VOLNAY

2011 1er Cru Roncerets Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

EN PRIMEUR

Another of the bigger Volnays - what Nicolas calls his 'winter wines'. But very different in style and flavour profile to the Santenots. Densely-packed wild berry fruit and mineral strictness. Rocky and concentrated. Super-pure. Love this.L&S (Dec 2012)

* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

This is almost as aromatically elegant with pure essence of raspberry and cherry liqueur aromas that evidence background hints of wet stone and spice. There is good volume and excellent punch to the round and supple medium weight flavors that possess a dusty mouth feel before culminating in a relatively powerful and impeccably well-balanced finish. This doesn’t have the same overall class as the Caillerets but there is actually more here. Worth a search to find. 2021+ Rating: 93 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2013)

Good bright medium red. Dark fruit aromas of blueberry and blackberry convey a menthol austerity. Tightly wound and unforthcoming, showing a lightly saline character but limited mid-palate complexity today. The strict finish features powerful, tongue-dusting tannins. This is really dominated by its structure. Incidentally, Rossignol purchased these 25-year-old vines in 2012 Rating: 90-92 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Feb 2013)

Arguably the most masculine wine in the Rossignol portfolio, with lots of oak, ripe blackberry fruit, sinewy tannins and lots of texture and grip. The wine needs time to come together in bottle. 2017-23 Rating: 94 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Jan 2013)

Usually all destemmed but in 2011 they did 15% whole bunch. ‘My baby. A cru I love.’ 1.5 ha in total, under Champans, vines only 25 years but great personality. Very intense – nose almost of curry as well as all that lovely ripe fruit. Actually it's quite severe. Chewy and ambitious. Definitely needs time. 2020-2032 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Jan 2013)

Exotic perfumed and spicy aroma. Dark and sweet and taut; very exact on the palate. There is bunched vigour and slatey graphite minerality here. I like the pounce on the finish. Wilder character, not charming. A wine which really attacks the palate, not typical Volnay at all. Poor soil and then onto the rock. In ageing you see the freshness. Fine++ (He is now drinking 2002 and says it typically needs 10 years) Rating: 18.5 Sarah Marsh MW, The Burgundy Briefing (Nov 2012)

Born in 1974, Nicolas represents the fifth generation of his family in Volnay (a village which seems to be populated almost entirely by families with Rossignol somewhere in the name). He started to make the wines of his 'Rossignol-Jeanniard' family domaine when he was just twenty.

After studies at the Lycée viticole in Beaune, he worked with Joseph Voillot in Volnay, who became a mentor to him, for Louis Latour at their estate in the Ardèche, and for Vieux Télégraphe on Châteauneuf, where he loved the combination of richness and elegance in the wines, which influenced the style of wines he would later want to make himself. He also made wine in Boschendal in South Africa, and for Château la Cardonne in Bordeaux (then managed by the Lafite team).

In 1997, Nico started his own domaine with three hectares of vines inherited from an uncle. After a period in which some of the wines he made were labelled 'Domaine Rossignol-Jeanniard', and some 'Domaine Nicolas Rossignol', he began to buy the fruit from his (Rossignol-Jeanniard) family, and label these simply 'Nicolas Rossignol' (without the 'domaine'). Now the vines (all 16 hectares) are finally in the 'Domaine Nicolas Rossignol', and labelled as such. To handle this sizeable domaine, Nico needed a new winery. Having started with a chaotic assemblage of tanks in a building in the village of Volnay, he had moved to share Ben Leroux's winery on the Beaune ring road, but Nico had dreams of his own place and built his impressive new winery in 2016. A fantastic bespoke build, admittedly in a ZI (Zone Industrielle) on the outskirts of Beaune, which he recognises is not ideal for the 'folklore' aspect, it is a perfect tool for the job, and does have a good view of all 'his' bits of the Côte - from a sort of eyrie on the roof.

Like many Burgundy domaines, the appellations have proliferated as the surface area of the vineyard has increased with lots of little (and some quite large) parcels of vines in Aloxe ('village'), Savigny ('village' and two Premiers Crus), Beaune (three Premiers Crus), Pernand ('village' and one Premier Cru), Pommard (three 'village' wines and six Premiers Crus) and Volnay ('village' and seven Premiers Crus). With two cuvées of Bourgogne Rouge, this adds up to twenty-eight different wines. Like Burgundy more generally, the joy of tasting here is recognising the individual character of each plot, modulated by the conditions of the vintage, of course, but each with their own distinct personality

The viticulture of the domaine is inspired by biodynamics, but Nico is pragmatic, and although no weedkillers are used and the vineyards are maintained by ploughing, he says that there are both good and bad things in biodynamics, and he will use conventional fungicides to combat disease. At harvest time the grapes are picked into eight kilo boxes, and transported to the winery in them to minimise handling. They are then carefully sorted, before either being de-stemmed (but with the berries left intact) before being put in the fermentation vat, or put in directly as whole bunches. Nico uses varying proportions of whole bunch fermentation depending on the type of wine each vineyard gives, and of course on the health and 'ripeness' of the stems. A classic fermentation using the natural yeats on the grapes ensues, with punchdowns (pigeage) and pumpovers (remontage) used to extract flavour from the grapes, or to oxygenate the wine and refine its structure - the amount used judged by tastings throughout the process. After the vatting the free-run juice is separated from the pressed juice - the latter being blended back as required if necessary after tasting. The wine is put into barrel by gravity (with the amount of new wood between 0 and 50%), and aged for between ten and twenty months depending on the wine and the vintage, always on the lees without racking. The wood and the amount of heat used in making the barrels is also modulated for each wine. The malolactic fermentation is delayed for six months to increase aromatic complexity and structure to the wines. At the end of the ageing the wines are racked and blended in tank, before bottling without fining or filtration.

Nicolas makes deeply-coloured, flavourful wines. He is always keen to rubbish the generalisation that Pommard makes structured 'masculine' wines, as opposed to Volnay's supposedly 'feminine' ones, and proves his point with Pommards grown on clay and Volnays like his punchily structured 'Ronceret'. Each wine is very site-specific. Great winemaking here from a domaine that is really hitting its stride after many years of disappointing yields caused by hail and frost.

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