Guide to the Loire regions

Côtes d'Auvergne

Grower Profiles



Benoît Montel
Fresh-faced Benoît Montel got the wine bug early. His father, when he wasn’t working in the local hospital, maintained a ‘weekend’ vineyard in Bourrassol, the most renowned lieu-dit in Châteaugay, whose slopes overlook the Michelin test circuit. A graduate of the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, by the age of 22 he had created his own four hectare domaine in conjunction with Christophe Caillot, his father-in-law. Two years later, he moved his cellar to an unsigned, graffiti-covered warehouse which was previously used for repairing commercial vehicles, on an industrial estate on the south side of Riom. He opens his garage every Friday afternoon for his customers to visit, taste and buy.

From ten hectares of vines (of which eight are rented, mostly from retired vignerons), he manages to make nine different wines. From 2007, there is a little white Vin de Pays, made from half a hectare of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, grown at high altitude on a slope west of the town of Volvic. A second white comes from one hectare of barrel fermented Chardonnay, planted in Bourrassol which is sold as Châteaugay and where Montel also sources the Gamay for his rosé. That leaves six different reds; subtract two from the crus of Madargues (2.5ha of Gamay) and Chanturgue (0.4ha of Gamay) leaves four different cuvées from Châteaugay, including a 100% Pinot Noir (which will be absorbed into the other wines as the legislation changes), a 100% Gamay from Bourrassol, an old vine cuvée, raised in oak for nine months, and finally, a generic Châteaugay rouge.

ontel is a clear innovator, although with so many different wines produced from such a fractured number of parcels invariably means that the overall potential is lost in all the distraction. A little consolidation in the range wouldn’t go amiss. But these are still good wines, and widely seen on the tables of the northern suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand and Riom.  

Benoît Montel
ZI La Varenne
6 Rue Henri Goudier
Riom
T/F: + 33 4 73 64 96 14
P: + 33 6 74 50 00 24
Benoit-montel@orange.fr

 


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