Domaine de Montbourgeau's logo, which I'm sure you recognize (producer site)

The Glimmer of l'Etoile: Domaine de Montbourgeau's Jura Chardonnay and Savagnin (for lovers of great acidity and full flavor)

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Nicole with a beautiful Jura white (producer site)

If you look at the center of the emblem above, fixed inside that red star, you'll see "VG." Victor Gros bought Domaine de Montbourgeau in 1920, according to the producer's website, and in 1956, his son, Jean, took over. It was Jean and his daughter, Nicole Deriaux, who created the domaine as we know it today. I feel it is one of the more recognizable Jura labels to grace the shelves of American retail shops - and for good reason. Wink Lorch, in her book, Jura Wine, calls Nicole the "star of lÉtoile." Great praise... and a play on words. Domaine de Montbourgeau can be found within the AOC of L'Étoile, French for "the star." And here, Chardonnay shines bright...

It is hard to escape comparisons to Burgundy when researching L'Etoile, an appellation that is comprised of the village of L'Étoile and three neighboring villages: Plainoiseau, Quintigny, and Saint-Didier. In The World Atlas of Wine, authors Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson compare the Jurassic limestone soils of the Jura to those of Burgundy, specifically citing L'Étoile for its "tiny, star shaped fossils," from which the village's name could have been derived. "Coincidentally, the five hills that surround the village also bear a resemblance to the five points of a star," according to Wine-Searcher.com. The website goes on to suggest that the soils and the "hilly topography and protected mesoclimate" allow Chardonnay to enjoy a very Chablis-like existence here. Wink recognizes that Jura's "most prized" Chardonnay is from the "vineyards around L'Etoile. The Domaine de Montbourgeau wines are very healthy in structure, with great minerality and an awesome tenderness in mouthfeel - but this is where the Chablis spirit ends. The cellar techniques of Nicole, and her son, César, transform these wines into gems, with the undeniable Jura character drinkers go crazy for.

Stars! Fossils in the limestone (producer Instagram)

All the wines on offer today are made in the sous-voile method, meaning the barrels that the wines are aged in aren't topped up. Because of this (in most cases), a thin layer of yeast, similar to what occurs in the production of sherry, develops on the the top of the wine. This thin blanket of flor protects the wine from oxidation while encouraging the wine to develop a hearty set of aromas and flavors.

The domaine's L'Étoile Blanc 2018 has a golden lemon color. On the nose, there are enticing aromas of dry grass, black tea, salt, green herbs, almond and walnut skins. The palate is generous, with deep yellow and green apples, a dash of salt and a lovely flavor of shaved ginger. The structure is driven by a strong core of minerality surrounded by a texture of trimmed richness. Riding the wines high acidity, the finish starts with fresh lemon and ends with a lingering dash of spice.

In the glass, the 2016 Cuvée Special is a slightly darker hue than the L'Etiole Blanc. On the nose, it is also a bit more complex. Smells of dried lemons, green limes, and orange zest hover above denser aromas of baked pear and green herbs. There is a beautiful smokiness on both the nose and the palate. Flavors of apple and black pepper lead the way for lemon and salt. Bright acidity and flashy minerality lead to a finish of freshly baked country bread before ending on a note of saline and citrus.

Although this area is known especially for Chardonnay, Domaine de Montbourgeau produces an absolutely delicious Savignin. It's slimmer in body, but has more tannic structure than the family's Chardonnay. There is also something slightly fruitier about the wine.

The 2017 L'Étoile Savgnin has a lemon color in the glass, with flickers of green. On the nose, electric citrus tones of lemon and lime add energy to spicy pear and white tea. Flavors of tangy green apple, lemon, green herbs and grass balance on a structure of soft tannin and high acidity. The most impressive quality of this wine appears on the finish, when a sweetness emerges on the tongue - refreshing after the dark flavors and focused acidity.

César in the cellar! (producer site)

Lastly, we're very proud to offer our allocation of the Domaine de Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura. Although labeled as non-vintage, my supplier explained that all the fruit in this bottle came from the 2019 harvest. In the item description below, you'll find the tasting note. I haven't had the wine myself, but I've heard from many pros that it is something special - and that it disappears very, very quickly! Not to be missed - that's the word...

I've known about Domaine de Montbourgeau since joining the wine business. Giving the domaine a deeper look, and discovering exactly what makes the wines of the Gros family unique, has been such a pleasure. The wines are complex and sturdy, with astonishing minerality and great fruit. If you recognize the label, but haven't given the wines a shot, I think it's time. And if you've had the wines before, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Drink up! David Hatzopoulos

(Also, we have a few remaining bottles of 2014 L'Étoile Cuvée Speciale for those lucky enough to get them...)

***All Domaine de Montbourgeau items are NET PRICED*** 

Montbourgeau 2018 L'Etoile Chardonnay (Arrival 10/29)

From 95% Chardonnay and 5% Savagnin from the slopes  L'Étoile in the Jura. Harvested by hand before fermenting with natural yeasts in stainless tanks. The wine is aged for 12 months in neutral foundres before being transferred to smaller barrels for 12-24 months more. There is no topping up during the process.  The domaine's L'Étoile Blanc 2018 has a golden lemon color. On the nose, there are enticing aromas of dry grass, black tea, salt, green herbs, almond and walnut skins. The palate is generous, with deep yellow and green apples, a dash of salt and a lovely flavor of shaved ginger. The structure is driven by a strong core of minerality surrounded by a texture of trimmed richness. Riding the wines high acidity, the finish starts with fresh lemon and ends with a lingering dash of spice. David Hatzopoulos

  • white
  • 16 in stock
  • no discount
  • $29.99

Montbourgeau 2016 L'Etoile Cuvee Speciale Chardonnay (10/29)

100% Chardonnay from the Chaux parcel just outside the village of L'Etoile in the Jura. Hand harvested fruit ferments with natural yeasts in neutral oak. The wine is aged for 48 months in neutral barrel, without topping up. In the glass, the 2016 Cuvée Special is a slightly darker hue than the L'Etiole Blanc. On the nose, it is also a bit more complex. Smells of dried lemons, green limes, and orange zest hover above denser aromas of baked pear and green herbs. There is a beautiful smokiness on both the nose and the palate. Flavors of apple and black pepper lead the way for lemon and salt. Bright acidity and flashy minerality lead to a finish of freshly baked country bread before ending on a note of saline and citrus. David Hatzopoulos

  • white
  • 16 in stock
  • no discount
  • $41.99

Montbourgeau 2017 L'Etoile Savagnin (Arrival 10/29)

100% Savagnin from the Jura AOC of L'Etoile. Fruit is hand harvested and fermented with native yeasts in stainless tanks. The wine is aged in neutral oak for 12 months, before another 36-48 months in neutral demi-muids. The 2017 L'Étoile Savgnin has a lemon color in the glass, with flickers of green. On the nose, electric citrus tones of lemon and lime add energy to spicy pear and white tea. Flavors of tangy green apple, lemon, green herbs and grass balance on a structure of soft tannin and high acidity. The most impressive quality of this wine appears on the finish, when a sweetness emerges on the tongue - refreshing after the dark flavors and focused acidity. David Hatzopoulos

  • white
  • 13 in stock
  • no discount
  • $52.99

Montbourgeau NV Crémant du Jura Brut (Arrival 11/5)

Fruit is hand harvested from younger vines around the village of L'Etoile in the Jura. Fermentation happens naturally in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged 6 months sur lie in stainless, then 18 months sur lattes.It has pleasant rustic apple fruit balanced by fierce cold-climate acidity, with hints of cashew and herbs — it would be hard to distinguish this from Champagne in a blind tasting (it's even a bit chalky!). A seriously distinguished bubbly.

  • white sparkling
  • 41 in stock
  • no discount
  • $27.99

  • white
  • 9 in stock
  • no discount
  • $41.99

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