Tasted in Volnay with Jean-Baptiste Cluzeaud, 04 February 2016.
Domaine Jean-Claude Cluzeaud
2 Rue de la Cave des Ducs
Tel: +33 3 80 21 62 84
The Cluzeauds are an old Volnay family, and this old family domaine has roots in a domaine created in 1792 by the family Pillot. Anne-Marie Pillot married Claude Cluzeaud in the 1950s, the current name of the domaine was taken in the 1980s. Jean-Baptiste, the latest of Cluzeaud generation, lives in Puligny, though much of the family are still in Volnay.
With vines in Chorey, Pernand, Pommard and Volnay the domaine now extends over 6.5 hectares. Jean-Baptiste saying that they’re looking to express their different terroirs, and some of their old-vine cuvées are made from the produce of vines over 80 years old, vines planted by Jean-Baptiste’s great-grandfather.
Large concrete tanks are used to vinify the hand harvested grapes – whole clusters with a few pigeages before the fermentations, then just remontage. The old family vertical press is used afterwards, the wine allowed to sediment for a day before filling the barrels by gravity. It’s a 24 month elevage here, with a very small amount of new oak – “We are really looking to make vins de garde” says Jean-Baptiste. A mix of tonelliers are used, even a some US oak.
The domaine has 0.6 hectares of vines in the Volnay premiers and about 1.5 hectares of Volnay villages in Beau Regard – “Touching Taillepieds with more marne than Taillepieds but it brings a similar richness” says Jean-Baptiste.
The domaine’s main clientelle are visitors, some barrels are sold to the négoce, but mainly from their lower appellation wines – maybe about 10% are exported.
It’s a short list to taste here, as despite the domaine’s home location, there’s actually not a large of Volnay. Given the long elevage, it’s no surprise that they are not yet commercialising their 2012s – Jean-Baptiste noting that even the 2011s are only just ‘almost commercial!’
I find these wines rather impressive, no real astringency and no lack of material that’s for sure – probably you need 15 years to really enjoy them. Big happy wines, but don’t expect purity and elegance.
2011 Volnay Beau Regard
Medium-plus colour. The nose starts all big and bulky – just a dense block of dark-red fruit. I decanted. After 30 minutes the nose has opened with a lighter, wide note that is almost a textured sweet herb and a narrow but deep red fruit note. Bright acidity, red fruit, a nice extra dimension of fruit in the mid-palate. Really good finishing width. Whilst this may benefit from cellar time, this is very drinkable today. Not the clarity of flavour of the vintages either side, but this is a good wine and so I’m not sure I’d wait…
2011 Volnay 1er Cru
From Carelles Sous la Chapelle and Pitures – from old vines – 35 years old for the Pitures, and from 1948 for the Carelles.
Quite deep and rather young colour. Ooh! Now that’s a perfume – beautiful floral fruit. Width and complexity – a hint of texture at the base from some tannin. Layers of modestly bitter notes from the tannins but here is an impressive wine.
Apparently Clos des Chenes is the third 1er here, but not seen.
2006 Volnay 1er Cru
Also a really good colour, and with floral perfume again, plus a very modest impression of some sous bois – but super-discreet. Impressively layered, lots of concentration, still some tannic texture and bitter chocolate elements. Bright, wide flavour, a little impression of (maybe) wood tannin. Yum! Fine violet notes on the nose now…