Domaine Antonin Guyon Volnay Clos Des Chenes 2013
Domaine Antonin Guyon is one of the most prestigious estates in the Côte d’Or, as well as one of the largest family-owned wineries in the region. Started in the 1960s by Antonin Guyon with parcels of land in Gevrey and Mersault, the domaine is controlled and operated today by Antonin’s sons, Dominique and Michel. This 47 hectare property now produces wines of impeccable quality from 15 different appellations, including some of the most renowned villages of the region.
Dominique Guyon and his brother Michel control the business that was started by their father Antonin in the 1960’s. Antonin was relatively mature when he set out on his vine-owning journey – 55 – buying his first parcels in Gevrey and Meursault. The biggest single addition to the family’s holdings came in 1970 after Dominique had patiently accumulated hundreds of small parcels from almost 80 different Hautes Côtes de Nuits growers in Meuilley into a single, 22 hectare block of southfacing vines.
Based in Savigny-lès-Beaune the domaine owns a fine range of vines from around the hill of Corton but their northern limits are in Gevrey, southern in Meursault, western in the aforementioned Hautes Côtes de Nuits and to the east in Chorey-lès-Beaune.
Today, Dominique and daughter Hombeline Guyon preside over a 47 hectare domaine producing wines of impeccable quality from 25 different appellations. His holdings produce wines of sufficient quantity to bring to the broad market dominated by negociant names, but with a quality that can rival some of the most specialist of grower domaines.
On the hillsides between Pommard and Meursault, Volnay is one of two villages in the Côte de Beaune that is recognized for its extraordinary Pinot Noir. Pommard is the other; the rest of the villages are most known for some of the most exceptional Chardonnay in the world. While Volnay Pinot Noir tends to be light in color and more delicate than that of Pommard, they typically stand on par with each other in regards to quality and demand.
Volnay can’t claim any Grands Crus vineyards but more than half of it has achieved Premier Cru status. Volnay Premiers Crus vineyards stretch across the entire village from northeast to southwest, abutting and actually falling “into” Meursault. Where they merge is a vineyard called Les Santenots. Pinot Noir grows in this Meursault Premier Cru but since that village is most associated with stellar whites, the Pinot Noir from Les Santenots, takes the name Volnay Santenots. Immediately above it are Volnay’s other prized Premier Cru, Le Cailleret, Champans, Clos des Chênes and Le Cailleret.
Volnay Pinot Noir are earthy with red or blue fruit. Aromas such as smoke, herbs, forest, cocoa and spice are common and on the palate they are gorgeous and concentrated with finesse but won’t truly charm you without some age.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”