Founded in1941, this family owned domain is now in the hands of Jean-Pierre Cornut, the third generation. He traded in a career in the aeronautical business to return to the family home in Chassagne Montrachet in 1993 when his father fell ill.
The château itself is found near the top of the village of Chassagne. Built on the ruins of a15th-century chateau, the distinctive 18th-century mansion with diamond-patterned glazed tiles has been restored from top to bottom by Jean-Pierre. The impressive vaulted cellars date from the 15th century original building. To illustrate how complicated this part of Burgundy can be, Jean-Pierre leads visitors to the back of the house where the vines slope down to the main road. The vineyard is in the climat of the Maltroie 1er Cru and comprises three parts: Maltroie, Maltroie Crêtes and the walled Clos de la Maltroye named after the chateau; three different appellations; all planted with both red and white grapes.
When Jean-Pierre took over, he used his engineer training to implement significant changes such as —a temperature-control system for the production of both reds and whites, two pneumatic presses and automatic pigeage for the red wines Tall, lanky and artistic (he is proud of his impressive contemporary art collection) Jean-Pierre Cornut is both owner and winemaker.
Maltroye is one of the largest domains in Chassagne with 15 hectares of land, 13 of which are in Chassagne and 2 are in Santenay, with 70% of the production comprising Premier Cru wine. Around 70,000 bottles are produced each year (60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir). The jewel of the domain is the Clos de Chateau, a monopole comprising 1½ hectares of Chardonnay and 1 ½ hectares of Pinot Noir.
The red and white wines have separate cellars and vat rooms. The Chardonnay grapes are pressed within two hours of picking, the lees are settled and the fermentation begins in stainless steel at cold temperatures before the wine is transferred half way through to oak barrels in the temperature-controlled ground floor cellar. The whites go through malolactic in barrel and age for a year in oak, before bottling with neutral gas under vacuum.
The reds are fully crushed and destemmed and are left to undergo a cold maceration before fermentation in stainless steel at cool temperatures – a period of 25-30 days. The aging takes 14 to 18 months on the fine lees in oak barrels before bottling with neutral gas under vacuum. The barrels for the red wines are kept underground in the impressive vaulted cellars.
The white wines often begin with petrol aromas on the nose, sign of an evident reduction. This passes quite quickly to reveal vibrant, nuanced flavours of pear and blossom with an underlying note of mineral and resin. Fresh, full and dry with elegant, long persistence these wines can age well. The red wines are full and powerful in style and have to a lesser extent the same reduced nose to begin with, opening up to reveal great fruit purity and individual character.