VOLNAY

2017 1er Cru Chevrets Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

Grapes Pinot Noir
Colour Red
Origin France, Burgundy
District Côte d'Or
Sub-district Côte de Beaune
Village Volnay
Classification 1er Cru
ABV 13%
Vineyard Chevrets

The soil is made up of limestone and clay. Old vines. 50% whole cluster. Very silky and luscious on entry with black and exotic purple fruit - the weight is immediately apparent. Lots of rich dark fruit kept in check by noticeable acidity. Ripe tannins grow towards the end. The limestone becomes apparent at the finish with a hint of rocky mineral. L&S (Nov 2018)

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The 2017 Volnay 1er Cru Chevret offers up lovely aromas of dark chocolate, plums, cassis and rich soil. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, satiny and expansive, with a lavish attack that segues into a more tensile, firm mid-palate and finish. Rating: 91-93 William Kelley, The Wine Advocate(Jan 2019)

The 2017 Volnay Les Chevrets 1er Cru contains 30% whole clusters. It has a more complex bouquet than Les Caillerets, featuring blackberry, sage, clove and a light marine influence. The palate is succulent and rounded, perhaps belying the backbone of this Volnay. There is good grip and nice focus here. A lick of limestone titillates the tongue on the finish. Superb. Drinking range: 2021 - 2038 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, vinous.com(Jan 2019)

Good balance of clay and rock. 30% whole bunch. Just 10m between Caillerets and Chevrets. In many ways this is much more assured than Caillerets. It is in place and it is clear how it is evolving. I like the red rose petal and cherry fresh sweetness up front, the layering and intensity in the mid palate of fruit and freshness, the satin texture and then the straight, cold, salty mineral on the long finish. An intense and very well balanced wine. It has a bit of everything and not too much of anything. Very good indeed and one of my favourites in the flight. Rating: 18.65 Sarah Marsh MW, The Burgundy Briefing(Dec 2018)

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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