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Burgundy in France is famed across the world for the quality of its bright and complex Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. These grape varietals have been grown on the pristine, rolling vineyards of this region for generation upon generation, and the wineries which cover Burgundy are renowned for their pride in their work, their dedication for excellence, and their willingness to change with the times while maintaining their traditions and passions. One such winery which would fit well with that description is Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, an estate which has been involved with viticulture for a very long time, but which was relatively recently pulled out of a long slumber and brought back into the limelight where it belongs. In 2001, it passed into the hands of Etienne de Montille, a passionate and talented vintner who saw that the beautiful vineyards owned by the chateau were not being put to their best use. Montille set about resurrecting the former glories of the chateau, and his efforts have been roundly praised from across the wine world.
Etienne de Montille was adamant that the vines of Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet would benefit greatly by reducing their yields, allowing far more expression of the wonderful terroir the estate was founded on. His sympathetic and delicate handling of the grapes in the field and in the cellar mean that the subtler qualities of the fruit now dominate the oak they are aged in, resulting in far more interesting and characterful wines than those the chateau was producing before his arrival. Etienne’s team set about making radical changes to his estate throughout the early twentieth century, and were quick to drop those vineyards which weren’t up to scratch. He also believed that the best and most effective way to achieve the expression he desired was through the introduction of organic and biodynamic farming, allowing the vines themselves to do the work without any intervention from the grapegrower, and putting his faith in the phases of the moon to dictate harvest times. It wasn’t long before Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet once again became an elite producer of high quality, expressive Burgundy wines, and it shows no sign of slipping back to obscurity any day soon.