This is a fun find from a lesser-known area of Burgundy, from a bit of an underground producer. Domaine de la Cadette was initially founded by Jean and Catherine Montanet as a cooperative, planting vineyards in Saint-Pierre about 45 minutes south of Chablis proper in 1987, with their first production taking place a few years later in 1990. While the area of Saint-Pierre has been making wine for centuries, very little was and still is Domaine bottled, making Domaine de la Cadette a pioneer and an enigma.
Jean and Catherine are close friends with the Chablis native and top producer, Bernard Raveneau of Francois Raveneau. Bernard was influential in helping Jean get started on his winemaking journey and was a critical part of the success of this newfound Domaine.
Jean chose to cultivate his vineyards organically from the beginning, which was another unheard-of aspect in this part of Burgundy but looking to set themselves apart and show what this terroir could do, the Domaine held fast, undeterred by the extra work and financial costs. As time went on, the Co-op style of winemaking didn't bode well anymore, so the Montanets left and took their vineyards with them forming their very own Domaine and was soon joined by their son Valentin who joined in 2010 and is now the helm of the estate.
The vineyard land sits deep in the Morvan, the great mountain range that runs west by northwest of the famous Côte d'Or. The land here is quite exceptional: the creation of the granite massif of the Morvan has uplifted a marl and limestone strata, revealing fossilized marine deposits. While it is under the umbrella of the Vézelay AOC, a satellite of Chablis, the soils are unique here, showing more multicolored clay and, in some cases, pure limestone. The temperatures are also cooler here than in Chablis, but the vines receive ample sunshine creating minerally deep wines with generous fruit.
Domaine de la Cadette has re-written what this part of Burgundy has become known for, flipping the bulk production of wine on its head and unearthing the dormant potential in this terroir as its foremost producer.
The wine we have today is a brilliant display of the years of hard work and dedication the Montanets have put in and comes from 30 years old vines from a few vintages, including Uchizy, Saone, and Loire (not the Loire valley). Fermentation takes place in tank with aging for 8-10 months before bottling. While it is a Bourgogne Blanc, it is much more exciting than that and is a delicious wine bursting with lemon-lime zest and striking limestone minerality, and striking acidity. This is pure, honest white Burgundy at an unbeatable price made even sweeter with the three-bottle discount. It's a great house pour or gathering wine that has a bit more substance than a quaffer with the material to impress even the devout Burgundy drinker while also satisfying the fruit needs of a Domestic Chardonnay lover.