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The Montoise 2017, a well-bred grape

The MONTOISE 2017, a golden Chasselas, episode 1

How do you grow the best Chasselas in the world? A report from Cave de la Côte’s award-winning Mont-sur-Rolle vineyard during the 7th Mondial du Chasselas in Aigle.

 

 

 

How do you grow the best Chasselas in the world? A report from Cave de la Côte’s award-winning Mont-sur-Rolle vineyard during the 7th Mondial du Chasselas in Aigle.

A fully south-facing position, on hillsides with an impressive gradient, and a well-ventilated plot that peaks at an altitude of nearly 600 metres, at the high point of the Mont-sur-Rolle designation. To this ideal sunny spot are added sandy-clay soils, the ideal terroir for chasselas: these are some of the key conditions that allowed Montoise 2017 to be crowned best chasselas in the world, out of over 600 competitors, at the 7th Mondial du Chasselas.

“Montoise 2017 essentially comes from this 23,000-square-metre plot known as La Romma”, explains Patrick Monnard. La Côte’s wine grower is one of the reasons for this success: following his dual training as an arboriculture and viticulture engineer in Changins, the young man took over the family estate in 2014. Following in the footsteps of his father Roland, who continues to support and advise him, he represents the third generation of this 75-hectare mixed farming operation that combines vines, orchards and cereal crops.

At the heart of the estate, the 12-hectare vineyard is divided between the Bursinel and La Côte designations. Patrick is the vineyard owner and wine grower, while Cave de la Côte owns the vines. The La Romma plot was planted by Roland Monnard in the 1980s, and the plants are renewed approximately every 25 years.

“It’s a team effort”, says Patrick Monnard, “which means that the vine is monitored in partnership with the oenologists from Cave de la Côte: the options and key stages are determined together and at the end of the cycle, the grape is delivered to the Nyon cellar to be vinified.”

The work carried out on the vines includes heavy cordon pruning in March and bud pruning in the spring; otherwise, most jobs are mechanised. Grass is grown between the rows: “We don’t use any herbicide and we grow our vines sustainably, with limited use of inputs and without synthetic products from the flowering stage onwards”, says Patrick Monnard.

The yield is slightly below the canton quotas, approximately one kilo per square metre. And as far as this vintage’s weather conditions are concerned, the wine grower notes that 2017 was fairly similar to 2018, with strong heat and few rain showers.

What does he feel are the other keys to Montoise’s success? “The choice of the exact moment of the harvest – neither too early, nor too late – is a determining factor”, explains Patrick Monnard. This is where the collaboration with Rodrigo Banto, Cave de la Côte’s oenologist, comes in: “We taste the grape together, we talk about it, sometimes passionately, and his expertise proves decisive.” La Romma is a plot with magnificent potential and is always one of the last to be harvested. This autumn, the harvest will probably take place around 1 October.

While it is possible to measure the sugar and acidity levels, there is no substitute for sensory analysis and experience. “You have to bite into the grape”, demonstrates Roland Monnard. “You can then see if the pips are still attached to the flesh. They need to turn brown and detach themselves from the fruit, with that slight taste of roasted seeds, without astringency. The skin will also ripen, and the grape will be filled with sugar: this is one of the pivotal moments for the vine.”

For Patrick Monnard, this reward is the result of a year of hard work, as well as a great deal of know-how. “His” Montoise 2017 is “a magnificent expression of chasselas with a subtle attack on floral notes and good minerality in the finish, leaving a fresh sensation in the mouth. This wine earns its place in Cave de la Côte’s Esprit Terroir collection, which highlights the characteristics of La Côte’s production locations.”

Discover the Esprit Terroir collection