The Domaine d’Ardhuy is very easy to miss as you speed up or down the Route Nationale 74, I think that’s because you’re just on the border between a slow and a fast strech of the road – I’m usually looking in my mirrors to see who’s planning to overtake me! It would, however, be a shame to miss this place as the moment you turn off the main road, their driveway sweeps you up to a very pretty nineteenth century house with vines bordered by small fruit trees on either side of you – this is their walled Monopole vineyard, the Clos des Langres. The location is Corgoloin, the house and grounds are in the Côte de Nuits but just the other side of their ‘Clos’ wall is the Côte de Beaune. Behind the house are the outbuildings and seventeenth century cellars where the wines are made.
The family d’Ardhuy are the owners of Domaine d’Ardhuy, they were also the owners of the Château de Corton André and of Maison Reine Pédauque but these were sold around two years ago. Today the owners concentrate on the Domaine d’Ardhuy in Burgundy and another in the Rhône Valley, the Domaine La Cabotte and it’s range of Côte du Rhônes. I’ve heard that if you are ever nearby Mondragon it’s worth a quick look as it’s a beautiful spot in the Massif d’Uchaux.
The d’Ardhuy family originate in the small town of Yssingeaux around 50km South-West of Lyon. It was Gabriel d’Ardhuy who settled down in Burgundy around 1927 and bought vineyards to build up a domaine. Later by marriage d’Ardhuy came together with André, hence, the Château Corton André came into the fold. Today it is Mireille Santiard-d’Ardhuy who is responsible at the domaine for the d’Ardhuy family.
Vineyards and Winemaking
In January 2003 Carel Voorhuis who was 29 at the time succeded Jean-Pierre Terrand as head winemaker at the domaine. Carel, whose parents make wine in the Savoie, joined Ardhuy from a negociant in the south of France and had also worked for BRL Hardy in the Yarra Valley. He has a diploma in enology from Dijon and did further studies at the Lycée Viticole de Beaune.
Carel now looks after the domaine’s approximately 45 hectares of vines, vines that are predominantly 1er and Grand Cru rated and stretch from Puligny to Gevrey, some 30+ cuvées. Despite a number of white cuvées, the balance here is with the reds, around 90%. There may be ‘only’ around 30 cuvées, but there are actually over 200 parcels of vines to be managed!
Amongst the interesting wines and vineyards are the Clos des Langres Monopole; reputedly planted by the monks of Cîteaux around the tenth century, also they have a really impressive roll-call of Cortons; five reds plus one Corton-Charlemagne (from three plots) – there are not many places where you get the opportunity to compare a Corton Combes with a Corton Hautes-Mourottes and a Corton-Pougets.
For the 2003 vintage (Carel’s first here) yields averaged only 30hl/ha, partly the vintage and partly due to lots of crop thinning in the growing season. Carel’s aim is to increase the concentration of the wines vs what went before, whilst retaining the essence of the different terroirs. The vineyards are not all organic, but they are heading in that direction – never easy with so many parcels.
I remember Clive Coates bemoaning the difficulty of finding really good sources of Corton, well I think we have one such source here. First a quick trip through some red 2003 barrel samples then onto some 2003 whites already bottled:
From approximately 40 year-old vines. Deep colour. High toned and floral, slightly closed nose. Very good concentration of ripe fruit that’s coupled with very good length. Balanced and interesting.
An equal mixture of 50 and 20 year-old vines. The nose is a little more spicy and deep vs the Pougets. Also a little more concentration and minerality to the palate. Even the length is a notch better. Very good wine.
This shows the most forward and fruitily friendly nose so far. There are perceptibly more luxurious tannins again coupled with very ripe fruit. Real persistence to the finish – another very good wine.
Half a hectare of vines that are almost North facing, right at the top of the hill. Not the most favoured exposition, but what a combination with the 2003 vintage: High toned nose, very fresh and showing an intense cherry core. The palate is bathed in ripe, velvetty tannin – no hint of astringency. The fruit is more than a match and flows well into the good finish. This is a really interesting and balanced wine that I’m sure will end up in my cellar.
The nose is a pleasing and fresh effort, slowly developing a mocha/coffee note. After the Hautes-Mourottes only medium tannins but there’s a very nice mineral aspect to this wine. It’s hard to follow the last Corton but there’s excellent length to the finish. Will be another very good wine
Quite a powerful, tropical nose. Nice mouthfeel, the wine shows a well balanced personality with fresh fruit. Powerful but balanced, a good and interesting wine.
The vines are only 8 years old. The nose doesn’t shout like the previous wine. Again nice mouthfeel but we decide this wine’s a little tired – it’s been open for a few hours, the next bottle is much better with a fine, high-toned nose. Good fat again. This is almost good.
It’s probably due to the recent bottling, but this wine didn’t sing on all fronts. Lovely deep nose with a hint of creamyness. The cream carries through onto a palate that shows reasonable ‘oomph’, good concentration and pleasing length. So nothing particularly wrong but I was missing a little Charlemagne excitement – worth revisiting.
I don’t remember why we tried this after the Charlemagne, but it certainly wasn’t disadvantaged. In all respects this is a fat and sweet wine that shows nice, lingering acidity. A little tarty perhaps but lots of fun.