Domaine de la Cadette and Domaine Montanet-Thoden

We have been great fans of the beautifully crafted Vezelay wines of the Domaine de la Cadette for some time after first noticing them on the wine list at iconic Paris restaurant Le Chateaubriand. We have visited Jean and Catherine Montanet and their son Valentin on a number of occasions since then in the small village of St Pére near Vezelay and have always been inspired by the quality of their wines and the precision of the winemaking.

There are three domaines which they operate. Domaine de la Cadette is owned by Jean and Catherine Montanet and the wines are made by Jean Montanet with the help of son Valentin.

La Soeur Cadette is the “negoce” under which they use some of their own organic grapes and buy some more organic grapes from some of their friends who do not make wine except for their own use.

Domaine Montanet-Thoden is owned by Catherine Montanet and Tom Thoden and the wines are now made by Valentin who is showing that he has learned well from his father and is making wines of the same purity but with his own distinctive stamp.

These domaines practice organic viticulture, use no pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard and no additives in the winemaking process. The grapes are fermented using only the naturally occurring yeasts.

There is a small ‘bar à vins’ and restaurant attached to their cellar on the outskirts of Saint-Pére called ‘Le Pied dans le Plat’ where visitors can drop in for a glass of their wine and a snack or to buy a bottle or more to take away.

Address: 47 Rue du Pont, Saint-Pére. Open daily from June to September.

Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Vézelay La Châtelaine 2015

La Châtelaine is one of Domaine de la Cadettte’s best cuvées made from the only permitted white grape variety in the Bourgogne Vézelay appellation, Chardonnay.

The wine comes from grapes from the vineyards on the pretty south-facing slopes of the Vézelay hills.

The grapes are harvested by hand and then fermented naturally in stainless steel tanks.

This is a beautifully-textured wine, showing that white wines of considerable elegance can be produced in this region.

All of the Domaine de la Cadette wines are made with skill and care and result in clean, clear, flavoursome wines of great elegance. Rarely do you find such consistency of flavour and texture as in the wines of this domaine.

It is easy to determine why many of the great restaurants of Europe including Le Chateaubriand and others stocks the wines of this domaine.


Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Vézelay Les Saulniers 2015

Les Saulniers is another white cuvée made entirely from Chardonnay.

The Les Saulniers vineyard is a beautiful parcel of land situated on an old road once used by salt smugglers, who extracted contraband salt from the water at the nearby “Fontaines Salées”. The vines are beautifully tended and show strength from their organic treatment.

This wine was bottled in March 2014 after spending approximately six months in vats.

It has a liveliness and freshness that is very appealing for such an elegant wine. The finish is very long and interesting. It is one of the best Chardonnay wines from the northern area of Burgundy that we have tried. It has elegance, flavour, a beautiful acid backbone and lots of structure.


Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne l’Ermitage Rouge 2014

This wine is made primarily from Pinot Noir (80%), but it also has 20% of the rare César grape that is permitted in the Yonne region of Burgundy. This grape has been grown in this area since Roman times (hence the name).

This wine is therefore quite a rarity because of the inclusion of a grape variety that is permitted in this part of Burgundy but is rarely spoken about.

César is permitted only in the communes in the Yonne department and very little wine from this area makes its way to Australia. However this wine definitely benefits from the inclusion of this spicy grape variety. We love it.

The vines grow on a very steep south-facing slope, in the rural district of Vézelay at a placed called l’Ermitage after which the wine is named.

This is a beautiful, savoury Burgundy with a lingering finish and with a hint of the exotic from the use of the César grape.


Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Champs Cadet Rouge 2015

While we originally approached the Montanet’s because of their white wines, we soon discovered that their red wines are equally as delicious. This red Burgundy is made from 100% Pinot Noir even though small quantities of the César grape are permitted in this region. The Champs Cadet vineyard is one of Cadette’s most remote and difficult with lots of stones littering the surface. This is a lovely wine with a velvet texture provided by maturation in old oak barrels, but also with the trademark freshness that makes these natural wines so appealing.

Here is what a recent edition of the Kermit Lynch newsletter had to say about this wine:

“Renowned here in France, especially in Parisian wine bars, for its Vézelay blanc, Domaine de La Cadette makes this bottling under the generic Bourgogne rouge appellation, yet this is no generic Pinot Noir. It is from an organically farmed, stone-littered parcel isolated in the forests behind Vézelay. A sip of it is a veritable autumnal walk through the woods you’ll find earth, wild cherries, and trompette de la mort mushrooms in there. Try to find that in your average over-cropped, wrong side of the RN74 Bourgogne rouge!”

This year we only have tiny amounts of the wine available due to the incredibly bad weather experienced in Vézelay. So it will be a matter of first in, first served!


La Soeur Cadette Vin de France Melon de Bourgogne Blanc 2015

The first time we tried a Melon de Bourgogne from this domaine we were amazed by the purity of the fruit and the depth of flavour (this was at the iconic Paris restaurant, Le Chateaubriand).

This grape is common in the Muscadet appellations found around Nantes near the Atlantic coast, however it has almost disappeared from Burgundy. We knew that there were very few producers of this wine left in Burgundy and even fewer who practice organic agriculture. So we set out to see if we could import it to Australia.

This wine is a great favourite of ours especially given the price considering how little is produced. It is a perfect food wine marrying well with many flavours, but it comes into its own with terrines, parfaits, charcuterie and other light meat dishes.


La Soeur Cadette Bourgogne Vézelay 2015

The La Soeur Bourgogne Vézelay is a blend of grapes grown in the Domaine de la Cadette vineyards and grapes grown in the Domaine Montanet-Thoden vineyards.

For this reason they cannot display the name of either domaine, therefore the wine is labelled with their ‘negoce’ La Soeur designation. This is all due to the rules laid down by the French wine authorities.

The wine is, however, able to be labelled with the prized Bourgogne Vézelay appellation which is only available for white wines made entirely from grapes grown within the area. These wines are able to put both the Bourgogne appellation on the label and also the name of the village where the grapes are grown.

As a result, this is a very beautiful wine made entirely from Chardonnay grapes sourced from the limestone-rich soils of their vineyards which show many of the characteristics of the Chablis vineyards just slightly north of here.


Domaine Montanet-Thoden Bourgogne Cuvee Galerne Blanc 2011

Domaine Montanet-Thoden is Catherine’s domaine but the vineyards are maintained by the same people and the wines are made by the same crew that make the Cadette wines.

The vines are only twelve years old but are already producing excellent fruit due to the organic cultivation and the presence of lots of limestone in the clay soils. It is a great place for fossil hunting!

This is a lively 100% Chardonnay packed with white flowers and impressive minerality backed by a bracing acidity and beautiful, rounded flavour. The grapes are hand-picked and then pressed very gently. It was fermented in stainless steel using wild yeasts to provide added complexity.


Montanet-Thoden Bourgogne Vezelay Clos du Blanc 2015

Domaine Montanet-Thoden is Catherine’s domaine and this year the Clos du cuvée was made by her son Valentin who has been working with Jean in the winery for a number of years.

And this wine shows both the similar winemaking technique learned from his father and the slight twist which this talented young man has put on the wine.

This is a very fine example of a Bourgogne Vézelay which must, by law, be a white wine made from 100% Chardonnay.

This cuvée benefits from the clay and limestone soils in the area which give the strong minerality to the wine.


Domaine Montanet-Thoden Bourgogne Cuvee Garance Rouge

This red is also from Catherine’s Domaine Montanet-Thoden.

This red burgundy is a very good example of a red wine from the Vezelay region. The end result is influenced by the fossilised limestone soils that are found here – giving the wines a lively minerality. Remember that this vineyard is just to the south of Chablis and shares some of the famous limestone from that region.

The grapes for this wine are hand picked from the small plots of vines, destemmed, fermented with native yeasts and matured in old oak barrels. Little sulphur is added to the bottle to maintain the freshness of the wine.

RRP: $47 for 2013, $45 for 2014