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Passing the Burgundy Baton

Passing the Burgundy Baton - Prince Wine Store

Passing the Burgundy Baton

‘… promising new address in 2020, and all that promise was confirmed on my visit this spring. As I wrote last year, Boris Champy has had a varied career: Champenois by birth, he was technical director of Napa Valley’s Dominus Estate for a decade, returning to France to take the reins at Maison Louis Latour, before a brief stint as régisseur of the Domaine des Lambrays. Today—after a period of introspection during which he understood the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela on foot—he’s finally a free agent, having purchased the domaine of biodynamic farming pioneer Didier Montchovet…. In any case, the 2019s have turned out very nicely in bottle; and the 2020s appear to be a step up in quality still—benefiting, no doubt, from Champy’s fastidious vinifications and new vertical press. In the vineyards, biodynamic farming continues, the domaine benefiting from the appreciable biodiversity that characterizes the Hautes-Côtes. In short, we appear to be witnessing the overnight emergence of a new reference-point producer, and I encourage readers to take notice. WILLIAM KELLEY, wineadvocate.com

Farming biodynamically since 1984, Didier Montchovet gradually pieced together a small domaine in Pommard, Beaune and the Hautes-Côtes—appellations where, three decades ago, biodynamic viticulture was not so much unusual as outright eccentric. In 2019, without an obvious successor, he sold to Boris Champy, former winemaker of Dominus Estate, Maison Louis Latour and the Domaine des Lambrays. Montchovet’s own wines, however, will remain on the market for a little time to come. WILLIAM KELLEY, wineadvocate.com

 


 

Since the rising of Burgundy’s golden age, most domaines are passed through family hands, with each generation tweaking the former’s work. The rite of passage to take the helm is tightly vied for, ending sometimes in fraught. Occasionally though there isn’t a clear succession plan. These cracks allow outsiders in. Those that haven’t been gifted vineyards due to their birthright. These are people that have fought their way to buy into Burgundy.

And so the Domaine of Didier Montchovet changed into the hands of Boris Champy recently.

On paper, these two have had divergent careers. Didier Monchovet has worked tirelessly throughout Pommard, Beaune and the Hautes Cotes. An early adopter of biodynamics in the 1980s before it was endorsed by Burgundy’s shapeshifters his wines meticulously reflect their sites by prioritising their origins over the winemaker’s touch. They’re wonderfully fine, weaving a spiderweb of detail and flavour backed by earthy tones and firm yet slippery tannins.

Boris Champy was born in Champagne. He exchanged grey skies for the golden slopes of Burgundy and was the winemaker at the famed estate Domaine des Lambrays in 2014 when LVMH took ownership. With a carte blanche, he was responsible for returning the Grand Cru of Clos des Lambrays to its former glory. To do this he studied the soils and geology within the vineyard, breaking it down into seven different picks for vintage. His fanatical attention to minute details elevates wines, adding flourish and articulation. His one prerequisite to his team at Lambrays was ‘You have to love the grapevine, and love the wine”. Love and hard work are part of Champy’s mantra. He employs sensitive vineyard practices to ensure a long and healthy vine life.

Champy’s first vintage was 2019. He worked alongside Montchovet, gaining as much knowledge as possible about the sites and soils. Montchovet still makes regular appearances at the Domaine to plough a row or two of the beloved vineyards or to smell the harvest. Champy has continued with biodynamic farming in the vineyards.

In the winery, Champy likes to extend the lees contact and has added a small portion of new oak. He’s also passionate about working with the higher altitudes and slopes of the Haute Cote des Beaunes to counter the warmer vintages Burgundy has been experiencing.

These are a very special set of Burgundies, Michael even remarked it may be the best Burgundy tasting we’ve seen this year. It didn’t just come down to what was in the glass. They tell a story of the old and thoughtful guard of Burgundy (Montchavet) moving aside for the respectful and fastidious outsider (Champy) who fought hard to buy some very special plots of Burgundy. Hard work, a passion for Burgundy and deep thinking are the conduit that has brought these winemakers together.

Today we’ve offering two Haute Cotes De Beaune, a blanc and a rouge. The 2018 rouge is the last vintage Montchavet made under his label, while the 2020 blanc is Champy’s second vintage (his reds are yet to land in Australia but the reviews are glowing.)

We have a small amount of both, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to buy a 6 pack of each or a dozen of the Montchovet – his last wine ever made. They capture the essence of the smaller domaines of Burgundy beautifully.

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'...the overnight emergence of a new reference point-producer,' WILLIAM KELLEY

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Passing the Burgundy Baton REG. PRICE SPECIAL ORDER TOTAL
Didier Montchovet Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge 2018 $65.00 $58.00
Boris Champy Haute Cotes de Beaune Blanc 2020 $80.00 $72.00
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