From: Burgundy, France
Taste: This Monthélie Les Duresses Blanc opens with a vivid, inviting nose. The scent of fresh green apple skin and zesty lemon oil is upfront and personal, tickling your senses and evoking a sunny day in an orchard. There is an undercurrent of sweet corn, providing an earthy sweetness that anchors the bright fruit aromas. On the palate, this wine is an energetic whirl of flavors. The initial texture immediately stands out, acting as a canvas that beautifully showcases the interplay of flavors. The citrus elements carry through, with lemon oil and green apple skin flavors taking center stage, followed closely by a subtle hint of sweet corn. The firm structure of this wine is impressively balanced, allowing the wine to maintain a lively yet controlled dance on your tongue. As the wine begins to finish, the toasty oak and baking spice accents begin to emerge. The finish is long and satisfying, with a lingering presence of oak and a final encore of the citrus notes.
Pairing: This Monthélie Les Duresses Blanc's lively acidity and complex flavor profile make it an excellent match for various dishes. Pair it with seafood dishes like grilled fish, seared scallops, or shrimp scampi to complement the wine's citrus and mineral notes. For meatier options, try roasted chicken or turkey with a lemon herb marinade.
When it comes to regional pairings, consider classic Burgundian dishes that will elevate the wine's inherent characteristics. Coquilles Saint-Jacques, a dish of scallops in a creamy white wine sauce, is a delightful option. Alternatively, try pairing it with a traditional Poulet à la Crème, which consists of chicken cooked in a creamy white wine sauce with mushrooms.
Vegetarian options for the 2020 Xavier Monnot Monthélie Les Duresses Blanc can explore a range of flavors and textures. Pair it with a savory vegetable risotto, featuring seasonal vegetables like asparagus, peas, and mushrooms (or check out the pasta recipe below!). The creamy texture of the risotto will harmonize with the wine's oily mouthfeel, while the vegetables will enhance its freshness. Another option is a goat cheese and beet salad, drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette, which will highlight the wine's acidity and citrus notes.
Pasta With Lemon, Herbs and Ricotta Salata
By Amanda Hesser
About. Lying in the heart of the Côte de Beaune, Domaine Xavier Monnot distinguishes itself as a master of crafting elegant and complex wines. The 2020 Xavier Monnot Monthélie Les Duresses (blanc) is no exception, drawing on the historical expertise of the Monnot lineage, which traces its roots back to 1723.
This wine brings forth the taut and unctuous texture of Chardonnay, enveloping the palate with vibrant flavors of lemon oil, sweet corn, and green apple skin. A journey through this wine offers the warmth of toasty oak and baking spice accents that emerge delightfully on the finish. A harmony of firmness and balance makes it a wine to appreciate from now until 2026.
The Winemaker's Heritage
Xavier Monnot, a leading producer in Meursault, took over the reins of the family business in 1994. His philosophy emphasizes the purity of fruit, elegance, and complexity, elements mirrored in each bottle he produces. Monnot's approach to viticulture is a compelling blend of tradition and modernization, utilizing both old vines and new clones for replanting and equipping the cellar with contemporary tools.
The property, once known as Domaine René Monnier after Xavier's grandfather, was reborn as Domaine Xavier Monnot in 2005, marking a new chapter in its rich history. This change came hand in hand with improvements in the vineyard and cellar, with Monnot bottling his wines under his own label.
A Vineyard of Distinction
Domaine Xavier Monnot spreads across 42 acres in Meursault, with vineyards stretching from Beaune to Maranges in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune. The estate is split into 60% white and 40% red production, with significant white wine premier crus including Meursault Charmes, Chassagne-Montrachet En Remilly, and Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières. The climats for red wines are spread across four villages: Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, and Maranges.
The Monthélie Les Duresses blanc in focus here comes from the lieu-dit Les Duresses, a section of the Monthélie appellation, located on the upper slope of the vineyard. The term lieu-dit, meaning “named place,” refers to a specific vineyard within the appellation, indicative of quality even if not part of a grand cru or premier cru.
The Winemaking Philosophy
Xavier Monnot's philosophy seamlessly merges the intricate dance of nature with the delicate human touch. After hand-harvesting, the Chardonnay undergoes a gentle foot crush before pressing. Fermentation takes place in barrels, fostering a distinctively rich flavor profile, and the wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation.
The Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is usually destemmed, with primary fermentation occurring in stainless-steel tanks. After a period of cold maceration, a combination of pump-over and punch-down techniques are used for extraction.
Monthélie Les Duresses
Monthélie Les Duresses, the site of the vineyard, is known for its ascending location on the hill above the village, contributing to the wine's backbone of acidity and elevated fragrance. The salty and mineral character of this wine might come across as austere to some tasters if it weren't for 12-months aging in 20% percent new small French oak barrels, which lend roundness and notes of toast and vanilla.
The terroir's pebbly marl with a good proportion of clay, particularly lower down the slope, creates a unique soil composition. Rich in Argovian (Jurassic) limestone, the soil gifts the Les Duresses wines with their signature minerality. The location on the steep hillside that faces eastward permits the vines to soak up the morning sunlight while being shielded from harsher afternoon rays, leading to a rather cool mesoclimate.
The wine’s terroir is further influenced by the vineyard's excellent drainage, which keeps the vine's vigor and yields in check, allowing for the production of concentrated, high-quality grapes.
An Unmistakable Character
The 2020 Xavier Monnot Monthélie Les Duresses (blanc) has been lauded by the Wine Spectator for its taut texture and balanced presentation of flavors. Meanwhile, Vinous Media praises its light bouquet with malic, apple peeling scents, while noting a slightly lacking mid-palate weight. However, the wine's attractive citric finish more than compensates for it.
The Les Duresses blanc is a youthful, cheekier cousin of Meursault, offering juicy, primary citrus, and pear flavors offset by steely tangs of acidity and spicy, smoky oak tones. Its creamy, luscious character makes it a wine that is enjoyable in its youth, yet it still holds promise for those willing to wait.
The Charm of Monthélie
Monthélie, a small village in the Côte de Beaune sub-region of Burgundy, has been producing wines under its own communal appellation since 1937. While traditionally associated with red wines, the past 30 years have seen an increase in its Chardonnay production, particularly in vineyards at the southern end of the parish. The soils of these sites border the famous white-wine village of Meursault and are more fertile than those on the hillsides, making them better suited to Chardonnay than Pinot Noir.
The 2020 Xavier Monnot Monthélie Les Duresses (blanc) encapsulates the distinctive terroir of the upper slope of Les Duresses vineyard and the rich heritage of the Monnot family. It's a testament to the Domaine's commitment to producing wines that convey purity, elegance, and complexity. This wine is not just a bottle of Chardonnay—it's a vibrant tapestry of flavors, a conversation with the terroir, and a delightful journey through time. Sip, savor, and enjoy from now until 2026.
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