Friday, November 9, 2012

Montbourgeau's 2007 Cuvee Speciale

I was with Nicole Deriaux at Domaine de Montbourgeau last year tasting among other things her freshly bottled 2007 Cuvee Speciale. It was so freaking good I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It took a full year before I finally did, as the wine finally arrived at the store a couple of weeks ago.

Every great Jura producer has at least one signature wine that's unique and exceptional. For Domaine Montbourgeau the Cuvee Speciale is one.

Domaine de Montbourgeau is situated in L'Etoile, which is on the southern end of the Jura region. The terroir here is unique as the air is colder and limestone soils are strewn with fossils, many of them star-shaped. Quite perfect for white grapes. Thus, Chardonnay and Savagnin dominate the vineyards as both thrive very well on southfacing hillsides.

As the name implies the "Cuvee Speciale" is a selection of Montbourgeau's best Chardonnay plantings, which are the oldest vines on the best exposure. Though the Cuvee Speciale is for all intents and purposes Chardonnay, Nicole told me there is a splash of Savagnin in it. But this is just the start. The grapes are transformed into something truly extraordinary by its vinification and elevage. Unlike the other whites she makes which are fermented in stainless steel, the Cuvee Speciale is barrel-fermented. It is topped up only once after the alcohol fermentation, and then for the next 4 years as the wine ages in barrel there is no more topping up (sous veille). As a portion of the wine evaporates and oxygen enters the barrel, flor yeasts settle on the wine radically transforming the wine... sending it to another zone.

After the long elevage the Cuvee Speciale acquires a most unique flavor and finesse that is complex and mouthwatering, and totally expressive of Jura's powerful terroir

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