Best of MMD: New agency, alternative Burgundy, white port and vermouth on the rise

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

06 February 2019

Champagne Louis Roederer’s sales and marketing arm Maisons Marques et Domaines (MMD) showcased its wine portfolio in London last week. Among Imbibe’s highlights: the merchant’s new agency from Chablis, a white port of exceptional quality, a great value Burgundy alternative and a vermouth worth sipping

Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Tête d’Or 2016

Domaine Billaud-Simon, which was presented at the tasting by head winemaker Olivier Bailly, is the newest newest addition to MMD's portfolio. It owns just 17ha of vineyards, including vines in four grand crus (Blanchots, Vaudesir, Les Clos and Les Preuses) and four premier crus (Montée de Tonnerre, Vaillons, Fourchaume and Mont-de-Milieu). The resulting wines all show that classic mineral, steely character that allows them to age gracefully.

The straight Chablis Tête d’Or is made with fruit from the domain’s best parcels; 20% of the wine is fermented and aged in old oak barrels. The nose is delicate, elegant and shows great personality with notes of citrus, white flowers and a hint of honey. The palate displays powerful acidic structure, a marked lemon peel character and a smooth, nutty finish.

Billaud-Simon is currently also listed with Bancroft, but will become exclusive to MMD as of April 2019.


Ramos Pinto Adriano White Reserva NV

White port is a very peculiar category. It’s often made as an unpretentious drink, to be sipped well-chilled on its own, or mixed with tonic or soda water. But Ramos Pinto’s Adriano is nothing like this.

Adriano is made with a blend of wines that average seven years of age, but includes some 1964 vintage too, which lends structure. It pours golden, with an orangey hue; it is characterised by notes of tropical fruit as well as hints of garrigue, candied orange peel and white peppercorn. Its well-balanced sweetness and full body lead to a lingering finish.

With such an outstanding product, Ramos Pinto’s Jorge Rosas is convinced that the white port category is on its way up.

‘White port is the future. It’s very versatile,’ he told Imbibe. ‘You can have it before the meal as an aperitif or with a wide array of dishes, like smoked fish, cheese and foie gras.’


Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Rouge La Framboisière Monopole 2017

Ever-increasing prices are pushing sommeliers and buyers to look at alternative appellations to satisfy their clientele's thirst for Burgundy.

Domaine Faiveley, a Burgundy name that needs no introduction, has invested greatly in Mercurey, where its Côte Chalonnaise state-of-the-art winery is located. Faiveley’s portfolio features a number of white and red Mercurey, with La Framboisière Monopole sitting comfortably at the top of the quality spectrum.

It offers a powerful, fruit-led nose, with plenty of crunchy raspberry and strawberry aromas. In the mouth it displays great concentration, well-integrated oak and ripe, velvety tannins. A real bargain.


Pio Cesare Vermouth di Torino NV

Although vermouth is more often than not used as a cocktail ingredient, the best ones are better off sipped straight up or simply over ice. When it comes to producers such as Pio Cesare, one of Barolo's greatest names, this is certainly the case.

What makes it so drinkable is its balanced palate, with a comforting sweetness evened out by plenty of zesty orange peel, fresh flavours of menthol, eucalyptus and vermouth’s characteristic quinine notes.

Currently, the base wine is a Chardonnay – flavoured with a mixture of 26 aromatic herbs – but Pio Cesare told Imbibe that the producer is planning to beef up the amount of Moscato that makes up the blend.


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