Profile: Henri Darnat (Meursault)


Henri DarnatTasted with Henri Darnat in Meursault, 24 June 2019.

Vins Henri Darnat
50 impasse du Pré des Taupes
21190 Meursault
Tel: +33 3 80 21 43 72

Henri Darnat is the fifth generation of his family, since the 1800s, working their own land, and with an organic approach in the vines too. Henri has been here, working with his wife, Marion, since 1985 and at one time had an important négoce volume. I have the impression that there may be no succession planned here, at least for now, so Henri has reduced his négoce purchases a little, but for the moment I don’t think he’s going anywhere soon – and that’s good because this is a good source of both red and white wines.

Henri doesn’t like to rush things – either in the vines or the cuverie: “I’m a late harvester, I like to have ripe fruit. I also like to make my elevage in a mix of foudres and tanks, though there are of course barrels too. My target is for a modest yield of about 35 hl/ha – that didn’t quite work out in 2018 though – I didn’t have any more bunches in 2018, but I certainly had plenty of juice!

And for those with more interest than I, Henri also turns his hand at making beer too, partly fermented in his Meursault barrels!

The domaine has plenty of export, though interestingly their sales to Russia are now outstripping their sale to the US!

The wines…

A small window into the world of this domaine – it looks more than interesting with some excellent wines. I look forward to taking a closer look in future vintage reports.

2017 Bourgogne Blanc La Jumalie
Bottled. This cuvée name is a mix of those of Henri and Marion’s 3 daughters.
Fresh some spice to the aroma, not so wide. Full, luscious, ripe but with dynamism and a little touch of phenolic texture and really long. I like!

2018 Meursault
From barrel
A perfumed volume of freshness. Hmm, that’s very Meursault, with a nice tension too – despite 40% barrel with a strong toast – you can’t taste it. A little mandarin skin finish – ooh that’s really super villages!

2018 Meursault 1er Clos Richemont
From barrel. Last vintage, Henri also sold Genevrières. This from a new Cavin barrel, also with strong toast.
A little sizzle of wood/reduction but very fine. Extra depth of flavour. Extra concentration, vibrant, structured, rich, a little fumé, an open-ended finish that slowly accentuates more and more the minerality. Tons of potential here.

A look at some reds:

2016 Bourgogne Pinot Noir La Jumalie
‘I have stopped cooling before fermenting but also don’t warm at the end of fermentation, rather I close the tank and leave it for a while – I started doing it like this in 2008 and I think the results delicious and they keep very well. This from vines in the bottom of Pommard.’
Depth of colour. Perfumed, deep, almost a hint of leaf complexity. Nice drive, showing a direct line of flavour, with freshness, slowly expanding over the palate, growing and growing in width. This is super.

2017 Pommard
Vines in Les Cras at the entry of the village. Plus some older than 80 yo vines En Mareau
A little less aromatic volume here, slightly fumé, leafy. In the mouth, this is fresh, herby, faintly astringent, but with a nice depth to the texture. Wait to open, good persistence with a touch of salinity. For the label, I prefer the Bourgogne, but this is more than adequate wine.

2017 Volnay
More floral, much more charming and inviting. Fresh, driving, more dynamic wine in the mouth. Open, some structure, the structure also showing at the end in the finish – and it’s delicious finishing. Excellent wine.

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