Bâtard-Montrachet is a grand cru vineyard at the base of the Montrachet hill, across the communes of Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet. Along with its grand cru neighbours Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet is considered to be one of the very best terroirs in the world for the Chardonnay grape variety, making complex, structured wines with excellent aging abilities.
Puligny-Montrachet's grand cru sites are at the southern end of the commune, on the mid-slope of the hill. Bâtard-Montrachet covers 11.97 hectares (29.5 acres) on the lowest part of the grand cru slope – the land below is only classified to make village-level wines. The prestigious Montrachet site is above Bâtard-Montrachet, and Chevalier-Montrachet sits even higher on the hill. The small Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet vineyard occupies the northeast corner of the climat, while the Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet site is at the southern end, entirely within Chassagne-Montrachet.
The climat's position at the bottom of the hill means that the soil is deeper here than in the other grand crus. Bâtard-Montrachet's pebbly limestone soils have a higher proportion of clay, and so drainage is not quite so effective as higher on the hill. However, the soil still allows for contact between the vines' root systems and the limestone below, which makes for healthy, strong vines, as well as possibly contributing to the subtle mineral characteristics present in Bâtard-Montrachet wines.
These limestone soils are also credited with contributing to Bâtard-Montrachet's mesoclimate, as they reflect light back onto the vine canopy, aiding the ripening process. Bâtard-Montrachet has a gentle incline that faces the vineyard toward the east, giving the vines exposure to the morning sun, which helps warm the soils. The temperate mesoclimate is important in Burgundy's cool continental climate, as it helps the grapes reach full phenolic ripeness.
Bâtard-Montrachet's name, like many in the area, is said to derive from the process of inheritance. A vineyard on the south-eastern slopes of the Montrachet hill is thought to have been divided up by a local lord, the Seigneur de Puligny, between his oldest son, the Chevalier; his daughters, the Pucelles (maids); and his illegitimate son, the bâtard, or bastard.