Volnay’s Domaine de Montille is one of the most historic in
the Côte d’Or. Founded in 1730, the property remains family-owned and run, with
Etienne de Montille – the ninth generation – at the helm today.
The De Montille story is a familiar one in Burgundy; for a
long period, the family’s holdings dwindled as more and more of their prized
vineyards were agonisingly sold off to make ends meet during the lean years of
the early 20th century. Etienne’s father Hubert de Montille took over the
estate in 1947, aged just 17, by which point the domaine had just two and a
half hectares to its name.
Etienne’s father knew that he had to change tack if the
domaine was to survive and worked both as a vigneron and a lawyer to finance
the estate, returning it to its former glory. He gradually worked to grow
the estate, incorporating more Chardonnay vineyards into what was previously an
exclusively Pinot Noir focused domaine. Their first white wine vineyard
purchase was the Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Le Cailleret, bought by Hubert
in 1993. Like his father, Etienne used his earnings as a lawyer to build up the
domaine’s acreage, including a 2005 purchase of a plot in one of the region's
finest Premier Cru sites – Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Malconsorts, neighbouring
the Grand Cru of La Tâche.
Etienne learnt how to make white wine under the guidance of
his brother in law, who just so happened to be Jean-Marc Roulot and only helped
see the domaine’s reputation grow.
The estate now produces over 35 cuvées from appellations
throughout the Côte d’Or, the vast majority of which (70%) is either Premier or