Tag Archives: Volnay

Pinot Noir from three different countries

Some months ago we had a small Pinot Noir tasting including four wines from three different countries. The lineup included wines from New Zealand (Ata Rangi), two from classic Burgundy (Domaine Marquis d’Angerville, Louis Jadot) and Germany (Enderle & Moll). It was a focus on outstanding classic vintage of 2010, but in the german case we didn’t have one so here (unfairly) a 2014 was added to the bunch. At the end of the evening Domaine Marquis d’Angerville stod as a clear winner, but we where also reminded of how different expressions you can get from the Pinot Noir grape.

Tasting notes for the wines

Pinot Noir from Ata Rangi, Domaine Marquis d'Angerville, Enderle & Moll, Louis Jadot

2010 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

A rather herbal expression on the nose, but also with peppers, alcohol, orange peel, under vegetation, blackberries and some oak.
Similar on the palate where the wine is rather heavy for a Pinot Noir and there is an oak bitterness to the finish.

89p

2010 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Champans

Dense and rather dark fruit with blueberries, blackberries, oil paint and liquorice on the nose. These notes are then complemented with iron, dark minerals, floral notes and hints of marzipan on the palate. Good acidity that carries the rather dense palate and ensure a fresh and energetic expression.
The wine has great balance and good complexity.

93p

2014 Enderle & Moll Pinot Noir Buntsandstein

Extremely floral and full of raspberries but also some conserved cherries and a very slight barnyard smell. Mouthwatering fresh raspberries on the palate combined with a precise but careful acidity with a slight harshness in the finish. There is also a fine grained tannic structure.
This is a forward and expressive wine with lots of energy, but unfortunately it is also rather one dimensional. Great wine for the summer evenings.

91p

2010 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Theurons

There are rather sweet raspberry notes on the palate in the beginning but after a few hours there are also notes of darker fruit.
The body is rather slim, with a fresh acidic expression.

87p

Domaine Michel Lafarge – Domaine profile and tasting of Clos des Chenes and Clos du Chateau des Ducs 2006

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.

92p/100

Summary

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.

Meeting with the energetic Nicolas Rossignol

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.

Nicolas Rossignol

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.

Rossignol

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.

90p/100

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.

90p/100

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.

92p/100

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.

92p/100

A forward Les Mitans from the roots of Volnay history

The domaine Lafarge uses very little new oak (< 10%), which is quite unusual in Burgundy nowadays and their practices are based on historical knowledge, sticking to selection massale grapes and never experimented with clones. We just met with Frédéric Lafarge and his father a week ago in Burgundy and we will put up a post shortly on this. The vineyard “Les Mitans” appears to mean mid-slope and has somewhat east exposition with early morning sun between 1er crus Les Brouillards and En L’Ormeau. The top soil is a mix of marl and limestone. The center is a layer of stone and deeper down there is clay. This diversity and soil composition renders wines with complexity.

2009 Volnay 1er cru “Les Mitans”, Michel Lafarge

Translucently light red-purple and blood orange middle with light edges. Very fine colour.

The nose emerges with water-on-stone, earthy notes, newly wedged grass, deep minerals and fresh herbs; eucalyptus, thyme. After another three hours, an intriguing, deep inner perfume arrives and notes of dried violets. An honest, quite pretty nose from the soil.

On the palate, the wine is immediately just a little bitter, but there is ripe fruit in the background as well as tea, hints of coffee, gravel and loads of deep minerals. The vivid, cool acidity is wrapped with saline dry licorice and currently a little less pleasant sour-bleak grape juice that is just a little overly dominating. Texture is smooth and soft. Tannins are fine sandy in a manner that resembles a 10-year-old warmer short-cycled Barolo from La Morra.

This is a transparent wine with smooth, soft texture from thick, wide stroking tannins driven by a remarkably vivid, high quality acidity, but it is not a seductive charmer and now it hides the fruit. More of a transparent, honest and genuine, but fragile hero speaking the tales of its origin and brooding on something mystic. It certainly needs to time to develop.

90-92p/100

Domaine Marquis d’Angerville – Domaine profile and tasting of Clos desDucs and Fremiet 2001

Our series on the Volnay vineyards and producers has been a bit delayed because of work with the Piedmont trip, but we have now moved on and concluded the second tasting of wines from Domaine Marquis d’Angerville (http://www.domainedangerville.fr).

Domaine Marquis d’Angerville has a long history and they have had a leading role in the development of the Volnay region. In 1920 the Domaine where part of the creation of Domaine bottling when they, together with a few other growers, started developing their own wines themselves instead of selling to négociants (companies buying grapes and producing and marketing wines).

Between 1952 and 2003 Jacques d’Angerville ran the Domaine according to the principles and methods he had learned from working with his father. Jacques d’Angerville became a legend in the region and when he died in 2003 and Guillaume D’Angerville took over many people where watching the development closely to see if Domaine Marquis d’Angerville would continue to produce wine at the same quality level and following the same principles. Guillaume D’Angerville has continued in his fathers footprints in the wine production but he has also expanded the Domaine. In 2012 he bought two properties in Jura (located between Burgundy and Switzerland) with vineyards of approximately 5 ha together.

In Volnay Domaine Marquis d’Angerville produces wines from the following vineyards: Clos des Ducs, Caillerets, Champans, Clos des Angles, Fremiet, Mitans, Pitures, Taillepieds and two village wines. They also have vineyards in Meursault, Pommard and as mentioned previously they recently aquired vineyards in Jura. Before these acquisitions the total area was 13,5 ha. The vineyard Domaine Marquis d’Angerville is most famous for the Monopole (meaning they are the owner of the whole vineyard) Clos des Ducs, which more or less is in the garden of the Domaines estate.

For Jacques d’Angerville and later Guillaume D’Angerville quality has been the absolute top priority. The main principles they have followed are low yields, old vines, no herbicides and very careful usage of new oak. The basis for the great wines has been the work in the vineyards and not the vinification process. They very rarely replant larger section with new vines, instead they replace individual vines when they die. When it comes to the usage of oak for aging the principle is to not use more than 35% new oak since this can impair the elegance of the wines.

The 2001 vintage which we tasted is not considered a top vintage and the vineyards in Volnay where hit by a hailstorm which reduced the harvest and the uneven weather resulted in grapes that didn’t always reach ripeness. Concentration and balance could be an issue as well. The opinions about the vintage part but most agree that it is a winemaker’s vintage where some have been quite successful.

The wines we tasted

2001 Volnay 1er cru – Clos des Ducs


Andreas: 

The wine has a quite sharp nose with lots of red berries, mainly cherries and some rowan berries. We also find leather, anise and some hints of solvent. The nose is quite volatile and the character changes a few times during the evening.
When tasting the wine we are surprised by the high levels of acidity and again we find lots of red berries. Unfortunately there is bitterness in the finish.
We did expect a lot more from this wine. We did re-evaluate it a few times during the evening, and the wine has some complexity, but in total it did not reach up to our expectations.

90p/100

Sir Galahad:

Nose: Earth cellar, distinct solvent, dried grass, menthol and salami. Some complexity, but volatile, forever changing nose.
Taste: loads of bitter sourish red fruit, rowan berries, citrus, gravel and clove. The wine is a little volatile, but concentration is fine. Structure is slim and this is a feather-light wine. Concentration is good and it offers some complexity, but the wine is strange, backward and harsh, bitter in the end.

89p/100

2001 Volnay 1er cru – Fremiet


Andreas: 

The nose of the Fremiet is quite earthy and has clear notes of menthol which gives some character. There are some quite ripe berries but also hint of paint and some cellar cents in the background.
The taste follows the same character with ripe berries and earthiness. There is a clear acidity but unfortunately it does not add any freshness to the wine. Again we find some hints of bitterness in the finish.
We also expected more from the Fremiet, even though the expectations where not as high as for the Clos des Ducs.

88p/100

Sir Galahad:

Nose: Fresh rose soap, vegetal, perfumes, mint, pastry, cardamon, fresh red flowers, salami and notes of solvent. A complex nose that promises a lot.
Taste: Bitter sourish red fruit, grape-peel, shale, metals and clove. The wine is a little volatile, but concentration is fine. Structure is slim and this is a feather-light wine. It doesn’t offer complexity, depth or elegance and it could be fresher, but is an easy drinking wine.

87p/100

Summary

This tasting was a disappointment, partly because of our high expectations on Domaine Marquis d’Angerville. We will give them a new try where we taste from another vintage. I also have a bottle of Les Taillepieds from 2000 which probably will be opened soon, but according to many it is in the same league as the 2001.

Domaine de Montille – Domaine profile and tasting of Les Taillepieds and Les Brouillards 2006

This is the first Domaine in our series on the Volnay vineyards and producers, so we start off with a Domaine that matches our preferences for wines which reflects origin and terroir. Our expectations were high. 


The estate

The de Montille family has a long history in the region and the Domaine has since 1863 had the name de Montille. The family had a fantastic treasure of vineyards, including lots in Musigny, Bonnes Mares and Amoureuses, but these were unfortunately sold off step by step. Fortunately, this negative trend was stopped and reversed during Hubert de Montilles leadership and later his son Étienne has continued the expansion of the Domaine which now also includes lots in vineyards e.g. Clos Vougeot (Dix Journaux) and Aux Malconsorts. The latter addition was made in 2005 in a joined purchase with domaine Dujac when Thomas Molliard sold out of all his parcels in the vineyard including a very special part close to La Tâche that the domaine acquired when the two domaines divided the vineyards among each other. This interesting wine is bottled under the name “Christiane”. In 2011 the Domaine had grown to 20 hectares, of which 75% are Premier or Grand Crus.
 
Hubert is a colourful character with strong opinions and beliefs, which has created the foundation for the Domaine we see today. During his active years he combined his leadership of the Domain with a career in law, which is a family tradition. He started his work for the Domaine in 1947 and broke the tradition of selling wine to négociants (who in turn bottle and sell the wine) and instead bottled the wines under the name Domaine de Montille.
Huberts children Étienne and Alix have now taken over the Domaine, although they first followed the family tradition and studied law. Étienne started working part time for the Domaine already in 1983 and then full time after 2001. Alix returned to the Domaine in 2003 when she together with Étienne started up a négociant business under the name “Deux Montille Sœur-Frère”. Since 2006 Alix has also taken over the responsibility for the white wines of Domaine de Montille.

The wine making 

Here we focus on the red wines, which are produced by Étienne.

Domaine de Montille is known for authenticity, purity, elegance and balance. The wines should always reflect the terroir and develop well with age. These are values shared between Hubert and Étienne. 
However, there are some differences in the wine making between Étienne and Hubert. Hubert is a strong advocate for ageing wine and is frustrated with today’s hurry in drinking wine young. The wines he produced were very austere and rigid at young age, but developed fantastically over time. Hubert always stayed true to his goal of producing wine he himself would want to drink, not wines that were easy to sell.
 
Although Étienne has great respect for his fathers opinions he has challenged a few “old rules” and implemented some new ways of working in both the vineyard and in the winery. In the vineyard they have moved to first organic (1995) and then bio dynamic (2005) farming. He has also made some changes to the style of the wine. He states that: “I have added some fruit succulence and a velvet texture. The tannins are rounder and leave the charm of certain appellations to open up. I do this never forgetting to respect the terroir and our tradition”. These changes in style have been achieved by a more flexible and increased usage of whole clusters (starting with 2005 vintage) of grapes in the fermentation, changes to the harvesting and tuning of the extraction process.
The number of whole clusters was previously quite fixed from year to year, but today it is depending on the quality of the crop of the specific year. In general Étienne is using much more whole clusters than his father ever did, since this renders a more complex wine with more structure, but according to Étienne even more importantly this renders silkier texture and increase of aromatics. In addition, Étienne harvest later when fruit and tannins are really ripe, even though this may exceed perfect sugar levels. The riper the tannins in the stems, the less bitterness and silkier natural tannins in the grapes. Consequently, the late harvest leads to higher alcohol content because of more sugars, where their wines now can reach above 13% which is more than the 12% Hubert preferred. In addition, they have also split the lots into smaller parcels which can be picked at different times in order to optimise the quality. Étienne and Hubert have both been quite moderate with new wood in the ageing process, where the premier crus and grand crus usually are exposed to 20-30%. After for 2-3 days cold soak, maceration (cuivason) is traditional prolonging for 15-21 days in open vats in uncontrolled high temperatures with daily punch-downs (pigéage).

The wines

For more information about the vineyards, read our previous post on “Burgundy – A guide to Volnay and its vineyards”
Both wines tested are from the 2006 vintage which is considered good and known for being a very uneven one having quite large fluctuations in quality for red burgundy. In general the wines from 2006 have a very early drinking window and produce fruity and fresh wines, but in general lacks concentration and structure. Especially in Volnay. However, as usual, skilled producers can usually still produce good wines. So we are pushing it a little here..

2006 Volnay 1er Cru Les Brouillards

Their lot in Les Brouillards has a very good position in the southern part, quite close to Les Mitans, where you mainly find limestone and marl. If you are interested in an overview of the area and the vineyards I can recommend the Domaines website.

The Les Brouillards is usually fruit driven and has less structure than other wines from the region, so considering the vintage for this tasting, this can be a more light wine than usual. It should open up quite early and therefore we expect the 2006 to be ready for drinking now. Open now-2020. Costs €48.

Andreas:

Nose: Ripe red berries, perfumed, some cherries, floral, menthol, oranges and strawberries. Very seductive and already quite mature on the nose.
Taste: Generous with lots of red berries and a bit sweet. Good balance with the acidity.
Finish: Not very long, but pleasant and fruit driven.
Summary: This is a very seductive wine, especially on the nose. What is lacking is structure and complexity.
Score: 91/100p


Sir Galahad:

Colour: Dark middle, a little red-orange edge.
Nose: Distinct rowanberries, very ripe red fruit, dry orange peel, some water-on-stone and seductive perfumes.
Taste: Some subtle exotic herbs, plenty of warm red fruit, ginger, orange peel, fennel, caramelised sugars and fine tuned burned minerals. It is too light-weighted and unfortunately it practically has no structure, lacks concentration and elegance too, but acidity is energetic and it is a true seductive charmer.

90p/100

2006 Volnay 1er Cru Les Taillepieds

Link in Wine-searcher

From the Taillepieds we expect a deep wine with tight tannic structure and clear minerality. This is one of the top Premier Crus vineyards, and one which the family de Montille considers to be close to or at Grand cru level. The Taillepieds also ages fantastically. Open now-2025. Costs €68.

Andreas:

Nose: Depth, hints of iron, quite dark berries and some raspberries, fragrant, chalk and cherries.
Taste: Already well balanced, with good structure. Some stony minerality, fine tannins, hints of sweetness and quite concentrated.
Finish: Quite long finish with a fine tannic structure.
Summary: This is a fantastic wine which has depth, structure and elegance. It will develop for many years but is already now approachable.
Score: 94/100p


Sir Galahad:

Colour: Very dark middle; almost black, a little red-orange edge.
Nose: Very fine tuned limestone minerals, conserved blackberries, deep black fruit, menthol, a scent of lilies, very delicate red flowers and stylish perfumes. A very deep, complex and elegant, subtle nose!
Taste: Some sourish, deep layers of ripe boysenberries, iron, orange peel, metals, pastry, notes of ginger and fennel. All aromas resting, beautifully on a backbone of incredibly fine tuned minerals. Distinct structure, great concentration and texture is velvety, silky in the quite long finish driven by an energetic acidity but all with impressive balance.

Considering the vintage, this wine offers great concentration, distinct structure and impresses with its balance. I am curious how a better vintage like 1999 or 2002 would be like.

93+p/100

Summary

We are very impressed with the wines we have tried from de Montille so far. Just as expected the wines from Étiennes regime are very approachable already, but of course this has to do a lot with the vintage too. Both wines are quite generous and seductive and we cannot help but wondering how the older wines from Hubert’s time would have performed compared to these newer wines from the Domaine. Often we have a preference for wines which follow traditional methods, even though they are tough to drink in their youth. We will therefore try to get our hands on an older bottle of de Montille for a comparison. If we succeed we will get back to you about that.

Burgundy – A guide to Volnay and its vineyards

On last year’s trip to Burgundy we only visited two producers in Volnay: Nicolas Rossignol and Domaine de la Pousse d’Or. During the coming months we are planning to dig deeper in Volnay, its producers and characteristics and therefore we start with an introduction to the area and some of the vineyards. In parts this will get at bit technical, but it is meant as an introduction which we will refer back to in later blog posts. So bare with us…

The plan, preliminary, is to taste the following four producers and wines:
– Domaine de Montille: Les Brouillards 2006 vs. Les Taillepieds 2006
– Domaine Marquis d’Angerville: Taillepieds 2003 vs. Champans 2003
– Domaine Nicolas Rossignol: Chevrets 2007 vs. Le Ronceret 2010
– Domaine Michel Lafarge: Clos des Chenes 2006 vs. Clos du Chateau des Ducs 2006

If you have any recommendations or input, please let us know.

You can also follow me on Instagram: @ultimatewinekick and Twitter on @uwk_andreas for more frequent updates.

Overview of Volnay

Volnay is an appellation in the Côte de Beaune district in Burgundy which got its controlled appellation status in 1937. The village Volnay is situated south of Beaune and the neighbouring appellations are Pommard and Meursault. On this link you find a map of the Burgundy region.

In Volnay you can find fantastic wines at reasonable prices compared to other famous appellations e.g. Vosne-Romanée or Chambolle-Musigny in the neighbour district Côte de Nuits, but you need good knowledge about vineyards, producers and of course your personal preferences. It has been said that Volnay is the Chambolle-Musigny of the Côte de Beaune, which may be true for some vineyards in the hands of the right domains. The wines can be very delicate and elegant rather than powerful with a fragrant bouquet and offer a high level of complexity and deep aromas. The top wines are usually described as feminine, having feather-light, slim structure and developing the most silky tannins of Burgundy. Comparisons are sometimes made with Pommard since it is a neighbouring area, but the differences are evident, even though the vineyards bordering the areas may have similarities. In 2008 the annual production was approximately one million bottles which was produced from 206.7 hectares. More than half of the production is Premier Cru wines. No grand cru wines exist in Volnay.

The terroir of Volnay contains a high proportion of limestone, often with a surface of marl. In general the hills are quite steep and compared to other appellations in the region, more faced towards south east instead of east. In a simplified overview the Premier Cru vineyards of Volnay can be sorted into three clusters, based on geography. For a map of the Volnay vineyards click here.

South of the village Volnay you find the first cluster with Clos des Chênes and Taillepieds furthest uphill and vineyards like Caillerets and Champans downhill from these. In general you find more limestone uphill and an increasing level of stony soil further downhill. You can also include Santenots, which is in Meursault, but the red wines produced in this vineyard are classified as Volnays.

The second cluster includes vineyards close to or in the village. These include, among others, Clos de la Bousse d’Or, Clos des Ducs, Le Village and Clos de la Chapelle. Here you find marl (calcareous clay) and a high proportion of white chalk. Previously these where gathered under the name Le Village, but after 1985 they are allowed to use the individual names, which has resulted in quite small vineyards of which a few are Monopole, i.e. the whole vineyard is owned by one Domaine.

The third cluster includes vineyards close to Pommard (Les Chanlins and Les Frémiets) and the ones further down the slope (e.g. Les Brouillards and Les Mitans). These are usually not regarded as the finest vineyards of Volnay, since the wines often lack some of the elegance and finesse of the wines produced in the other vineyards. Still there are exceptions to the rule. Wines produced from really old vines (vielles vignes) in the best positions and in the hands of the best Domaines.

A deeper dive into some of the Volnay vineyards

The selection of vineyards below is based on either quality or the fact that we are going to taste wines from these vineyards in the close future. Most of the vineyards are from cluster one, since this is a large cluster with high quality vineyards, but we will also test wines from the other clusters, therefore I also included Clos du Chateau des Ducs from cluster two and Les Brouillards from cluster three.

Clos des Chênes, which produces some of the best wines of the region, is situated south of Volnay and high up on the hillside. It contains a mix of limestone marl and clay-limestone. At the bottom of the vineyard there is more red soil with a higher level of iron and the further up you move the limestone takes over. The vineyard faces southeast and gets steeper further up. Two of the top producers from this vineyard are Domaine des Comtes Lafon and Domaine Michel Lafarge.

Les Caillerets is situated next to Meursault, just downhill from Clos des Chênes, and is regarded to be among the top vineyards of Volnay. The name (The Small Pebbles) comes from the stones in the soil, which is made up of limestone and calcium rich clay. The vineyard is facing east and south east. Usually the wines have mineral tones and a clear structure. Domaine Michel Lafarge and Nicolas Rossignol are two of the more famous producers of Les Caillerets.

Les Taillepieds, with its 7.17 ha, is said to have been given its name because the sharp stones that damaged the feet of the people working at the vineyard. Just as with Clos des Chênes we find a lot of limestone here, but also marl. It also has a more southerly exposure than Clos des Chênes. Les Taillepieds is another top vineyard of the region and it produces wine that age very well. Examples of top producers are Domaine de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville.

En Chevret is surrounded by some of the top Premier Cru sites in Volnay, including Clos des Chênes and Caillerets. The soil is a mix of clay and limestone and has quite high levels of iron. The wines are quite concentrated and structured. Nicolas Rossignol is one of the more known producers from this vineyard.

Santenots-du-Milieu is a section of the Santenots vineyard in Meursault, on the border to Volnay. The 22.36 hectare vineyard faces southeast and has clay soil above a base of limestone. Although the vineyard is based in Meursault, the wines can be classified as Volnay wines partly because the vineyard is better suited for Pinot Noir while the Meursault name is famous for white wines. The wines lack the elegance of the top vineyards of Volnay, but are usually quite rich, and have a higher level of tannins. The wines can have similarities with wines from Pommard or Gevrey-Chambertin. Domaine des Comtes Lafon and Domaine Faiveley are two of the more famous producers in Santenots-du-Milieu.

En Champans is one of the larger vineyards in Volnay and situated in the heart of the Volnay region, south east of the village. There are high levels of limestone at the top of the vineyard but further down the soil contains more clay. Both the size and the differences within the vineyard result in large differences between En Champans wines. Examples of top producers are Domaine de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville.

The Clos du Chateau des Ducs is a Lafarge Monopole of 0.57 ha and has vines which are between 16-55 years old. The vineyard has been owned by the family for a century. There are approximately 40 cm of soil on top of a layer of gravel and underneath is bedrock.

Les Brouillards is a small vineyard located between Les Mitans and Pommard and on the lower part of the hillside. The upper part of the vineyard is stony with limestone and marl, and further downhill there is more soil. The wines produced from Les Brouillards are usually more generous and fruity than structured.