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Rocks and Minerals from Domaine de Montbourgeau

Rocks and Minerals from Domaine de Montbourgeau

Rocks and minerals. We love to talk about vineyard soils because we so often taste them in the wine. Scientists assert that's not because little bits of those rocks are traveling up from the roots, through the vines and into the grapes. Something vastly more complex and mysterious is happening. Whatever it is, it can be beautiful.

There’s no better example of this sort of beauty than Montbourgeau’s gorgeous, alpine Chardonnay, the “5 Etoiles.” Domaine de Montbourgeau was founded a century ago in the small Jura town of L’Etoile — the star — thus named for the prodigious amount of star-shaped fossils in the soils, formed when some ancient sea dried up.

Over the decades, Montbourgeau has become known for their white wines; like the best in the region, they are complex with saline notes, waxy yellow fruit and, above all, tons of intense minerality. You can taste the terroir. Of course, the soils aren’t the only thing. To make wine this good – and this transparent to the terroir – requires excellent farming and careful winemaking. Nicole and Cesar, now in charge of the 100-year-old family domaine, have made Montbourgeau the reference-point Etoile producer, thanks to assiduous vineyard work and a strictly traditional and natural approach in the winery.

Montbourgeau’s wines deliver the ultimate expression of those tiny, prehistoric sea creatures and we are always excited to receive our annual allocation, especially as the Jura's true traditionalists become vanishingly few. Their “5 Etoiles” bottling is the perfect introduction to the Domaine, the village and, if you don’t know it already, the Jura region itself.

Domaine de Montbourgeau L'Etoile Les 5 Etoiles 2021 - $42.99

Fruit from a selection of top sites is blended and then aged in barrel without exposure to oxygen (in the “ouillé” style) to make a beautiful wine with a texture that could evoke a top Burgundy Village (Puligny, maybe, or perhaps Chablis) but all the classic Jura notes: minerally goodness, of course, but also vibrant, barely-ripe fruit, almond paste, lemon curd, and something umami like sous-bois with wild mushrooms. Intense but amazingly rewarding, don’t be afraid to decant this like you would a red wine to give it a chance to open up and show you what it’s got.


This story was originally featured in our newsletter, where it was offered at a special subscribers-only discount. Subscribers get special offers, the first look at new discoveries, invites to events, and stories about wines and the artisans that make them.