Montbourgeau, L’Étoile Chardonnay “Les 5 Étoiles”
Montbourgeau, L’Étoile Chardonnay “Les 5 Étoiles”

Montbourgeau, L’Étoile Chardonnay “Les 5 Étoiles”

Jura, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$50.00

Montbourgeau, L’Étoile Chardonnay “Les 5 Étoiles”

For a small, historically obscure wine region, the Jura seems to be popping up everywhere these days. There are now dozens of good to great domaines that are being imported to help satiate the seemingly endless thirst for these insider wines among sommeliers and amateur wine “geeks” all over the country. But if you want to go right to the source, and try a bottle that has been made the same way for a century, and has behind it many more centuries of tradition, then today’s uniquely delicious Chardonnay discovery from Domaine Montbourgeau is 100 percent the perfect wine. While notes of orchard fruit and citrus will remind you of its neighbors in Burgundy, just 50 or so miles to the west, the mineral cut and earthy, woodsy flavors are distinct among all the global Chardonnay expressions. So if you have a wine lover on your holiday list and want to give them a taste of adventure, or if you yourself are looking to break out of the usual white wine rut, then you definitely need to grab a few bottles of this stunning, tiny production, eclectic gem.

If you thumb through the wine list at any restaurant with a top program or sommelier, you’ll likely encounter a small section for wines of The Jura, probably somewhere between the Burgundy and Rhône selections. This beautiful, ancient region of rolling Alpine foothills has been producing wines to accompany their much-more-famous cheeses (Comté; Morbier) for many centuries. But until very recently, the wines barely made it outside of the French Alps, much less France. Over the past decade or so, that has changed dramatically, and some of the most famous producers—Overnoy, Puffeney, Ganevat—have become true cult wines, fetching triple digit prices (if you can find them). And all along, Domaine Montbourgeau has been steadfastly producing bottles of traditional excellence that lovers of unabashedly old-school Jura styling adore. 

The domaine was founded back in 1920 by Victor Gros, who was adamant about making wines in the same way that his neighbors in the region had been doing since Medieval times. This includes producing wines from the Savagnin grape in the sous voile method, which is aging the wine in barrels without “topping them up”; this encourages the yeast to grow a “veil” over the wine, similar to how Sherry is produced. The most famous version of this is Vin Jaune, a late harvest, sous voile of Savagnin that ages for seven or more years. However, the majority of vines at this tiny estate are actually Chardonnay, and the “5 Étoiles” is Montbourgeau’s calling card for the exceptional wine this ubiquitous grape produces here. Today it is Victor’s granddaughter, Nicole Deriaux, and her son, Cesar, who are running the estate.

The Jura is a very small wine-producing region by French standards, and the principal commune here is Arbois, where most of the production is centered. But Montbourgeau is in Étoiles, which, at just 52 hectares of vineyards, is the tiniest appellation in a tiny region. Nicole and Cesar have nine hectares, and for the “5 Étoiles” they select several prime parcels of Chardonnay and age them ouillé, or topped up like they do in Burgundy, for 12 months before racking into stainless steel tanks to firm up. The result is a wine that has all the classic terroir notes of the Jura, including woodsy, earthy aromas and intense minerality, but retains a clean and precise texture. Serve this one-of-a-kind Chardonnay at a cool 50 degrees after a brief decant and you’ll encounter a full array of Jura splendor: marzipan, barely ripe green apple, lemon curd, baking spices, puff pastry, wildflowers, wet herbs, porcini, and forest floor. The elegant, medium bodied texture is not dissimilar from those not too distant cousins in Puligny-Montrachet, but the intense, bone-crushing minerality is the tell-tale sign of this special terroir. A simple plate of Alpine cheeses and charcuterie is a splendid pairing, or go even more traditional and get your fondue pot out!

Montbourgeau, L’Étoile Chardonnay “Les 5 Étoiles”

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