2011 Chateau De Monthelie, Monthelie 1er Cru Sur La Velle
Since 1978 Eric de Suremain has been producing artisan Burgundy from his base at the Chateau de Monthelie. He was one of the first to convert to bio dynamics in Burgundy in 1986 and was the consultant to Anne-Claude Leflaive when she turned to bio dynamics.
Eric is all about his vines and his terroir and it shows in his wines which are amongst the best you will taste in the Cote de Beaune. For a big bear of a man he produces the silkiest, most elegant and delicate Burgundy you can imagine.
Monthelie is a little hamlet. It straddles the borders of Volnay and Meursault on hillside vineyards that get excellent exposure to the all important ripening sun. Stylistically, the wines are perfumed and open like Volnay but perhaps without the precision found in Volnay's best sites. I find them floral, pretty and very delicious and you can add elegance, silkiness and depth when talking about Eric de Suremain's wines
There are only about 200 people living in the village which makes it one of the smallest in Burgundy - there isn't a village center, just growers' houses winding up a hillside to the requisite church at the top of the village, all surrounded by vines. For a long time, the wines of Monthelie were part of neighbor Volnay. In fact, before Monthelie got its own appellation back in 1937, the wines were labelled as Volnay or Pommard. Eric's best Monthelie comes from a vineyard named “Sur La Velle”. It is considered the best vineyard in Monthelie and no surprise because the grapes rub shoulders with those from Volnay. It is a terrific wine.
Below in bold is another take on Eric's wines by respected British wine merchants Justerini & Brooks
As much as it is a much over-used cliché, there is no doubt that Eric is a real character and very much a ‘hands-on’ man. Every year, after negotiating the tight squeeze through the gates of the splendid Château de Monthélie, we drive up to the front door confronted by a grinning, short-clad Eric de Suremain. He wears shorts come hell or high water, hail, wind or rain.
You only have to observe his soil-encrusted hands to realize that he spends his entire life in the vineyard. Wine is definitely his passion.
One suspects that Monthélie is rather unfairly known (if at all) as simply “that village next door to Meursault”. However, Eric’s wines are certainly putting such ignorance to shame.
The bio-dynamic viticultural methods set in place since 1996, some of the Côte d’Or’s lowest yields (often on a par with Domaine Leroy), rigorous grape selection and a minimal intervention winemaking policy conspire to produce some of the purest, finest and most complex Burgundy available.
2011 Monthelie Rouge 1er Cru ‘Sur la Velle’, Eric de Suremain - Slightly bigger-framed than the wine above and with more complexity it is rich but very fresh and has a silky finish that fans out nicely. The fruit has a floral tone with flavours of griotte, red cherry, loganberry with touches of earth and undergrowth. A great wine from a parcel of old vines that borders Volnay Santenots.