A leading shipper or négociant in Savigny-les-Beaune, Henri de Villamont was founded in 1889 and since 1964 has been owned by the Swiss firm Schenk. Their main offices have long been a landmark on the outskirts of Savigny-les-Beaune, and their picturesque cellars, over a century old and recently renovated, hold a spectacular collection of Burgundy. Some forty years ago, Henri de Villamont made headlines by marketing the famous Dr. Barolet Collection, which included rare and irreplaceable Burgundy going back well into the 19th century. Incredibly, some of these fine wines are still drinking well today.
Beginning in 2005, Schenk invested some 2€ million in modernizing the Henri Villamont cellars, outfitting stainless steel indoor sorting tables, computer-controlled presses, and new stainless steel fermenting tanks. In connection with that, they hired veteran winemaker Pierre Jehan, who hails from Meursault, to oversee production. Jehan’s special talents with red and white Burgundy are especially apparent in recent vintages. In addition, through land exchanges and purchases, Henri de Villamont is now the largest landowner in Chambolle-Musigny.
The firm owns 10 hectares of vineyards in the Côte d’Or, and offers a full range of Burgundies ranging from grands crus Chablis to top wines from the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits (Grands-Échezeaux, Bâtard-Montrachet, Corton-Charlemagne, etc.). Their home town of Savigny-les-Beaune produces particularly fine wines, and those from the Clos des Guettes (monopole) and Lavières vineyards are especially good value. Rarities, such as fabulous offerings of Hospices de Beaune wines, and highly acclaimed selections from the Confrérie des Chevaliers de Tastevin, with their striking, ornate Tastevinage label, make this a very complete and special offering of fine Burgundy.
There are two levels of quality: the main négociant label, which identify grapes and wines bought from local growers; and the Henri de Villamont estate label, which include estate-grown wines sold under the name Domaine Henri de Villamont. Among my Selections, I have included offerings from both the négociant and the estate labels that I consider especially interesting. Quantities are limited, particularly with the Tastevinage series.