VOLNAY

2012 1er Cru Chevrets Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

EN PRIMEUR

One of the biggest cuvées here - but this year reduced to 9 rather than 22 barrels. Very dark colour. The soil is a balanced mix of clay and rock. Rich, lots of body but there is lift here too. Black fruit expression, lively blackberry, firm and huge and dense.L&S (Dec 2013)

* 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.

(vinified with 50% whole clusters; not much hail here, according to Rossignol, but the yield was just 15 hectoliters per hectare): Good dark red. Very complex but restrained aromas and flavors of raspberry, spices, smoke and truffley underbrush. Dense, very rich and sweet but with terrific spicy definition; highly concentrated but not heavy. This large-scaled, powerful wine is not austere but nonetheless calls for considerable patience. Finishes with serious tannins that reach the front teeth. Drinking range: 2021 - 2030 Rating: 91+ Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com (Mar 2015)

50% whole clusters and made from yields of 8 hl/ha). Reduction. Here too there is excellent richness and outstanding volume to the solidly concentrated, powerful and energetic flavors where the underlying minerality is very much in evidence on the strikingly persistent finish. This is a huge wine in the context of what is typically very Volnay in style yet it remains impeccably well-balanced. Even so, I would simply note that this is not one to buy expecting the usual Volnay lace and grace. 2024+ Rating: 90-93 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2014)

(50% vendange entier; from vines planted in 1954): Good red-ruby color. Musky aromas of wild brambly berries and rocky minerality; seems clearly less evolved than the Clos des Angles. Very rich and chewy but with excellent rocky energy and sappiness to the wild berry and licorice flavors. Just a touch of torrefaction here. Finishes tactile and very long, with dusty tannins. These grapes were picked at 12.2% potential alcohol. Rating: 91-93 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Jan 2014)

The 2012 Volnay 1er Cru En Chevret is located between Champans and Santenots-les-Milieu and contains 50% whole cluster fruit like the Clos des Angles. It comes from two parcels: 40 and 60 years old, the former usually de-stemmed. The bouquet is very well-defined but introspective despite rigorous coaxing. It reluctantly gives up attractive briary and boysenberry scents. The palate is much more expressive with that boysenberry component flourishing on the entry. There is good minerality here, the finish almost foursquare but with impressive tension and length. This is quite a serious Volnay, perhaps a little Pommard-like in style, and deserves 3-5 years aging in bottle. Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jan 2014)

10m between this and Caillerets and 50% whole bunches. Good balance of clay and rock. This finished the MLF some time ago, so it’s easier to see the terroir. I prefer Chevret to Caillerets here this year for it really expresses the terroir, despite the vintage. It is perfumed. It is silky and supple and juicy; Seductive, layered and compact. I like the firm core here too. Satin fruit around a pure and dense mineral core. It weaves the elements together. This is very good; probably my favourite in the line-up. Lovely long finish, perfumed and mineral. From 2018. Rating: 18.75 Sarah Marsh MW, The Burgundy Briefing (Dec 2013)

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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