Tasted in Beaune with Véronique Drouhin, 24 March 2016.
Actually, here is a bit more than just Clos des Chênes as we worked through a number of warm-up wines and then one warm-down wine!
A high-toned, quite precise nose. Round, a little textural cushioning, but carried with very fine acidity indeed – here is a very fine line of flavour that cuts through textural padding. Very tasty, indeed crunchy fruit.
Ooh – a sweeter top note, almost layering the aromas to its base. A similar textural comfort, but much more silken in the mouth. Really a layered flavour too, waves of finishing flavour. Modestly, today, mineral. Actually the Chassagne is better by the glass today, but this has really super potential.
A bright, vibrant, beautiful floral nose, very effusive – picture-perfect. Supple, very nice on the tongue – very nice – there’s tannin, but really micro-grained, and not astringent. Fine mid-palate and finishing flavour. Top!
A deeper aromatic register – still floral but with more fruit impact, maybe even a very slight spice. Just a very beautiful nose. Wider, very good, wide red fruit. Here is a more important level of tannin/structure. Nothing overt. Here is a wine that you can really enjoy already today, though you should note the extra rigour. Super wine with a very faint floral note in the finish.
Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
This is a wine you don’t see very often – and really that’s no surprise as they own only 0.2 hectares, but this is a wine every bit as good as its better-known stable-mates. The vines are 30 to 45 years old on average. The vines are on the Volnay village side of the vineyard as opposed to the Monthelie side.
2014 delivered only 2 barrels – 2013 only 1 barrel… Biodynamics practiced here. The average elevage sees 14 months in barrel, though this does vary – an earlier malo means less elevage time, a later malo, longer… Corks have, since the 1960s, been branded with name and vintage – burnt on, it’s not ink.
Wow – what a fabulous, rounded, almost textured and layered nose. Mouth-filling, a little tannic drag to the texture but no grain. Fabulous red fruit. Really concentrated and just a thing of beauty – this is great Volnay 2014! Fabulous.
2011 Clos des Chênes
Very 2011 – a medium strength pyrazine aroma and a slightly vegetal note too. Still a fine width with a little aromatic texture and pretty red fruit. I must say it becomes ever more beautiful in the glass. Round, mouth-filling faint, interesting pyrazine even, perhaps just a faint extra dryness to the tannin. But really a very fine wine indeed, with a lovely floral in the finish.
Another smaller yielding vintage but with fine acidity.
A more transparent and fresher nose, not the padding of the previous two – precise red fruit, faint reduction, but almost an attractive vibration – at any least it’s very inviting. If the nose isn’t so textured, the palate certainly is – a really beautiful red fruit flavour that’s wide and seemingly layered. Really gorgeous… Just a little dry tannin that surprises in the finish – great length.
2009 Clos des Chênes
Here the nose is changing, the fruit is not especially ripe, but there are a few secondary aromas. Wide and very pretty – really inviting. Round, more 09 style in the mouth, and with a little tannic drag, but waves of slightly more roast fruit flavours. Layers of finishing flavour of slightly more spiced fruit… Long, long….
1999 Clos des Chênes
Really super colour. Complex, dark fruit and spice, a fine width, it slowly opens its wings in the glass but really does fly, becoming ever-more focused. The palate also has a little bit of a spicy aspect to the fruit, but its complex, oh-so complex.
1990 Clos des Chênes
Deep, smoky, leather, a really nice spice accent – always gaining in freshness, adding dried fruits – just a great wine. In the mouth this has scale, all the spaces in your mouth are filled, but there is no fat. There is still quite some tannin – almost on the same level as the 99, the fruit having a brown sugar impression. Great ever-changing wine. Just fabulous nose in the end… The 99 is just a little less sweet today,
1996 Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches
A wide and open nose with some leaf, a suggestion of balsamic, only a suggestion, becoming fresher in the glass and beginning to develop something floral. Plenty of tannin at the base and a vivid mid-palate panorama of flavour. All three of the 90s wines just get aromatically better and better as they interact with oxygen. A wine that could still improve given its structure.