Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Chassagne-Montrachet 2018
Think white flowers and finesse when tasting this wine. It’s a representative blend of the commune, with grapes from five parcels that have feet in all of the geographic zones.
The domaine farms just over twenty hectares (50 acres) of vines. It is a mix of family-owned vineyards and long-term leased vineyards. Marc and Alex’s grandfather was a vigneron and created Domaine Bernard Bachelet et Fils in Chassagne-Montrachet. Their father, Jean-François Bachelet, made wine for most of his professional life at this domaine.
Following his studies at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, Marc did internships at domaines Lucien Muzard in Santenay and Parent in Pommard, as well as stints in the southern Rhône and in Australia. After similar studies, his younger brother Alex did internships at domaines Nouveau in the Hautes Côtes and Bouzereau in Meursault, as well as at Monteillet in Côte-Rôtie. Both boys worked five harvests at their father’s domaine prior to embarking on Bachelet-Monnot.
The seat of the domaine is the family homestead in Dezize-lès-Maranges, just southwest of Santenay. In the vineyards, no herbicide is used and the rows are plowed regularly to manage weeds, aerate the soil, and cut the horizontal roots to encourage deep growth. In the cellar, the percentage of new barrels used is roughly 25%; the wine is aged for twelve months before being racked into tank (or, in the case of the reds, cement vats) for another six to eight months of ageing on the lees before bottling. This, to one degree or another, is the general pattern of élevage for all of the wines made here of both colors.
Total annual production in a normal vintage is around 8,300 cases, roughly divided equally between red and white wine.
A Côte de Beaune village most famous for its beautifully textured and powerful whites, Chassagne-Montrachet reaches farthest south in the Côte d’Or, save for the village of Santenay. It has three Grands Crus vineyards: Le Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet. Le Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet overlap with and are (confusingly) shared with the village of Puligny-Montrachet. But Chassagne-Montrachet bears sole ownership of the Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru.
The beauty doesn’t stop there as the village has a great many outstanding Premiers Crus wines and village level wines. Most famous Premiers Crus vineyards include Les Chenevottes, Clos de la Maltroie, En Cailleret and Les Ruchottes. Also, village level wines offer many lovely examples of what Chassagne-Montrachet has to offer, but at more approachable price points and perhaps less demand of waiting.
The best sites in Chassagne-Montrachet have complex soils of sedimentary rock and limestone (with less marl). Whites, which are by law composed of 100% Chardonnay (as in all classified white Burgundy from Côte d’Or), have steely power, bright and concentrated citrus, stone or tropical fruit characteristics and attractive textures ranging from plush to tactile, grippy and mineral-driven.
There is some fine Pinot Noir produced from the village. These wines tend to be high-toned and earthy, with wild herb aromas and suave tannins.
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.