Valentin Montanet doing what winemakers spend most of their time doing - cleaning! (Courtesy of Kermit Lynch Wines).

House White Burgundy Alert


I'm going to keep this short and sweet. We are always on the look-out for delicious wines that people (read: us) can drink every night and we have a few essential criteria for such wines. They need to feel balanced, with enough acidity to keep them feeling fresh and enough fruit to keep bringing us back. They need to be priced right - we can't open something fancy every night! And we look for that little something extra, that detail that compells us to keep coming back that happens when we drink wines made with a sense of place and individual character. Enter stage right: Domaine Montanet-Thoden's Bourgogne Vezelay "La Galerne."

The name may be unfamiliar at first glance. But Valentin Montanet is also the vigneron at Domaine de la Cadette, which for my money is a benchmark for the Vezelay appellation. Valentin's mother created this second domaine in 2000 from her family's vines. Today both estates are managed by Valentin and  produce consistently excellent wines from vines that are certified organic and made without artifice or any dressing-up. This is especially important in Vezelay, a sort of satellite of Chablis. When made well, its wines have the same intense mineral presence as its neighbor to the north.

The wine on offer today comes from a site called La Galerne, a plot of about six hectares with clay and limestone soils, named for the wind that blows in from the north. As with all Vezelay whites, it is 100% Chardonnay, fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel. These are always racy energetic wines and in the bright and brisk 2017 vintage even more so. When my colleagues and I tasted this with our sales rep last week, we were blown away by the rock-pool and seaside aromatics and the beautiful citrus flavors accented with white flowers. At the center of the wine is that mineral core that separates the wines of this little corner of France from nearly all others and that I have always only been able to describe as Welch's grape soda. There is terrific acidity and great persistence here.

At 29.99, this is a pretty unbelievable value when one considers the prices of good Burgundy these days and will not be around for long. I tried to order more last night and sadly there is no more available so this is your chance!

Sam Ehrlich