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Burgundy 2022 En Primeur: Château de Monthelie, Domaine de Suremain

The 2022s from Gwendoline de Suremain at Château de Monthelie are some of the most exciting wines we have tasted in a long time and we are delighted to offer them to you today, en primeur

We were enchanted when we visited Château de Monthelie for the first time two years ago, but this year we saw a step-change at the domaine.  Gwendoline has now taken over the winemaking from her father Eric, having worked at the domaine since 2019.  The transformation is astonishing.  

Under Eric, we thought the wines were extraordinary...but they were quite unique, and so distinctive as to need lots of explanation to customers, with high alcohol levels, and texture taking precedence over the precise fruit aromas of more modern winemaking.

Gwendoline was full of smiles and radiating happiness this year, clearly delighted at being able to express her own ideas and style.  Asking her "What is different about the winemaking this year?", her answer was..."ME!".  Little else has changed...grapes are still pressed in the ancient wooden coquillard press, which would look at home in the Clos de Vougeot in the fifteenth century; and fermentation of the reds is still mostly in old, large wooden vats. 

The differences were mainly in picking dates, the length and speed of fermentation, "awareness of extraction and tannin and alcohol" and "more attention to cold stabilisation for the white wines".  All this can be summed up as human influence...the myriad of small decisions that accumulate to make the difference between good domaines and great ones.

Do take a moment if you can to read more about the approach at this domaine, below.  Eric de Suremain is a biodynamic winemaking guru in the region.  Most top estates on the Côte d'Or use biodynamics, but very few actually live it, in the way that the de Suremains do. The fact that Gwendoline has managed to retain everything traditional and distinctive about the domaine, whilst leaping into the twenty-first century, makes this a producer to watch closely.

Offered en primeur, due to land in the UK by autumn 2024. 



Domaine Eric de Suremain

Producer Profile

Domaine Eric de Suremain

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. 

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.

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