Chateau Cary Potet Montagny 1er Cru 'Les Burnins' 2019
From the southern reaches of the Cote Chalonnaise, the wines of Montagny are among the best value in White Burgundy. With a unique and dusty minerality that many compare to a suave left-bank Chablis, the wines also profit from their southern position, so ripeness and maturity yield seductive and charming Chardonnay. This premier cru ‘Les Burnins’ has a mineral attack with orange blossom floral notes and spicy round fruit. Rich and smoky, with green apple acidity and a touch of butter. Good long finish carried by the minerality.
CHATEAU DE CHAMILLY
The Chateau de Chamilly sits in a verdant hidden valley in the very north of the Cote Chalonnaise, 20 minutes south of Beaune. It was built in the 17th century, raised up on the foundations of a 14th century fortified farm. It was bought by the Desfontaine family, the present owners, at the beginning of the 19th century, including the surrounding farmland.
The Desfontaine family can trace its vineyard and winemaking ancestry back at least 12 generations. They are understandably attached to the old stones, the land and the life and hard work that goes with it. Their motto is ‘Ex Nihilo Nihil’: Nothing comes from Nothing.
Today, Xavier and Arnaud work with their mother Veronique to produce wines primarily from the Cote Chalonnaise (Mercurey and Montagny), but produce wines from the Cote d’Or as well (a Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Sous le Puits’, a Saint Aubin 1er Cru ‘Derriere Chez Edouard’ and a Fixin 1er Cru ‘Clos du Chapitre’ and a Grand Cru Corton.
They describe their primary work as limiting as much as possible the traditional treatment of the vine. They are not actively looking for an organic farming certification, because they believe that the subject is so vast that their work would be impeded. They prefer their own instincts to any codified system.
They are adamant that each vineyard and thus each wine is different. So their goal is to keep things simple and healthy, and let the vineyard express itself. The very notion of ‘terroir’.
Harvest is done by hand, and there is always a carful sorting of the grapes before they enter the winery.
All red wines and some of the whites are raised for 18 months. 12 in French oak and 6 ‘en masse’ (in tanks) to allow the wines to meld. The percentage of new oak is a function of the perceived richness of the wine and vintage.
They are looking for Pinot Noir that is fine and elegant. And Chardonnay that is pure and frank.
Mercurey ‘Les Marcoeurs’
Montagny ‘Les Bassets’
Montagny ‘Les Reculerons’
Montagny 1er Cru ‘Les Burnins’
Montagny 1er Cru ‘Les Jardins’
Puligny Mointrachet 1er Cru ‘Sous le Puits’
Saint Aubin 1er Cru ‘Derriere Chez Edouard’
Mercurey ‘Les Puillets’
Mercurey ‘Clos la Perriere’ Monopole
Mercurey ‘Les Monthelons’
Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise
Fixin 1er Cru ‘Clos du Chapitre’
Corton Grand Cru
BURGUNDY 2019 VINTAGE
There’s a popular saying here in Burgundy which points out that, since the start of the 20th century, vintages ending in ‘9’ have been exceptional. So when 2019 came around, we were secretly anticipating something special. Little did we know!
Every vintage comes with its own hyperbole: best of the decade; greatest of the century; another 1990. And it’s true, as the climate continues to warm, there has been some remarkable wine produced in recent years. But in Burgundy in 2019, it got hot.
Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay like to come to maturity slowly. Too much heat cooks the elegance out of them. So climate change is an existential issue for Burgundy wine as we know it.
But in 2019 something remarkable happened. I hesitate to call it a paradigm shift; it may well be a one-off. But in a year where, in some places, grapes turned to raisins on the vine, Burgundy has given us a vintage worthy of the hyperbole.
You won’t find many lacey, delicate wines this year. The vintage will be unapologetically bold and unbelievably concentrated. The whites are indulgent, often explosive, and pinned to a mind-bogglingly good acidic framework, given the summer heat. The reds are sophisticated and elegant, alive.
Perhaps most tellingly, despite the hot summer, this was not one of those late-August harvests that we’re getting accustomed to. The harvest got underway in the Cote de Beaune on 12 September. And some in the Cote de Nuits did not begin picking until the 23rd. The fruit was ripe earlier, but the fine conditions allowed the growers to wait for the holy grail: phenolic maturity.
You rarely get fruit maturity (the sugar part of the equation) plus phenolic maturity (the tannins in the pips and stems) coming together at the same time. Usually you sacrifice one for the other. You can’t force it to happen. Nature bestows it upon you. But when it does happen, that, almost by definition, is a great vintage.
2019 will be a great vintage. Think 2018 with more energy. The only downside is that, as opposed to the bumper crop we saw in 2018, 2019 was a small crop. Down by as much as 60% in the southern zones where it was hottest.
Let’s look quickly at how the season developed. The winter 2018/19 was mild, with higher than average temperatures in December and February. There was a lot of rain in December which many claim could ultimately have saved the vintage from the summer’s drought.
Spring was warm and the growth cycle started earlier than usual. There were precocious zones with bud burst in early April. But cold weather set in on 5 April with frost in many areas. Frost damage would have an effect on yields, particularly in the Maconnais. The cold weather held on through mid-April with several consequential frost risks.
Warm weather returned in May and remained until early June when temperatures dropped again, slowing growth again and hindering flowering. There was a good bit of flower abortion (millerandage), which, again, took its part of the yield at harvest.
Then mid-summer was hot-hot And dry-dry. The vines, for the most part, were in good shape going into the heat wave, but the stress was excessive. Vines handled the conditions differently from one plot to the next. Consensus is that old vines, with their deep roots, were able to find water in the subsoil. And that younger, well-tended vines, had a similar advantage. Vines with roots that went looking for water near the surface, however, suffered towards the end of the season, as they scorched and shriveled.
There was just a bit of rain in August, and from then on through September was hot but fine. In certain areas Pinot Noir ripened before Chardonnay, so harvest planning was complicated. The first Cremant vineyards were picked at the very end of August, and the harvest continued through to mid-October.
Harvest was a joy for the most part. Good weather. No disease. And the fruit that survived frost and fire was beautiful. Fermentation in both white and red went off easily. Whites finished slowly, gently, giving balance and purity. The length of red fermentation varied a lot, but the tannins are fine and the wine has vigor.
At the southern end of the Côte Chalonnaise, four villages (Buxy, Montagny lès-Buxy, Jully-lès-Buxy and Saint-Vallerin), have been banded together as a single Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1936. Hereabouts, as in the Côte de Nuits or at Chassagne-Montrachet, wine growing and stone quarrying amicably share the landscape. Buxy, with its 12th century fortifications, is an important heritage site and retains its independent spirit. The wine, grown only from Chardonnay grapes, breathes freshness and clarity. The monks of Cluny preferred it to any other.
Montagny produces white wines only. To the eye, these wines present the classic features of a burgundian Chardonnay: limpid, pale gold color with green highlights when young, darker gold color with age. Their aromas are acacia, mayflower, honeysuckle, bramble flowers, and sometimes violet and bracken. Of the livelier scents, lemon balm and gunflint may be added. Hazelnut, white peach and ripe pear would not be surprising, either. In the mouth, the wine is always fresh, frisky, and rich in spice Refinement and delicacy are matched to a durably structure.
Facing east and south-east these hillsides of Bajocien limestone are planted with vines at altitudes of 250-400 meters. Marls and marly limestones of the Jurassic lias and older trias (200 million years BC ). The gravelly lower Triassic, which surfaces at Buxy, is in contact here with the Kimmeridgian limestone that dominates in the geology of Chablis.
White Wines only – Chardonnay
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
326.44 ha (including 201.54 ha Premier Cru)
Subtle and rich in nuance, Montagny can be matched with foods of comparable balance and aromatic intensity. White meats in cream sauce suits it very well. As seafood, steamed or poached crustaceans, and noble fish are well-suited. As for cheeses, it brings out the best in goat cheeses, Beaufort, Comté, Emmental
Creux de Beaux Champs
La Condemine du Vieux Château
La Grande Pièce
Le Clos Chaudron
Le Vieux Château
Les Beaux Champs
Les Vignes Derrière
Les Vignes des Prés
Les Vignes longues
Sous les Feilles
Vigne du soleil
Vignes sur le Cloux
Le Creux de la Feuille
Le May Cottin
Le May Morin
Les Vignes Sous l'Eglise
Sous les Roches