Volnay Clos des Chênes – Château de Meaursault

Update 25.5.2016(24.5.2016)billn

DSC09890Tasted with Stéphane Follin-Arbelet in Meursault, 30th March 2016.

Historically, this 2.5 hectare parcel of Clos des Chênes has always been classed as a wine for aging at the Château.

This large parcel is on the right-hand side of the old track that runs up through the middle of the vineyard – so on the village of Volnay side of the vineyard, rather than the village of Monthelie. Like the villages sections of vines, above on the hillside, the soil here is relatively pale coloured, though not to the extreme as seen directly in Ez Blanches, or the villages classified plot of Clos des Chênes which sits high on the hill.

The vines have over 45 years average age, and deliver “Some of smallest and blackest grapes of the domaine” says Stéphane. One section of 0.47 ha is to be replanted, and another smaller parcel was replanted in 2012. Today, there are no buds to see – unlike in the domaine’s chardonnay vineyards – but pinot is slower than chardonnay, and there’s more wind exposure here.

Optical sorting is used here – “It’s obviously a real help in the hailed vintages” notes Stéphane.

The wines…


Always with the same style bottle, the domaine owns the mold. Maybe the old-style elevage adds some bitterness in the finish, but that really just means that they need 20 years in the cellar!

Still in tank, will be bottled in June. Only the wine towards the bottom of the tank will be filtered. 21 sept harvest.
Wide, round, floral, slighty textured. Mouth-filling, modestly textured, but impressive waves of flavour, fine, faintly spiced finishing flavour that’s super-long. Behind the Drouhin version in 2014 I think, but not by very much. The last drops in the glass are beautifully floral – really super.

An October harvest. Ripening helped by a very luminous September. Small amount of chaptalisation needed.
Deep colour. A crystalline fruit on the nose, a little less floral reminds me more of a Caillerets – a cooler fruit. Super intensity and an excellent line of flavour, a faint oak accent, but here is concentrated, direct and very long flavour. Super wine – very different, only the finish is a tad less interesting vs the 14…

Only 12 hl/ha, some older barrels in this elevage from before the new regime.
An awarded bottle – many medals. Also with a great colour. A wide nose, of old-breed roses, and a dark fine fruit behind. Wow, really fine silky texture, concentration, dark fruit. Super fresh burst in the mid-palate and really hold an impressive intensity in the finish – a little more bitter fruit perhaps less gourmand than the first two, today, but a super package.

No optical triage at this time, made by Emmanuel before Stéphane arrived. No hail – a normal yield this vintage.
Dark colour – what a lovely nose too – modest but fine and floral. Wide, fresh, mouth-filling without the ultimate density of the rest. A similar style mid-palate to finish with a bitter fruit, pips/chocolate/oak. But still very, very long….

Made with plenty of extraction in those days – ‘probably wasn’t presentable in the first couple of years.’
Less deep colour, but still young-looking. Less overt than some but here the aroma is wide, textured, still a little young. Still fresh dark fruit. Ooh – concentrated – wide, a growing fine tannin, the fruit has the first suggestion of maturity, Reilly massive in the finish – really! Needs 10 years more, but this will be worth the wait!

Here there’s a hint of age to the colour, but still quite a deep colour. Wide, some intensity of aroma and I would say good focus and elegance – really better than most diffuse 97s. Big in the mouth, sweet, more cooked fruit, the classic mid-palate with a suggestion of bitterness, but really not too much. Structured, fresh actually today a nicer wine than the very impressive 2005 – bravo! A long time since I had so good a 97!
Relatively young-looking and quite deep colour. Nice fresh, modest but seemingly precise, delicate, faint flowers and fresh fruit – yum! Big in the mouth, fresh, silky, a faint texture still from the tannin. Almost a little young for the first part of the flavour – but from the mid-palate, this fizzes with clean, pure complexity – ouf! – that’s good. Younger than the 97, which Id rather drink today – but that’s really splitting hairs. Bravo

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