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Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Monthelie Rouge 2013

Pinot Noir from Monthelie, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    12.5% ABV
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    12.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

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    Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet

    Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet

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    Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Monthelie, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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    2001 marked the dawn of new era at the Château de Puligny-Montrachet. Over the centuries, the picturesque 17th century château has changed hands many times, and its celebrated vineyards have perpetually been the envy of its neighbors. In the 1950s, when poet and winegrower Roland Thevenin owned the estate, it became a gathering place for artists, clergy, and politicians alike. In the 1980s, the Thevenin family sold to the French bank group, Banque Populaire et Caisse d’Epargne, who renovated the property and tended to produce decent, albeit more commercially styled, wines. When the new Director of the Bank took over in 2001, he hired Étienne de Montille of Volnay to put the Château de Puligny-Montrachet back on the map as one of the great producers of the Côte de Beaune . . . which is exactly what Étienne did. He started the slow conversion of their 19 hectares of vineyards to biodynamic farming practices, a much more rigorous method than even organic farming, to bring more life to the soil, more vigor to the vine and more finesse to the wines. Nowhere have the benefits of his efforts been as evident as in 2003 when a heat-wave crippled Burgundy. Even in the midst of a drought, the plowing had saved the vines and helped them to retain water, giving balance to the wines in spite of the heat.

    Étienne and his sister, Alix de Montille, purchased the estate in July 2012. Not only will Étienne be able to see all of his projects come to fruition, but both siblings bring incredible savoir-faire when it comes to transmitting the terroir into the finished wines. In the hands of two of the most respected winegrowers in Burgundy, Château de Puligny-Montrachet is at last realizing its full potential.

    The de Montilles are aiming high. They plan on reducing the production of cuvees by 20 percent to give greater focus to the Château’s highly pedigreed line-up. The modern winery built in the 1980s, although not as attractive as many old Burgundy cellars, has proved to be almost perfect for making wine in the minimalist, gravity flow method that both Étienne and Alix prefer. In addition, only indigenous yeasts are used and the wines are lightly fined with egg-whites and bottled unfiltered. The preference is to allow a longer barrel-aging period so that the wines will settle naturally. But for anyone who is already familiar with the de Montille family, there is no strict recipe per se, just incredibly high standards. Every vintage is treated uniquely, and the wines reflect that individualized care.

    Monthelie

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    Pinot Noir

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    One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

    In the Glass

    Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

    Perfect Pairings

    Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

    Sommelier Secret

    For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.

    MSW30151000_2013 Item# 167925