Every once in a while, we are stopped in our tracks by a wine that confounds, impressing way beyond expectation. Such an occurrence recently happened while I was tasting through a swathe of white Burgundy. Out of a sea of similarity emerged a wine of exquisite singularity. Domaine Feuillat-Juillot was not an estate known to me but I sensed immediately that this situation had to change. While I tasted a number of (excellent) wines from the domaine, it was the old vine Les Coères that stood out for its depth, complexity and silky harmony.
Francoise Feuillat-Juillot was born to a winemaking family as the daughter of Mercurey-producer Michel Juillot. Francoise did not want to follow in her father’s footsteps though and left to study and work in Paris. After a few short years’ absence she found herself drawn back to her origins in the Côte Chalonnaise. She returned and studied Oenology in Dijon and in 1989 began working with a producer in Montagny. She eventually bought out the domaine in 2004. She now has 14 hectares of vines in a number of the leading climats of Montagny. Les Coères is their top cuvée, sourced from 4 hectares of 60 and 90 years old vines in this south facing vineyard at an altitude of 300 metres. The wine is then made in 500 litre barrels, of which just 20% are new, and aged on fine lees for 8-10 months to give added weight, depth and complexity.
The Côte Chalonnaise is much more of a continuation of the Côte d’Or than we often imagine. While Montagny is situated at its southern end it is nevertheless, to put it in a Burgundian context, as near to Puligny-Montrachet as Puligny is to Corton-Charlemagne. Montagny itself was also amongst the first Appellation Controlée wines of Burgundy, gaining that recognition in 1936 for white wines produced from Chardonnay. So the history of winemaking here is long.
What seems clear from the wines of Domaine Feuillat-Juillot is that there is a quality potential here that has not always been harnessed or championed but in this wine we certainly see that potential fully realised. In the glass the wine shows a golden green hue, the aromas are of ripe white stone fruit and citrus combined with subtle creamy patisserie notes and a hint of almond. The wine spreads across the palate with a caressing texture and the ripe, healthy fruit is in abundance. What sets this wine apart is the freshness and mineral cut (a consequence of the limestone-rich soils typical of Montagny) that give a long, energy-charged finish and a desire to take another sip.
Neal Martin and Tim Atkin MW concur with me and I include their notes below. This is indeed a top Montagny. And with the prices of Côte d’Or white Burgundy heading in the direction it is, this is an absolute steal.