthélie with food, look for rich, roasted meats, offal - and of course, many of the local cheeses go superbly with them.

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