The Magic of Montrachet

22 NOV 2023

Burgundy is known for its exquisite wine, and amongst its vineyards, Montrachet stands as a beacon, producing some of the world's most extraordinary white wines from the supposedly most banal of grape varieties, chardonnay.


In his recent trip to COMO Le Montrachet with COMO Dempsey’s Master Sommelier Mathias Camilleri, renowned wine critic Guy Woodward reflects on a statement by William Kelley: "There is chardonnay, and then there is white Burgundy." Woodward further observes: "In much the same way, there is white Burgundy, and then there is Montrachet."


Here are the top reasons why Montrachet whites are so revered in the world of wine:

Montrachet is hallowed ground for wine enthusiasts, producing the world's greatest white wines

The Unique Terroir


Montrachet, which translates to "bald mountain", is located at the peak of the Côte d’Or slopes. Its barren soil, although seemingly inhospitable, are actually good for the vine, pushing it to work harder for nourishment and intensifying the concentration of the flavour in the grapes. This unique terroir greatly contributes to the complex and distinctive character of Montrachet whites.


The Exceptional Flavour Profile


In the skilled hands of vignerons like Jean-Marc Blain of Domaine Blain-Gagnard, the chardonnay grape rests in oak barrels, maturing slowly to unlock its fullest potential. The result is a divine concoction, a wine that presents a rich, nutty, spicy creaminess, with a level of detail and complexity that is now regarded as the purest expression of the grape.


The Passionate Artistry


On the vineyards of Montrachet, much of the work is done by hand, and done with painstaking care to protect their valuable bounty. Workers diligently tend to the vines, employing numerous measures against disease and climate threats like late-spring frost. To combat frost, massive candles known as bougies are laid on the ground, and heated wind turbines stand ready. Cloud-seeding takes place throughout Burgundy, scattering silver iodide into the clouds to prevent hail. Here, every single grape matters.

"There is white Burgundy, and then there is Montrachet," leading wine critic Guy Woodward writes

Enjoy the renowned wines of the historic Puligny-Montrachet village at COMO Le Montrachet

The Myth


The legend of Montrachet vineyards is steeped in history, with tales of monks discovering the terroir's potential. In his 1728 dissertation "La Situation de Bourgogne," the first documented account of the region's wines, Abbott Claude Arnoux proclaimed Montrachet wine's delicacy and excellence as beyond words. Today, Montrachet remains the shining star of Burgundy's venerated wines, rare and coveted the world over. Visitors from across the globe flock here to pay homage to the vineyards that turn the mundane into the magical.


The Scarcity


We all love what’s rare. This value is a result of many factors — but largely because the vineyards are so tiny with a limited yearly output. Spanning a mere eight hectares, Montrachet’s vineyards are split between 20 different producers, all classified as grand cru – the pinnacle of Burgundy’s hierarchical vineyard ranking. On the rare occasions that the land changes hands, it is valued at upwards of USD$2 million per hectare.


This scarcity adds to the wines' allure, often driving up their prices. A bottle of Montrachet is rarely found for less than USD$700, with prices often reaching over USD$10,000. And even if you could afford a bottle for a special occasion, acquiring one from a top producer will prove challenging.


Culina currently offers a selection of premier crus from Puligny-and Chassagne-Montrachet you can try. They are a tier below grand crus and eminently more affordable, but still hold a distinguished reputation.


Whether you're drawn by the allure of the world’s greatest whites or its captivating vineyards and countryside, begin your Burgundian adventure at COMO Le Montrachet.

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Note: While we appreciate a tipple or two at Comoclub, we all try to drink responsibly and hope you do too.