Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 90-92
While Benoit has been making wine since the late 80s, it wasn’t until 1997 that he was able to acquire his own vineyards. He inherited less than 4 hectares almost exclusively in Puligny-Montrachet, as well as small plots in Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault.
At the outset, Benoit began making wines that focused on richness, power, and weight by using a higher percentage of new oak and frequent battonage to give density. Like many passionate, young vingnerons, he wanted to make a statement. With maturity however comes a greater perspective and following the 2004 harvest, Benoit has steadily evolved to the point where today, he is making wines of incredible purity and balance. Benoit’s wines are precise and focused with a tension to them that is not unlike a coiled spring waiting to unfurl. On the palate, his wines do just that and the tightly knit structure detected on the nose is revealed in layers of complexity.
Not surprisingly, Benoit no longer employs the higher percentage of new oak on his wines, nor does he stir the lees like before, preferring to do as little as possible in fact in the winery. He likes acidity in his wines feeling that the acidity is the backbone that gives the wines freshness as well as longevity in the cellar. Often times, Benoit prefers to pick on the earlier side to preserve this freshness and acidity he seeks, but it is certainly not at the expense of ripeness as his wines are gifted at expressing each individual terroir. He has moved to a longer elevage of 18 months and continues to reduce the amount of new wood in the cellar. Today less than 30% is the norm here.
Benoit boasts an impressive lineup of vineyard holdings. In Chassagne-Montrachet he has a tiny parcel in Houilleres, a well situated villages vineyard on the border with Puligny-Montrachet, while in Puligny-Montrachet, he has an impressive array of vines from villages to the 1er Crus of Sous le Puits, Truffieres, and Folatieres.
A source of some of the finest, juicy, silky and elegantly floral Chardonnay in the Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet lies just to the north of Chassagne-Montrachet, a village with which it shares two of its Grands Crus vineyards: Le Montrachet itself and Bâtard-Montrachet. Its other two, which it owns in their entirety, are Chevalier-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. And still, some of the finest white Burgundy wines come from the prized Premiers Crus vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet. To name a few, Les Pucelles, Le Clavoillon, Les Perrières, Les Referts and Les Combettes, as well as the rest, lie northeast and up slope from the Grands Crus.
Farther to the southeast are village level whites and the hamlet of Blagny where Pinot Noir grows best and has achieved Premier Cru status.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.