This morning, we are delighted to offer you some quite unique wines, the 2019s from one of Burgundy's biodynamic winemaking gurus, Eric de Suremain. We were enchanted when we visited Château de Monthelie for the first time last autumn and we think you will be equally enchanted by the wines, which are both elegant and full of concentrated fruit, whilst offering great value.
Château de Monthelie is in the heart of the eponymous village of Monthelie, which sits between Volnay and Meursault. The château was built in 1746 and Eric's family have made wine here since the 1930s. Eric took over from his grandfather in 1978 and converted the domaine to biodynamic viticulture in 1996, making him a pioneer of this approach. He is still one of its most authentic practitioners and cuts a distinctive dash in his year-round uniform of shorts and a straw hat. On our visit it was evident that this is a family domaine, with Eric's wife Dominique and daughter Gwendoline equally active in the business. Gwendoline is now taking over the winemaking. The domaine has vines here in Monthelie and some excellent holdings in Rully.
This has to be one of the most beautiful spots on the Côte d'Or, with the un-restored château buildings nestling into natural amphitheatre of vines, topped with woodland. Eric routinely crops very low yields from his vines, which is one reason for their concentration. Stepping into the winery feels like time travel, with a traditional wooden Coquard press surrounded by large wooden vats. Modern pneumatic 'Vaslin'-style presses may be designed for gentle pressing, but the combination of treading by foot and the basket press is hard to beat for delicacy (the reason they are still widely used in Champagne) which preserves very fine aromas.
Wooden presses and vats also encourage complexity in the wild yeasts which conduct the fermentation (use of indigenous yeasts is common in Burgundy...but not quite like this). Yet another benefit is that the juice flows down through the 'cake' of pressed grapes, leaving the juice with very fine lees but rich in nutrients, producing a richer, softer texture in the finished wine.
After ageing for around 15 months in oak barriques, the wines go through a very gentle kieselguhr filtration, which again is designed to preserve aroma and then receive additional time in bottle at the domaine before release (hence the 2019s are only now being released).
Setting aside the enchanting character of the place and people, if we were to taste the 2019 Monthelie 'Sur La Velle' 1er Cru blind, we would probably place it in Volnay (the vines bordering that appellation), but there is also wonderful, concentrated and vibrant fruit. The 2019 Rully 'Agneux' 1er Cru is similarly fresh, with stone fruits and fine acidity, but also a richness, quite different to that which comes from ageing in new oak.
We find it amazing to think that the winemaking here would have been familiar to the Cistercian monks working at the Clos de Vougeot five hundred years ago, and the wines could potentially have tasted very similar. The only thing they didn't have was Eric himself, whose personality shines through in these wines, which are honest, immediate and joyful and will delight both burgundy aficionados and novices alike. We recommend adding them to your cellar.
Offered ex-château, due to land in the UK in autumn 2022.
|RED||2019||Ch de Monthelie, Eric de Suremain - Monthelie 'Sur La Velle' 1er Cru||75cl||£165 per case of 6||Ch de Monthelie, Eric de Suremain
Monthelie 'Sur La Velle' 1er Cru
2019 / / 75cl
£165 per case of 6
Tasting NotesThe three-hectare premier cru 'Sur la Velle' is one of the best terroirs in Monthelie, extending onto the slopes of Volnay, 230-370 metres above sea level. Yields for the 2019 were just 17hl/ha. Matured in oak vats and barrels for 18 months. Intense violet, raspberry and some cherry on the nose, leading to a broad, full palate, with vibrant, energetic raspberry fruit and extremely supple tannins, which bring Volnay to mind. Wonderfully open and approachable now, no sign of this wine 'closing' down, but with lots of potential for development. RKL------"Mid crimson...deep raspberry perfume starts to emerge, but it needs coaxing, attractively full across the mid palate. There is plenty of substance to this wine but it is a little hard to discern today...89-90 points." Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy, Feb 2021
|WHITE||2019||Ch de Monthelie, Eric de Suremain - Rully Blanc Agneux 1er cru||75cl||£260 per case of 12||Ch de Monthelie, Eric de Suremain
Rully Blanc Agneux 1er cru
2019 / / 75cl
£260 per case of 12
Tasting NotesThe premier cru 'Agneux' is located at the top of the slopes in Rully and is just 0.39ha in size. This climat is owned exclusively by de Suremain. Fresh lemon and citrus notes on the nose, confirmed on the palate, with orchard and stone fruits on the palate. Great richness here, not from oak or batonnage, but more a ripeness to the fruit and a texture on the palate. The aromas and flavours are very pure but also layered and subtle, probably as a result of the use of wild yeasts. Impressive breadth and length on the palate, with the pithy-citrus notes reverberating for quite some time. RKL------"Monopole, from vines replanted in 2008. Bottled at Christmas. Pale colour with a light green tint. Very elegant, crisp, not too appley, more in white fruit, pure and quite long, not too rich despite the 14.1% alcohol. Very pretty finish. 88 points." Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy, Feb 2021