2013 1er Cru Caillerets Domaine Nicolas Rossignol
|Sub-district||Côte de Beaune|
Nicely generous feel, silky smooth volume with a translucent quality, bright, linear, the impression of clarity and lift and mineral is carried all the way through. Drinking range: 2019 - L&S (Nov 2014)
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(completely destemmed): Good dark red. Musky, slightly funky aromas of plum, pepper and smoked meat. Sweeter than the Clos des Angles but also more backward, with pepper and herb notes energizing the flavors of black cherry and licorice. No shortage of inner-mouth tension here. Finishes with substantial tongue-dusting tannins and very good length and grip. The low crop level of 18 hectoliters per hectare has given this wine obvious concentration, but the black fruit and spice flavors turn a bit tough on the back end. (The 2014 version shows more elegance and terroir character owing to less hail, noted Rossignol.) Drinking range: 2019 - 2028 Rating: 90 Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com (Mar 2016)
An attractively ripe and fresh nose demonstrates notes of plum liqueur, anise, lavender and exotic tea. The dense, textured and concentrated flavors possess a surprisingly lacy palate impression, all wrapped in an extract-rich, sappy and lingering finish. This is an opulent example of what is normally an intensely stony wine and while there is certainly some minerality present, it is less evident than usual. In short, this is impressive. 2021+ Rating: 91 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Apr 2015)
(100% destemmed; these vines are close to Rossignol's Chevret but are planted on lighter soil with a lot of little rocks): Good dark color. Reticent nose hints at plum. Juicy, intense and light on its feet; more taut and sharply chiseled than the Chevret. Violet and licorice notes provide good inner-mouth lift. Finishes with substantial dusty tannins and sneaky length. This wine is never particularly dense at the beginning but always ages well and maintains its tension, says Rossignol. Drinking range: 2021 - 2030 Rating: 90-92 Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com (Jan 2015)
Domaine Nicolas Rossignol
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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