Domaine Benoit Ente
Benoit Ente is the younger brother to Arnaud Ente, one of the greatest chardonnay producers in the world. While Benoit has been making wine since the late 80s, it wasn’t until 1997 that he was able to acquire his own vineyards. He inherited less than 4 hectares almost exclusively in Puligny‐Montrachet, as well as small plots in Chassagne‐Montrachet and Meursault.
At the outset, Benoit began making wines that focused on richness, power, and weight by using a higher percentage of new oak and frequent battonage to give density. Like many passionate, young vingnerons, he wanted to make a statement. With maturity however comes a greater perspective and following the 2004 harvest, Benoit has steadily evolved to the point where today, he is making wines of incredible purity and balance. Benoit’s wines are precise and focused with a tension to them that is not unlike a coiled spring waiting to unfurl. On the palate, his wines do just that and the tightly knit structure detected on the nose is revealed in layers of complexity.
Domaine Benoit Ente boasts an impressive lineup of vineyard holdings. In Chassagne‐Montrachet he has a tiny parcel in Houillères, a well situated villages vineyard on the border with Puligny‐Montrachet, while in Puligny‐Montrachet, he has an impressive array of vines from villages to the 1er Crus of Sous le Puits, Truffières, and Folatières.
Every year, Benoit Ente's target is to get the best harvest by mastering the yield: sound grapes with a good equilibrium between sugar and acidity; mastering the volume of the harvest to get the right expression of terroirs. The quality of the wine is, above all, coming from the quality of the grapes, therefore all the work in the vineyard is very important.
The « green work » is something the estate is taking care of (trellis, removing the unwanted new shoots…) to quickly give all chances to the selected grape. The upkeep of the soil is done thanks to a regular ploughing. This is to avoid as much as possible weed killers, and favouring the expression of the terroir! The culture of the vineyard is a reasoned agriculture. The harvest date is determined with accuracy and the picking of the grapes is done by hand, exclusively.
Benoit Ente likes to mature all his wines in oak barrels for 12 months, even the Aligoté wine!. Nothing is added to the wine. A light filtration is done just before bottling the wine. The bottling is done at the estate and by Benoit himself.
At he end, the result is a first class wine, with the expression of the most beautiful burgundy terroir, extracted from the chalky-clayed hillsides. But also from the passion of a wine maker, from his work and an ancestral “savoir faire”.
The vineyard has access to about 20 plots, totalling about 6 hectares, essentially in or around Puligny Montrachet. The vines are mainly those that belonged to his grandparents: Chardonnay is used for all their white wines, except for the Bourgogne Aligoté appellation and, for red Burgundy wines, they use pinot noir grapes. The density of their land coverage varies between 10,000 to 11,000 vines per hectare.
Domaine Benoit Ente believes in sustainable grape growing, they maintain their soil without resorting to chemical weed killers or fertilizers whenever possible. They practise what we refer to in France as “well-reasoned” agriculture, which means they use all available techniques, including chemical products when they have no other choice to get rid of pests or to deal with plant diseases caused by extreme weather conditions.
All of the appellations are hand picked. Domaine Benoit Ente uses only openwork cases to transport the grapes so that they are not damaged before being pressed.
Winemaking and ageing:
Whatever the appellation, winemaking is carried out over an 18-month period and this is true for all the batches.
For the first 12 months, the juice is stored in barrels or vats, and for the last 6 months, the wines of the same appellation are assembled in vats, thus enabling them to finish and clarify them without filtration.