Back in 2013 we started what was supposed to be a short theme about Volnay. Unfortunately we have been very slow in our delivery of the posts but now we have done the third tasting. Our introduction to Volnay can be found here.
Domaine Michel Lafarge is another Volnay Domaine with a long history spanning several generations and today the Domaine is headed by Michel and his son Frédéric Lafarge. Michel has also been the mayor of Volnay and as such he has had a great influence on the development of the village. Domaine Michel Lafarge has approximately 12 ha of which more than half is based in Volnay.
Just like Domaine d’Angerville, Domaine Michel Lafarge were very early with Domaine bottling back in 1934, and since 1960 the whole production is sold under the Domaines name.
Domaine Michel Lafarge is often described as a producer who combines tradition with an openness to new methods. They avoid making too many fixed statements about their process for producing wine. Instead they adapt themselves to each vintage’s specific condition. This is both applicable to the decisions in the vineyard and in the vinification process. When they adapt the process and try new ways of working they follow the results closely to learn from the results.
Still there are several areas in the process where Michel and Frédéric have very clear opinions and principles. They have a very high focus on control and quality along the whole process, starting from the selection of wine clones. This is one of the reasons they try to avoid too much automation since this can reduce the control of the process. One example is their usage of manual presses.
Since 2000 the vineyards are managed biodynamically, which is an example of the Domaine’s openness for new ways of working.
The wines we tasted
2006 Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos des Chenes
Unfortunately this bottle does not seem ok. On the nose we find some hints of sherry and the wine feels a bit oxidized. The dominating notes are from dark minerals, a bit burned chalk, roses, iron, under vegetation and some medicine cabinet. This is not a classical Pinot Noir nose and it would be extremely hard to guess in a blind tasting.
The palate is a bit more “friendly” with ripe red fruit, cherries, and some freshness comes forward in the acidity when the wine is quite cold. In the finish it gets a bit harsh on the acidity and there is also a saltiness. Tannins are quite sandy and a bit dry.
Not possible to score since the wine might have been a bit oxidised.
2006 Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos du Chateau des Ducs
The nose is a bit slimmer and more fruit driven compared with the Chene. We find red fruit, cherries, wet grass, herbs, floral notes and a hint of rubber.
Fresh red fruit dominates the palate but also a quite strong acidity which is a bit harsh. There is also some chalky tones, violet and eucalyptus. The wine has a clear tannic structure which is softer than in the Chene.
I would wait before drinking more of this wine. The acidity needs to calm down and then it can develop into a very interesting wine.
The tasting was a bit of a disappointment. With a producer like Lafarge we expected some harshness on acidity and strong tannins, but we were also expecting more complexity and energy. The Clos du Chateau des Ducs was the clear winner of the evening. As mentioned earlier we do have some doubts about the quality of the bottle of Chene since it felt a bit oxidized.