A bit of info about Mommessin

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Wine Watch, Inc.

This estate was established in 1865 at La Grange St. Pierre in the heart of Burgundy in an ancient stone building once belonging to the Abbey of Cluny. First a distiller, then a winemaker, Jean Marie Mommessin, carefully added prestigious vineyards to his holdings, which now boast some of the top grand cru and premier cru holdings in all of Burgundy, including the only Monopole grand cru owned by a single family that exists in Burgundy today, Clos de Tart in Morey St. Denis. At the beginning of the 12th Century Clos de Tart was called La Forge. It was not until 1141 that the vineyard took the name of Clos De Tart after it was acquired by the Bernardines from the abbey of Notre Dame de Tart.

Clos De Tart is in Morey St. Denis, in the central part of the Cote de Nuits. It spreads over more than 7 hectares and has only one owner. It has belonged to the Mommessin family since 1932, where it was purchased at auction on a rainy day and as rumor has it, the rain prevented many potential buyers from showing up that day and the vineyard was acquired for a fraction of what it should have cost.

Today, the fourth generation of the Mommessin family run the estate and has expanded their holdings even further into Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley, still in search of the best terroir available. The wines were still vinified and bottled on the estate in the Clos cellars. The Mommessin family made fair to average wines and built a successful business, but the new generation decided that it was time to unleash the potential of this estate and its crown jewel vineyard Clos de Tart. So in 1997, the Mommessin family sold its négociant business but kept the vineyard. Flush with money, the Mommessins built a new, $600,000 winery (completed in 1999), renewed the oak barrels (another $300,000) and made other improvements, the results were immediately apparent as the 1998 Clos de Tart is the best in years. To make that wine, Sylvain Pitiot, the estate's winemaker and director, made severe selection in the cellar. He deemed that one-quarter of the vats were unfit for the first wine. As a result, the domaine released only 1,500 cases of '98 Clos de Tart and 500 cases of a second wine, La Forge. This practice is quite unusual in Burgundy.

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