Jean Velut (Montgueux)

The wind roars across the flat plains of Champagne 100kms south of Epernay. There is just one small hill – it’s just west of the city of Troyes and covered with vines, many of them Chardonnay. The village at the top of the hill is Montgueux, recently hailed by a French Journalist as “the Montrachet of the Cote des Bars”, and that’s where we found Denis and Anne Velut. After finishing his studies (and an internship in Burgundy at Lafarge, the benchmark grower in Volnay), their 27 year-old son Benoit has recently joined the domaine.
Their range is impressive across the board. Cuvee Tradition is 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir with fresh citrus, lemon sorbet notes, some caraway, clean, clear and lively.
Cuvee Speciale is 100% Chardonnay – the speciality of Montgueux. Their vintage bottlings are always round and deep. Latest addition to the line-up is a Brut Nature – with zero dosage. Same base wine as the Cuvee Speciale, a blend of 2001 and 2002 bottled in 2004. Excellent.
Every time we visit, ex-teacher Anne Velut, who is a keen pastry chef, offers us a little something. This time was a “sucre sale”, a flat croissant-like sweet and salty pastry filled with apple compote and foie gras. Perfect with a glass of their 2004 vintage Champagne.