2018 Domaine du Cellier Aux Moines Mercurey Les Margotons
As you know by now there are some very special, unique places in Burgundy that make extraordinary wine. And this is one such bottle and a tale worth telling. The wine’s name is long (and confusing), and the story is long too. But both are worth noting because this wine is oh so darn delicious. Here goes:
In the 11th century the Abbey of Cluny as a Benedictine order of monks was at the height of its spiritual, political and economic influence. While this was great for the Benedictines, some of the monks in the order longed for a return to their original monastic values of asceticism.
These monks headed north and eventually settled in Citeaux. They accepting donations of land so they could farm and feed themselves and their guests, the new Abbey of Citeaux being so close to the Cote d’Or, it wasn’t long before they started receiving vineyards. The first was from Eudes I, Duke of Burgundy in Meursault and the second—and most remarkable in all of Burgundy—was a walled-in Clos in the town of Vougeot, gifted by Gilles de Vergy in 1112. In other words, the now extremely famous Grand Cru vineyard Clos Vougeot. It was noted at the time that “keen to produce good wine for the liturgy and for hospitality purposes, the monks carefully identified and chose terroirs, and improved vine-growing and wine-making techniques.”
These wine-making monks inspired others, and in 1113 twelve of them left the Abbey of Citeaux and headed just south of the Cote d’Or to the Chalonaise. There, Foulques de Reon, the Count of Chalon, gifted the monks forests and cleared land in order to establish yet another Abbey. And sometime between 1120 and 1130, these monks also started producing wine. And the place they were producing it? The Domaine du Cellier Aux Moines. This place, still producing wine nine centuries later, has forever since been classified as Premier Cru and it is our wine today.
So why, if this place is so special, haven’t you heard of it before, like you might have with Clos Vougeot?
Well, as you might guess, 900 years is a long time to have anything last including dukes, kingdoms, and abbeys. And while I am not sure when Domaine du Cellier Aux Moines faded into the Givry hillside, I do know when its rebirth was – 2004. In 2004 the Pascal family acquired the Domaine du Cellier and in 2015 Guillaume Marko became head winemaker. Guillaume’s last stint in winemaking was at Domaine Romanee Conti – a pretty darn special place to be making Burgundy. And with his talent, one of the oldest domaines in Burgundy was rebirthed. And this bottle proves that glorious history:
Mercurey sits just north of the main property in Givry, and just a little ways south of the three prime villages of white Burgundy – Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne. Les Margotons is a single northeast-facing vineyard on white marl, producing a beautiful nose with touches of fresh pineapple, corn husk, lemon and bit of hazelnut. The palate is quick and lively, a bit frisky in its youthful moment right now. It has good tension across the midpalate and ends with a long, mineral finish. Certainly perfect to drink now, I also love seeing Mercureys blossom with about four years of age on them.
Can 900 years of site-specific winemaking go wrong? Maybe. But not with this bottle. With this wine you are getting nearly a millennium of artists honing their work and vineyards in order to bring you this sensational wine. Don’t miss it.