Tasted with Willy Roulendes (right) and Pierre Meurgey in Auxey-Duresses 05 April 2017.
Domaine du Moulin aux Moines
Tel: +33 3 80 21 60 79
Winemaker and director Willy Roulendes has been here, in this special location, since 2008, having previously worked for de Montille. The domaine is French-owned, but by a Frenchman who lives in Switzerland, who bought the domaine for his son to manage. In the end, his son chose California over Auxey-Duresses…
Despite needing some renovation, and not apparently being a ‘destination’ the domaine surprises by having a very nice tasting room and attached wine-shop – you should make an appointment to visit, but they are happy to take groups – and as you will see, there are some good wines to be found here.
A special location? Well, it would be even more special if all the domaine was more renovated, but I find a special calm here, a domain established by the monks over a millennium ago, in a dip between Meursault, Auxey and Monthelie. There are 15 hectares of owned vines, all headquartered and produced in this, semi-isolated, collection of buildings of different ages – but with ownership going back to the Abbey of Cluny in 962. The domaine takes its name from the vines enclosed by a tall, stout wall – the vines of Auxey-Duresses Moulin aux Moines – both red and white. A small stream runs through the property, called the Clous which ran the flour mill – most of the mill-aparatus remains in place, if not in working condition – it last ‘worked’ in 1945.
Just over the wall, behind the clos and a small vineyard road is villages Meursault. It’s a 3 hectare clos and the foundation of the domaine’s stout wall is the mother rock. Actually directly in front of the domaine is a section of vines that have only been planted in recent years – so this land has no classification – despite being at the centre of a triangle of Meursault, Auxey and Monthelie appellations – it’s not even classed as Bourgogne – so the domaine make a ‘natural‘ Vin de France from this plot.
The domaine was never large, mainly having been built only for the 3 ha clos, but there’s a lot of character to the cuverie – the cellar dating from the 11th century. The domaine is certified bio since 2009, their approach is actually largely biodynamic, but not certified as such.
The cuverie has many concrete tanks and fewer wood ones. Willy uses relatively long macerations though say that he’s looking for finesse. There’s a mix of destemming, or not here, and the whites ferment in 400 litre barrels. Willy notes that “Generally we do no fining or filtration here – when so, it’s only as an intervention.”
Willy on 2015 and 2016:
“2015 was very warm, I think that the wines are a little less expressive than in classic vintages. Compare that to 2016 where we had only 3.5 hectares that were not frosted – from 15 hectares! When I arrived here in 2008, the domaine had only 8 hectares of vines, but the barrel cellar was stacked three barrels high – this year, with 15 hectares, the 2016 vintage fills a little less than one layer!”
The US is is the largest export market for these wines, followed by Japan. And about 70% of the domaine’s production is exported.
A wide and interesting range and there are some very good wines here. The pricing in the shop looked ambitious, but probably the through normal distribution channels they are not too bad.
2015 Bourgogne Clos de la Perrière Monopole
Vines in the bottom of the commune of Puligny – Corpeau – a 3.5 hectare walled vineyard of both colours.
Modest colour for the vintage. Freshness and soft, pretty red fruit. Nice volume in the mouth, very red fruited, the texture is quite nice – almost a little fat, with a growing intensity of slightly saline fruit. An easy wine, but a tasty wine with the length of the vintage.
2015 Pinot Noir Vin Nature
Vines right in front of the domaine, but never classified so VdF – probably it wasn’t planted at the time of AOC. All tank elevage, ‘a little more natural’ – no sulfur and all whole-cluster.
More colour. The nose very different, round and red. In the mouth this is really not bad – fresh, intense, juicy fruit. Hmm this is really tasty despite the somewhat uninteresting nose…
2015 Auxey-Duresses Clos Moulin aux Moines Monopole
Plenty of colour. Bright fresh, floral, pyrazine impression. Bright, plenty of intensity, pyrazine style to the flavour too but this has plenty about it – a little modest tannin and a long line of flavour.
2015 Auxey-Duresses Clos Moulin aux Moines Vieilles-Vignes Monopole
Not yet bottled – maybe later in April or May – all destemmed
A much more guarded nose – depth and a nice purity. In the mouth a faint reduction, a growing drag to the texture from the tannin. Fresh, nice purity, almost a delicate complexity. Not a small wine, indeed one with a super line of flavour. Long and with good freshness. Just a little more of this cuvée is made than the former – it’s serious and has lots of potential…
Also not yet bottled. 7 different parcels, 4 different lieu-dits – two from the top where its stony. Altogether about 1 hectare.
Another modest nose but of width and an implied fine texture – nice. Good volume in the mouth, fresh, lovely energy and fruit, a little modest tannin. This is an excellent villages wine – really super – Bravo! Fine finishing too, the texture modified with a hint of tannin.
2015 Volnay Les Famines
Second vintage for this wine. Next to Mitans – with a little whole cluster.
Medium, rather modest colour. Bright red-fruited – pyrazine style. Bright and fresh, lots of energy here, sweetness of fruit, layers of mid-palate flavour. This is excellent – the nose needs to improve but it tastes excellent! A wine that dances over the palate.
Also a relatively new cuvee here. ‘Nice vines but they don’t produce a lot!’
Much deeper colour than the Volnay. A relatively tight nose but with fine points of clarity and freshness. Much bigger, more volume, more depth of flavour. There seems a hint of gas here but this big round wine has lots of developing complexity. Clearly the best cuvée here in terms of potential. A lot of wine here and very well made too. Finishing with a slowly mouth-watering flavour and impressive length. But id drink the dancing Volnay in preference today!
2015 Pommard 1er Clos Orgelot Monopole
Next to Pezerolles and Clos des Mouches.
Another less-coloured wine. A deep nose, of roasting red fruit – a vibrance here. Overt roast red fruit on the palate too but with a freshness that brings a counterpoint. An interesting wine, though I’m unconvinced. Good complexity and some finishing tannin. Essentially a jammy style red fruit with an engaging structure and good complexity…
Willy says that he likes to oxygenate the musts here.
2015 Bourgogne Clos de la Perrière
Second vintage, same vineyard as the red.
Some aromatic volume and a quite an attractive freshness. Ooh, this is delicious, with sucrosity and ripe fruit – but quite enough balancing freshness too. Very nice!
2015 Monthelie Sous le Cellier
Complex, depth and fresh top notes. Like the last this has a burst of delicious flavour with sucrosity and mouth-watering flavour. Long and faintly saline. Very tasty wine with a certain perfumed impression to the mid-palate.
2 climats: sous roche and combe bazins
More mineral, almost a harder nose. Direct, fresh intense, long. Good weight of flavour. Really long. Another very, very tasty wine.
2015 Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes
Will be bottled at the end of this month. A west-facing and steep section of vines.
Deep and weighty aromas but with a strong mineral impression. Hmm. Gorgeous, layered, fresh, ripe agrume sweetness. Simply delicious!
A nice depth of aroma here, if more limited in width. Wide, with good scale in the mouth and a melting flavour – slowly growing intensity, and it’s quite mouth-watering too. This is engrossing and excellent. Bravo! Very different style to the Pernand and just slightly my preference.