Tasted in Volnay with Pascal Roblet-Monnot, 04 February 2016.
11 rue de la Combe
Tel: +33 6 74 21 82 04
Pascal says that his family have roots here in Volnay from the 16th century – the Lagrange family. Pascal’s grandmother was a Lagrange, but in 1992 the domaine was separated between his mother and her sister. Roblet-Monnot are the surnames of Pascal’s father and mother. In 1932 Pascal’s grandfather was one of the first to bottle – Henri Monnot!
Pascal went to the Lycée in Beaune, did a BTS and then further commercial qualifications in Paris. Then he worked in the wine-business in Corbières, Bordeaux and Beaujolais – only after a while did he think it might be interesting to continue with wine – but he didn’t take on the family domaine to start with – “I wasn’t sure.” But he was given the keys to the domaine age 20 – “My father and grandfather just let me go…” He’s now he’s proud to say that he’s ‘done’ 28-29 vintages – 1987 was his first ‘alone.’
Pascal explains that “I was Bio certified but found it a pain, so the certification is gone – but I still follow. My vision is to follow the lunar cycles and make the treatments when they are needed – so in this rhythm.
“Wine is really just a chemical transformation, but there’s so much more behind it! Balance is what sustains a wine – there are fine wines with less than 12°, and terrible wines with more than 13…”
The domaine exploits 9 hectares of vines, 5 hectares in Volnay plus Pommard and Hautes Côtes. There are 4 1ers and a cuvée ‘St.Francois’ – a parcel selection that is mainly village, but some 1er Cru grapes are included too.
4-5 kg small cases are now used to collect the grapes following triage in the vines, plus vibrating table back at the domaine – ‘a long one!’ The grapes are destemmed, or not, depending on the year. Up to 4 weeks of cuvaison followed by 18 months of elevage without racking – just a racking just before bottling without fining or filtration.
I was simply knocked out by the wines shown by Pascal – of course he kept me late by opening other bottles – but despite my lateness, my complaints were very muted – deep coloured, rich but emotional wines.
Really one of the best discoveries of my Tour de Volnay. I loved these wines!
Taillepieds, Brouillards, Pitures assembled due to the hail. Named from the Prologue of St.Jean
Great colour, deep nose too, higher toned notes escaping too – large in scale is the impression – slowly there’s a clarion of fabulous fruit – ouf! Large-scaled indeed, starts silky quickly taking up some tannin, but more a dryness – but really a fabulous weight of complex, layered flavour here. Importantly this is a wine of dynamism. Really fabulous, but a wine that I’m sure you shouldn’t really ‘harvest’ before 2030 – just great!
2011 Volnay 1er Santenots
A single parcel in les Plures. No new oak – 1-4 year-old barrels. A vintage that Pascal describes as ‘dentelle’ – lacy…
Modestly lighter in colour. A deep and complex nose slowly betraying a small floral component, eventually a little raspberry too. Wide, supple, fresh, there’s a richness of flavour and a modest richness of texture. Really fine purity here, waves of finishing flavour too – bravo – for a 2011 this is really something!
Pascal’s father is called Francois, and one of his sons too. There’s a little Robardelles in this, some Mitans (Ormeaux) too – they were last separated in 2005. There’s also Pitures in this, from a small parcel – sometimes there’s a barrel of Pitures.
Medium, medium-plus colour. Deep, darker red, almost vibrant fruit – and of beautiful clarity too. Wide across the tongue – fresh red fruit, a faint impression of cooking fruit too – slowly a faint tannin, layered delivery of flavour. My note sounds rather analytical versus the great ‘feel’ of this wine. Really a ‘bravo!’
2007 Volnay 1er Brouillards
Medium, medium-plus colour. The nose has a roasted dark-red fruit to start with. Really, a very finely textured wine, slowly growing a little fine tannin at the base. As all these wines, there’s an impression of layered flavour delivery, here in the mid-palate a little minerality too – a little more tannin in the finish, and it’s a long more stony finish. There’s only a very modest evolution here – great for the vintage again! Seamless wine – many are a little dissociated from 07, not this one!
2006 Volnay 1er Taillepieds
Big, open, more than a hint of aromatic complexity – mineral, pepper – even fruit, given time fabulous fruit! Luxurious, a certain weight and volume, plenty of finely grained tannin – concentrated wine yet with a good underlying acidity. In terms of its delivery of complexity this is big painting of a wine that reminds me of Vosne.
We chatted about the vintages that we prefer, and having noted that I was a fan of 1993 Pascal disappeared to find one – the excuse being that his three boys have 1993, 1996 and 1999 as birth-years – lucky Papa, lucky them!
A wide, enveloping nose, indeed it sucks you in. Warm, focused fruit with a faint sous bois. Lithe, silken, a certain energy as it moves over the tongue. Then the flavour grows again before the finish. Then slowly fades – 93s have a special clarity and energy and this is entering a fabulous window. Harmony…