Each March Guillaume d’Angerville comes to London to do a press tasting of the recently release vintage, in this case 2013. Volnay as a village has had a rough time of it with minute yields in 2012, 2013 and also in the yet to be release 2014. When you combine this with the fact that 2010 and 2011 were not large it is not a happy story. What is good news though is that the wines produced in all those vintages, against the odds, show that this Domaine is as good, and very possibly better, than ever. Guillaume is very deferential to previous generations, of which he is the 6th, but I think it is fair to say the conversion to Bio-dynamics that started in 2006 and was fully up and running in 2009 has had a great effect. This tasting and the lunch that followed were both held at Quo Vadis yesterday

The wines were tasted, as is usually the way in Burgundy, with the white last. None of the wines are bottled as yet. Up to the Taillepieds are in tank awaiting bottling soon, Champans, Clos des Ducs and Meursault are all still in barrel.

Volnay 2013
Quite dark fruit, leaning to black over red but with real precision and focus. A little dash of mellow white pepper. Lovely focused and red fruited palate, nice bit of grip but there is sweetness to balance.

Volnay 1er Cru 2013
Lovely nose of red fruit with a little black, a little more full than I expected even a little more brooding. The spice is less present but only because of the richness of fruit. Lovely, more dense.
Pommard 1er Cru Combes Dessus 2013
Wonderfully different, airy but intense, more sweetness on the nose, almost a herbal citrus note then there is a darker fruit on the palate but again a sweetness. Not without some grip and minerality. There is though a persistent citrus freshness on the finish, not like any Pommard I have had. Very interesting to note that Guillaume commented that Bio-dynamics have really made a significant difference here, more energy and focus coming to the wine.
Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Angles 2013
Really refined, red berry fruit, really poised, incredibly focused but beautiful. Lovely volume of red fruit and herbs with less spice, wonderful in the mouth, hard to spit, very Volnay, very complete. A star.
Volnay 1er Cru Fremiet 2013
More concentrated and bolder than the Angles, denser and somehow a little more shy, the palate too is a little drier and bigger and may be a shade less overt. Bolder, bigger, drier. This could be a sleeper.
Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets 2013
A little more leafy, more sinewy but good for it, redder fruit. More and more comes out in glass, the fruit is oranges as well as red currant, there is grip but elegance also.
Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds 2013
Really balanced and harder to describe as a result, good grip once on the palate but great acidity and energy, even nervousness which translates as drive, red berries but with a dash of spice. Very d’Angerville.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans 2013
I am biased here as I have a real soft spot for Champans, there is a roundness and completeness to this wine on the nose (as there was with the 2009 over lunch), on the palate it is more brooding and a little drier, the empty glass smells delicious which I always rate as a good sign.
Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 2013
Densely mineral with darker fruits, black even, very very intense, this is weightier but the palate tells a great tale, this is so Clos des Ducs, there is a dramatically long length, stunning texture.
Meursault 1er Cu Santenots 2013
The nose reminds me of grand cru Chablis and citrus but with a little generosity of Meursault in texture on the palate, it is this lovely texture combined with the right amount of mineral energy that drives this wine. I asked Guillaume about the refined nature of this wine and he commented that it only sees 25% new oak here and that the new oak barrels Guillaume now buys are bigger than standard

After the tasting we moved to the dining room for Lunch and a selection of different wines and vintages – it is a format that really works because however fascinating a tasting, it is always best when set in the context of doing what these wines are made for – drinking them!

Lunch Wines
Meursault 1er Cu Santenots 2011
Very pale colour, a little reduced, which I really like, some smokiness, then white fruits, not citrus, this will become more nutty and complex, I really liked this right now though.
As we moved onto the 2009’s Guillaume made a very interesting comment about elevage, saying how crucial it is and in contrasting ways in different vintages, the 2008’s put on “weight”  whilst the 2009’s became more refined.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans 2009
Pure but seductively extrovert, the fruit is red and open. There is lovely balance and just a shade of cool stoney minerality that comes through. Just so drinkably delicious…if I had this at home it wouldn’t last “5 minutes”.
Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets 2009
Markedly darker colour, sweetness and richness are the watchwords here. I can see this ageing brilliantly as there is a sweet savouriness under the covers. Clearly a site to watch closely as the vast majority of this site was replanted in 1999-2000 so we are talking about young vines. Interestingly Guillaume has bought an parcel of older vines recently.

Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds 2007

2007 was the third most precocious vintage the Domaine has ever know with picking on the 3rdSeptember. There is a focus to this wine and also a complexity – I loved Guillaume’s summary that “it is not an arrogant wine…it is what it is”…it is ready now but there is no rush.
Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 2008
A tricky vintage that was not picked until over three weeks later than 2007. This was initially taut and tight in the glass but where the 2007 let you have it from the start this toys with you and opened out in the glass, there is significant classicism here, an academic wine that will age well, I feel.

Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 1999

Guillaume commented that he could relax with the 1999 as it was not “his”, referring to the fact Guillaume whilst involved was not solely responsible until the 2003 vintage. The 1999 is a wine I have had recently (Clos des Ducs 1920-2002) and it is just starting to hit its stride, still a little muted there is a very great wine here. Very vinous, complex, a salinity as well as a lovely herbal edge…if you own this continue to be patient – you won’t regret it…
I am already looking forward to next year…and whilst the 2014 is small again (though not on the scale of 2012 or 2013) I a praying that 2015 will bring a large and wonderful crop because this Domaine is coiled ready to pounce on just such an opportunity…