Obituary: Hubert de Montille
One of Burgundy’s most respected winemakers, Hubert de Montille of the eponymous estate in Volnay, has died aged 84.
He was said to have been drinking 1999 Pommard Rugiens at the time and French journal Le Point commented that it was the death he would have wished for.
Born in 1930 into a winemaking family with a pedigree that pre-dates the French Revolution, de Montille’s first vintage was in 1947 when he was only 17 after his uncle was called away.
The family estate in Volnay had decreased in size from 12 hectares to three when he took over the running of the property and, alongside a parallel career as a lawyer, he re-established the holding in both size and as one of the Côte de Beaune’s foremost wineries.
Today, as well as the original estate the family owns a négociant business and Château Puligny-Montrachet.
He took the near unprecedented step of bottling his own wines in the 1960s and, as a key exponent of terroir, appeared as a major figure in the documentary Mondovino in 2004 – a film which also exhibited his fearless pronouncements on subjects close to his heart.
As a lawyer he was part of several high-profile cases including Domaine Faiveley’s libel case against Robert Parker and “l’Affiare Grégory”, where he defended Bernard Laroche who was accused of killing four-year-old Grégory Villemin in what was possibly France’s most famous court case of the 1980s.
Pre-deceased by his wife, Christiane, in 2008, the estate is run by their children Etienne and Alix.