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Montagny


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In the southwest part of the Côte Chalonnaise, far away from Mercurey and the northerly Givry, the four villages that encompass the Montagny appellation make some very good wine from the Chardonnay grape. The villages of Buxy, Jully-lès-Buxy, Montagny-lès-Buxy and St-Vallerin make up a total of 15.65 square miles, more than twice as much as Mercurey, but there are only 736 acres of vineyards in the villages.

Quality is not guaranteed in Montagny, the Premiers Crus being famously unstable designations that actually take up well over half the growing space. They also make up more than half of production. The only difference between village wine and Premier Cru wine is that the latter require half a percent more alcohol (11.5%); yields are not even required to be different.

This makes navigating the Montagny wine market a little tricky at times, but it's still the best village for white wine in the Côte Chalonnaise by a long shot. These white Burgundies tend to be lighter and less oaky than average, with fresh acidity and minerality and good yellow fruit.

History

When Montagny was recognized as an AOC in 1936, regulators combined four villages under its name, banned red wine, and specified only alcohol level for Premier Cru wines. Eventually, they raised quality by introducing actual vineyard designations, and the appellation's reputation has been steadily improving ever since.

Climate and Viticulture

Being further south than Mercurey and therefore much warmer than some of the top Chardonnay places in the Côte de Beaune, Montagny is much different from the Côte de Beaune and worlds apart from the icy Chablis. Fatness is more of a worry than leanness for these wines, and that is why many of them are not oaked. The iron-rich soil is what makes Chardonnay the perfect grape here, and what will put too much minerality and not enough flavor into red wines that producers attempt here. Chalky clay and limestone make up the soil base.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

Due to the size of the appellation and unreliable Premier Cru system, the producer takes on more importance here than in the Côte d'Or. There are five especially noted ones, although many not mentioned here also excel.

Subregions

The Premier Cru designation in Montagny requires little; up until fairly recently, all that was needed was 11.5% alcohol for a wine to qualify as Premier Cru. Even after classifications were made, they still took up over half of Montagny's land, making the designation rather irrelevant. The most common or important of the 49 are described; see our Major Producers section for more detail about the specific wines found in these climats.