For Etienne de Montille, 2005 is without a doubt his finest effort. The 2005 collection easily puts him in the Pantheon with the masters of Burgundy. In this majestic vintage, I believe that Etienne's stable represents the best quality-to-price ratio of any producer's lineup, a bold statement, but one of which I am thoroughly convinced.
This is a no nonsense lineup of quivering, traditional Burgundies that wear, proudly and seamlessly, the ripe, detailed fruit of this immense vintage. I do not think it's too much to say that this collection of 2005s will cement Etienne's status as one of the stars of Burgundy and put the domaine in the top tier of producers. For Burgheads who love the great traditional producers - Bachelet, Fourrier, Gouges - these are wines not to miss.
The 2005 growing season was just perfect for the de Montille estate, a domaine whose wines can be austere in their youth: unapologetic bottles of minerals, tannins and terroir. The deep, powerful yet focused ripeness of this vintage, however, has given the 2005 lineup beautiful plush fruit that provides an astonishing counterpoint to the wonderful underlying material, and the tensile grace, that these wines are known for.
The Bourgogne Rouge and the Beaune 1er Cru "Perrieres" are shining examples of why the 2005 vintage is so impressive, lifting wines beyond their normal limitations. Intense and rich, these wines are irresistible and while the Beaune will certainly age beyond a decade, both of these wines are hard to deny right now.
The Volnay 1er Cru "Mitans" and Pommard 1er Cru "Grands Epenots" are long distance runners to be sure, and will certainly repay a long slumber to allow the fruit to soften and the vineyards to come to the foreground and speak for themselves. I think these wines represent real value; these are the bottles that may have been overlooked by the collectors chasing the more renowned wines.
And a special mention must be made of de Montille's Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Caillerets." This is one of those haunting intellectual whites: muscular and deep with just astounding vinosity. This would be a bruiser of a wine if it weren't so incredibly graceful. The Burghound's uncharacteristic note alludes to how surprising this wine can be - he finishes his review with this line: "I really like this wine as it's complete and makes a statement in its own quiet way. A wine to contemplate." While this is another one of de Montille's wines that screams for the cellar, if you drink it in the near future, please give this a big decant!