Just two days prior to our flight to Burgundy in November this year, I still hadn’t received any answer to my emails to a domaine I really wanted to visit. I decided to make a phone call even though I unfortunately don’t speak French and Charles van Canneyt at the domaine Hudelot-Noëllat answered. Immediately, Charles came across as a very positive, sympathetic man and he said that he had read my mail, but just had forgot to answer. It was no problem at all to meet up, so happily we could fit him in to our schedule on a Monday the 12th. When we arrived, a happy Charles opened the door with tasting glasses and a wine pipette. As we started walking to the cellar, Charles mentions that he likes Sweden, especially Stockholm. When we ask him if there is any particular reason, he smiles and reveals that he has had a Swedish girl friend. Stockholm is beautiful with all the waters, he says.
The domaine Hudelot-Noëllat was established in 1964 by the marriage of Alain Hudelot and Odile Noëllat. However, since completing his enology studies in Dijon in 2008, the 24-year-old Charles is heading the estate helped by the experienced wine maker Vincent Meunier who has been around here since 2005. The cellar is immaculate and impressively clean. Charles explains that they put much effort into cleaning the barrels after bottling. When I ask Charles about his ideas about wine making, he says that his contribution has been to improve the cellars and invest in some cement vats for a more gentle maceration and fermentation. Besides this, he has decided on adding about 20% ripe stems to give the wine just enough structure and an “extra push” to prolong the finish in the wines. His focus is on finesse, freshness and transparency. Otherwise, he and his team is very much focused on meticulous work in the vineyards to produce perfectly and evenly ripe fruit.
There is always this saying that a true great producer is not only met by his greatest wines, but his more simple village wines. It could not be more true than with this estate, since both village wines; Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée have impressed us in the latest vintages. It is obvious that the wines keep getting better and better under Charles management. They own about 10 ha of planted area for wines made up of four villages and 15 appellations. The premier crus; Les beaumonts, Les Suchots and Aux Malconsorts are all more than 100 years old. The majority in the grand cru Romanée-Saint-Vivant were planted in 1920 whereas the ones in Richebourg were planted between in 1920-1950. The Clos-de-Vougeot were planted in 1950. The premier crus are raised in about 30% new, light-toasted and compact wood, primarily from Allier. The grand crus usually is given 50. As is the case with some of the best producers in the area, the oak is not noted at all even at a young age.
2011 Chambolle Musigny
2011 Les Petits Vougeot
2011 Nuits Saint Georges 1er cru “Les Mugniers”
Very young vines that Charles harvests early to save its freshness.
Quite this and closed when we tried it. A nice wine with a rustic tone to it, but did not make a strong impression. 90 p.
2011 Vosne Romanee, 1er cru Les Suchots
From 0.45 ha lot of really old vines planted in 1920’s, but also many much older.
Very nice subtle, floral perfume similar to the Les Malconsorts, but lacks just some complexity and structure, but with noticeable depth and more herbs. 93-94 p.
2011 Vosne Romanee, 1er cru Les Beaumonts
Planted in the 1920’s.
A very fresh wine that is lighter than Malconsorts, but with just enough structure. Lovely deep, darker fruit wrapped in spices and minerals. 93-94 p.
2011 Vosne Romanée, 1er cru Les Malconsorts
Only barely two barrels made from this small 0.13 ha lot.
Really fine balance, rich in aromatics very pure red fruit and plums. Quite persistent with finesse and some weightless structure that carries it to the finish line. Very fruit-driven but balanced. 94-95 p.
2011 grand cru Clos-de-Vougeot
This wine is from two lots of 0.7 ha planted in 1920 and in the best place surrounding the castle. 300 cases made.
Amazingly deep and graceful perfume in here. Great harmony and balance already with really deep layers of fruit and impressively silky. 95 p.
2011 Vosne Romanée, grand cru Romanée-Saint-Vivant
Vines are about 93 years old here and they add about 20% ripe stems to ensure enough structure. About 200 cases made.
The nose is very slow, but develops into an intense and incredibly fresh perfume of rose petals, lilies, fresh red berries and orange-peel. The mid-palate is lush and intense offering fresh, ripe and very clean layers of wild strawberries, fennel, anise seeds, dog rose, some cranberries, blood orange and notes of ginger and herbs. All wrapped in delicate deep minerals and fresh balsamic oils. It is remarkably elegant, graceful, lush and persistent and here I can really see the point with the stem addition to give the wine just some more seconds in the finish. 97-98 p.
2011 Vosne Romanée, grand cru Richebourg
Planted in the 1920’s and their parcels are in the lower parts with Grivot just above them and adjacent to Romanée Conti. About 220 cases made.
Very elegant and as expected with some more structure and power compared to Romanée-Saint-Vivant, but the fruit is not perceived as equally pure in here and the tannins are less silky now, but it is sheer depth and the minerality is part of its grip. Very generous however with darker fruit, earthy straw berries, blackberries, some cardamom with impressive length and elegance. 95-96 p.
Obviously, the domaine has a very high low-level in their broad range of wines. The wines are all about finesse, pliancy and freshness, but also depth and purity. We are impressed by the range and the quality. What is obvious is that the wines certainly are getting better and better. This is a producer to follow closely because they are a gem and with in many cases over 100 years old vines too.
|Charles and Frederik in the cellar|