p behind Meursault and Volnay, on the slopes of the Montagne du Chagnot, the 200 or so inhabitants of the quiet village of Monthelie are surrounded by 121.90 ha (111 ha red, 10.90 ha white) of vines. Of these 27.60 ha are premier cru (26 ha red, 1.60 ha white), the rest AC Monthelie.
Monthelie is the smallest village on the Côte de Beaune, with Volnay to the northeast, Meursault to the south and Auxey-Duresses to the west. The monks from Cluny planted the first vines here around the year 1000, but traces of human settlements go all the way back to Gallo-Roman times and beyond.
The Monthelie premier crus were extended as recently as 2006; going from eleven to 15 in number when Les Clous, Le Clos des Toisières, Le Clou des Chênes and La Barbière were promoted from village status to premier cru. Nine of the premier crus are located east of the village; being an extension of the Volnay premier cru Clos des Chênes. The Monthelie wines are often described as lesser Volnays, but at more reasonable prices. Most of what is produced in Monthelie is red; white wine only accounting for four or five percent.
Up until 2006 Le Clos Gauthey was the only clos on premier cru level in Monthelie. Then the monopole of Clos des Toisières received its promotion, a promotion that required 14 years of work. The Clos des Toisières is owned by Martine (originally from Auxey-Duresses) and Bernard Meusnier in Paris, while tending the vines, harvesting and vinification is done by the Beaune négociant Maison Louis Latour. Two thirds of this clos are planted with pinot noir and the rest with chardonnay.
The Clos Gauthey, located above the Château Gaillard and below the Vignes Rondes facing southwest, was originally two different lieux-dits – Clos Gauthey and Meix Molnot. In the mid-1930's the two were merged as Clos Gauthey covereing 1 hectare 31 ares 10 ca. Today the surface area is 1,80 hectares. Slightly more than 10 percent is planted with chardonnay and the rest with pinot noir.
When Dr Lavalle published his classification of the Côte d'Or vineyards in 1855 – Histoire et Statistique de la Vigne des Grands Vins de la Cote-d'Or – he singled out the Champ-Feuillot (Champs Fulliots today) as the best vineyard in Monthelie followed by the Clos-des-Chênes (Clou des Chênes today), Duresse, Clos-Mipont, Aubrain and Les Crais.
Six years later when the Comité d'Agriculture in Beaune published their classification they were a bit more generous and included six climats in the top category, première classe – La Taupine, Le Meix Bataille, Le Clos Gauthey, Meix Molnot, Château-Gaillard, Le Cas Rougeot and Champ-Feuillots.
The village itself is a quiet and charming place, overlooking Meursault. The Roman style church was built in the late 12th century and the château de Monthelie, the home of Domaine de Suremain, dates back some 300 years.
© 2013 Ola Bergman