Hello everyone! Just in from the Côte de Beaune with some exciting news. Starting in 2011, we will be sourcing fruit from Volnay 1er Cru “Robardelle”! This cru is not too well known as of late, though it is situated quite well and has an an impressive history indeed. The vines of Robardelle are situated just a few meters from “Les Santenots-Du-Mileu” (on the other side of the road which separates Meursault and Volnay, though it is classified under Volnay) to the South and “En Caillrets” just meters from touching it’s North-West corner, both of which were classified as Tête de Cuvée by Jules Lavalle (1855) and by Camille Rodier (1920).
Directly across the same road and to the South is Les Santenots, which is less regarded than Les Santenots-Du-Mileu, though still quite good. The vineyard just above Robardelle, “En Chevret”, is more the direct neighbor of of the more famous climat, though our plot of Robardelle is right on the wall, which places us quite close as well. There is only a small road which cuts between Robardelle and Les Santenots-Du-Mileu. Suffice to say, this is a small, exceptionally situated climat.
To place the Tête de Cuvée classification into context, the other original Tête de Cuvées from 1855 included Chambertin, La Tâche, La Romanée Conti, Corton, La Romanée, Grands Echézeaux, Clos de Tart, Les St-Georges, Clos de Vougeot, Musigny, Clos de la Perrière (Fixin), Les Grèves, and Clos de Tavannes. These were considered to be the best climats in all of the Côte d’Or.
All of it’s neighbors are interesting, though in Burgundy, the soil is so fragmented that a neighbor’s land can’t always tell you about the land below your own two feet. With that in mind, let’s focus on “Robardelle”. “La Robardelle” was itself classified as Deuxième Cuvée by Lavelle in 1855 among other Volnays such as “Clos-des-Chênes” and “En Taille-Pieds”. In 1920, Camille Rodier placed “La Robardelle” into the highest classification for Volnay, Première Cuvée. Both Lavalle and Rodier noted “La Robardelle” at 4 hectares, 25 ares and 70 cents, which was later reduced to the current climat size at 2 hectares, 95 ares after the lower section to the East, toward the Route National 74 was declassified to village-level. Since 1936 the vineyard has been classified as a Premier Cru.
This is exciting news as I have always enjoyed the wines and history of Volnay. Unfortunately, Volnay is one of the hardest villages to buy grapes in, right behind Chambolle-Musigny and Vosne-Romanée, this is for buying good village, 1er Cru are even harder. The vines are planted on a North-South which is a bit different than the surrounding vineyards. The soil here is quite shallow with a good amount variation in the size and type of the limestone here. You can find everything from pea-sized limestone to larger sized limestones which also vary in type, though they are typically found within the marne series. The soil breaks up easily in the hand, though it does have enough clay retention to hold in a sufficient amount of water. The average age of the vines are around 35 years old, with no noticeable yellowing on any of the leaves. There hasn’t been a lot of replanting lately, and the pieds look healthy and solid.
This will be our first Côte de Beaune fruit source. I have to admit, it has been quite a chore trying to figure out which vineyards would work well with what we are doing. A few things that I have been offered have been interesting, though they didn’t really feel special enough to add to the current fruit that we source. We aren’t too flooded with offers for fruit, though a few Grands Crus and Premiers Crus have been presented and I’ve passed them up. It seems we continue to get lucky with fruit.
While viewing this vineyard, it was really easy to see that some beautiful things are possible with this vineyard. This isn’t a shift toward more Côte de Beaune wines in the future as I really just have a soft spot for Volnay. If something else special comes up down there, I will of course view it seriously. Though, truth be told, I have such intense feelings for Morey, Gevrey, Chambolle, Volnay and Vosne that I am trying my best to focus in these areas. In doing this, my goal will remain in staying small, only working with what I know to be potentially stunning. The fruit will be treated exactly as the others are. In a ‘normal’ harvest, I should receive 5 barrels worth of grapes from this climat. I will fill in with better shots in the near future.
Thank you for stopping by and reading!