It is hard not to like Nicolas Rossignol with his energetic personality and constant curiosity. We are sure he will leave a lasting mark on the wine business and he will produce fantastic wines for us all. Our visit to the estate offered some interesting discussions about the Volnay and Pommard respective areas and and about his thoughts about wine making.
The domaine is quite young, founded in 1997, but Nicolas comes from a long line of winemakers and he has previously worked for his father on the Domaine Rossignol-Jeanniard and before that on a couple of other top Domaines in France. In 1995 he also went to South Africa and worked at domaine Boschendal where he learned a lot about vinification before starting up his own business.
Our visit to the estate was back in 2012 so we are late publishing this post. We talked about a few of the more recent vintages and Nicolas told us that two of his favourite vintages from his own production where 2008 and 2010. We also talked about Nicolas opinions about the usage of stems in the wine making process, something he uses quite actively as a way of adding structure and grip for vintages lacking just that. Actually, he uses a varying portion of whole bunches depending on vineyard and vintage, but, as he points out, they really need to be ripe, since he hates the greenness and bitterness they may cause otherwise.
He uses different wood and level of new oak (max about 50%) to each vineyard bottling and his focus is on conveying terroir. He is not fond of noticing oak in his wines. In the vineyard cultivation is very much ecologic and he follows the Lunar calendar, so obviously he employs some biodynamic techniques as well. He prunes short with high canopy training focusing on low yields.
Nicolas has an impressive collection of vineyards, mainly in Volnay and Pommard, in addition plenty of 1er crus, and he chooses to produce a large number of single vineyard wines, since as he says, this gives him a good opportunity to try new things and learn more about the differences in the area.
Volnay and Pommard are two areas are often described as very different in their expressions, with Volnay representing the feminine style while Pommard has a more powerful and mostly more masculine style. Nicolas argues that this is a too generalised assumption and his wines also show that there are more nuances to the difference. We have previously made an overview of the Volnay vineyards which can be read here.
Frederik, Nicolas and Andreas at his new cellar
The wines we tasted
2011 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay
We are met with cherry, forest floor and herbal notes on this rather generous and direct nose where fruit still the dominant role.
On the palate we find more red fruit, blood orange and again some herbs. The acidity is rather energetic and gives some direction to the winen. There is also a tannic structure which provides a backbone but it is quite soft.
This is a rather generous and voluptuous wine for a village Volnay but there is also some complexity and character.
2011 Nicolas Rossignol Pommard
The Village Pommard shows many similarities with the Volnay wine in the expression. The main differences are that the Pommard has more earthiness on both nose and taste and the acidity and tannins are a bit harsher, but still of good quality.
This wine has a lot of personality and challenges the consumer.
Both of the Village wines start at a very good level and provides both good quality and personality. We where surprised by the similarities between the wines.
2011 Nicolas Rossignol Beaune 1er Cru Clos du Roy
The Clos du Roy wine is definitely a clear step up and it offers more depth and complexity.
On both the palate and on the nose we find a dense fruit of both red and dark berries where some ripe cherries dominate the impression. The palate is also complemented with a good tannic structure and a rather broad acidity.
In the rather long finish the dark berries dominate together with the tannins.
2011 Nicolas Rossignol Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches
The wine offers a fragrant nose with lots of deep dark fruit, but also some raspberries, earth notes and a hint of iron.
In the mouth it is medium bodied, again with an abundance of cherries but also some menthol and spices.
This is not the most elegant wine but it has nice complexity, structure and personality and the finish is long and fruit driven.