Tasted with Regis Rossignol in Volnay, 08 February 2016.
Domaine Régis Rossignol-Changarnier
21190 Volnay, France
Phone:+33 3 80 21 61 59
Regis, who has just turned 80 years-old, is based in his house and cuverie in the evocatively named Rue d’Amour. He took over the domaine in 1966!
Most of this domaine’s wine is sold from the cuverie here – Regis constructed over 400m2 of working space – now in theory he’s retired, but it looks like everything continues! “Clients like to keep coming because I make a great tasting,” he smiles.
The domaine has 7 hectares of vines, or rather, nearer 6.5 hectares of actual vines, due to replanting. All the vines are owned and are predominantly in the commune of Volnay. There’s also 0.5 ha in Pommard, 0.66 ha of Beaune Teurons, ‘a little’ Savigny and some Meursault – there’s a little Monthelie too, but that goes in the Bourgogne – “I don’t need too many labels!” says Regis.
The domaine’s vines came from parents and parents-in-law, “I added a couple of things, but not much – I prefer to do a little less, but really well. I’d say that I work traditionally, I’ve always ploughed the vines, and with the minimum of chemical treatments… For virtually everything, I prefer to follow the moon rather than a Bio calendar!”
Regis started at the domaine in 1966 with his father, François Rossignol but was helping out in harvests since 1950. The wines, they are traditional, the most simple possible. I don’t destem, or only a little; I like to keep the tannins, so the wines keep well, vins de garde – I makes vins de vigneron, not vins d’oenelogue! Each 1st September I change the vintage, so 2012 is just recently commercialised.
“Easy drinking young wines are not my idea of burgundy… I produce a maximum of 45 hl/ha, and with a green harvest if necessary to achieve that. I make the same vinification each year. I always start the harvest on a Saturday, followed by 12 days of vinification – because I always do the same I get the typicity of the vintage every year. If there’s less colour or less concentration, that’s the vintage…. I like the malos to be done by Christmas so will maintain the cellar temperature at 15 degrees until they are done. Racking in April, keeping fine lees, bottling by the moon from October. No fining but a fine clay filtration.
“I like fruity wines, I try to trap as much as I can, I have a horror of oaky wine, so a maximum of 1 new barrel in 5, but when I take a new one, I put it with 3, or more, year-old barrels.”
There is Volnay, Volnay VV, Mitans and Brouillard possible here, but what’s actually commercialised depends on the hail – in 2012 there was just a Volnay and a Volnay 1er Cru.
Tasting with Regis is a fun affair, he is a photogenic, clichéd, Henri Cartier-Bresson of a vigneron. There’s really just one downside – the tasting glasses are so small as to hide a lot of what the wines might otherwise show. And how does Regis choose what to drink? “I currently drink 1979, 2000 and 2001. A 30-year-old wine from here is a good one! A wine of 15-20 years is almost a good one!”
The wines seem quite good here, but it’s worth visiting just to spend a little time with Regis!
2013 Bourgogne Vieilles-Vignes
At least 50 year-old vines – many dating from 1959. All the parcels are in the commune of Volnay, in total, representing about 1.5 hectares
Tiny tasting glass, a faint perfume lifts from the glass. Bright, fresh flavour, a growing tannin texture, hut a really tasty width that grows and grows.
All the vv are also in this – so seven parcels are represented here, mainly from the bottom of Volnay but some old vines right at the top of the hill too.
Wide, faintly perfumed again, almost with a saline edge. A base of tannin here, but ripe tannin, waves of good flavour too. Concentrated flavour without any fat – faint salinity again – lovely! I like it. No artifice, straight wine. A little finishing bitterness that says ‘wait’ but I’d happily wait because the entry and mid-palate flavour are very lovely.
2012 Volnay 1er Cru
A blend of Mitans, some Angles and Brouillards.
Like the last nose, discreet, a hint saline a hint of perfume too. Wider, plenty of texture, more weight of extract, a certain flavour to the tannin, long…
One more for the road…
2010 Volnay VV
I guessed 2009
Of course it’s still tight in a glass such as this, but its round and inviting. Round, in the mouth too, a hint of salinity, decent balance. Tasty wine.
2007 Volnay 1er Brouillards
A little older colour, more aromatic development too. Supple, a little fat, long, tasty, turns out to be 2007. I guessed a 2001 oops! Still all the tasters come from half bottles, so perhaps are more advanced (excuses, excuses!)
2001 Volnay 1er Cru
Now that’s a super, showing a layered, textured nose – ripe. Initially less acidity, but grows and grows, lots of complexity, a little salinity. Long. This turns out to be 2001 – probably a good job I didn’t try to guess!