Domaine de l'Arlot Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2012 Front Label
Domaine de l'Arlot Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2012 Front LabelDomaine de l'Arlot Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2012  Front Bottle Shot

Domaine de l'Arlot Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2012

  • RP96
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
From the domaine’s 24 rows of vines just below Romanee-Conti, the 2012 Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru has a complex, mineral-rich nose that unfolds beautifully in the glass. The palate has just a little gas to shake off, but it is so alive with a sorbet-like freshness: blood orange mixed with vibrant red fruit. It reminds me of tasting some of the 2005 from barrel with its sense of energy and animation. Outstanding – alas just three barrels produced. As I have detailed before, it was a bottle of Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos de l’Arlot 1990 ordered at the Beaune institution “Ma Cuisine” that ignited my love for Pinot Noir. I followed the wines thereafter, always seeking the thrill of that particular wine, but perhaps like your first kiss it was impossible to replicate the impact of the first. In some years, I felt that the domaine had under-performed, perturbed by a greenness that afflicted some recent vintages, which rather tarnished my sentimental attachment to this grower. So to be honest, I did not quite know what to expect when I pulled into its courtyard after a three-year absence. Back then I had tasted Olivier Leriche but there has subsequently been a changing of the guard. This time it was technical director Jacques Devauges, who took over from Leriche in August 2011, who strode out to greet me on a sodden Monday morning. Previously Devauges has worked with Frederic Magnien and at Domaine de la Vougeraie in Burgundy, gaining an overseas perspective in Napa before that. He seems to have slipped into his role at Domaine de l’Arlot with ease, enthusing about their biodynamic practices that have been in place since 2004. He believes that the practices serve to enhance fruit quality and terroir expression. As an aside, when I encountered under-performing wines in the past, I conjectured whether the pursuit of such ideals had meant that the domaine had taken their eye off the fundamentals. Fortunately, in a challenging year such as 2012, it was clear that whether Rudolf Steiner has a role to play at Domaine de l’Arlot or not, Jacques has overseen an impressive set of wines. Down in the barrel cellar we discussed the growing season. “I think 2012 will be a reference year in terms of the difficulties we had,” he told me. “It started in February. The winter was not very cold, but in February it was -13 degrees for two weeks with a strong northerly breeze. It was so cold that some houses’ water pipes were frozen. It was difficult for the buds. The cold got into them and we lost a bit of crop. Budburst was at the end of March but in April, on the 14th and 17th, the temperature dipped down to zero degrees in the morning, and so we almost had spring frost. Afterwards, until July, we had 50% more rain than usual and it was very regular: perfect conditions for mildew. So up until then, it was similar 1993. But 2012 was more difficult because we had a strong pressure of oidium during July. “In 2012, you had to make good decisions about exactly when and how much to spray. In a normal year, if one of those decisions is bad you would still harvest something. But in 2012, if one of those factors was wrong then you could lose crop.” I asked, perhaps predictably, whether biodynamics had been a burden in 2012? “It was proof that biodynamic practices, using copper and some artisan preparations, can work. But believe me, there were some nights when I did not sleep well. Sometimes my wife left the window open at night when it was raining. I had to ask her to close it. I didn’t want to hear it. We also had hail on the 4th of July, especially in Clos de l’Arlot upon the young Pinot Noir vines and the whites, fortunately not the older vines at the bottom of the clos. Flowering was a week later than in Vosne and we had a lot of coulure that decreased the crop by 45%. August was very sunny, September quite warm, and so we had good condition in the end, with no botrytis. Yields were around 20 hectoliters per hectare on average. We have four people taking away the millerandage bunches on the sorting table. We found that as a consequence the stems has been exposed to the sun and fully lignified. These were taken aside and then added to the vat with the de-stemmed berries.” The 2012 harvest at Domaine de l’Arlot took place between September 20 and 28. Samples were taken directly from barrels that had been blended and undergone one racking.
Range: 94-96
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Domaine de l'Arlot

Domaine de l'Arlot

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Domaine de l'Arlot, France
Domaine de l'Arlot Geraldine Godot, Owner and Winemaker Winery Image

Domaine de L'Arlot is one of the seminal properties in Nuits St. Georges. The domaine was co-owned by Jean-Pierre de Smet, who spent eight years alongside Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac before taking over L’Arlot in 1986. Today, the domaine consists of 14 hectares planted to mostly Pinot Noir, with 5% devoted to Chardonnay for their ultra-rare white wines. The oldest vines are 70+ years old, with the average age close to 50. While the estate’s core is in the monopoles of Clos des Forêts Saint Georges and Clos de l’Arlot, the domaine also consists of two parcels in the village of Vosne-Romanée that were added in 1991. The first is a plot in the Grand Cru Romanée Saint-Vivant that sits in the corner of the appellation, spilling into La Tâche on one side and Romanée-Conti on the other. The second is a prime parcel of Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots that sits on the border of Romanée Saint-Vivant. The addition of these incredibly placed sites only served to further cement the iconic status of the domaine.

In 2015 the very talented Geraldine Godot took over the domaine. While retaining the core values of l’Arlot, including biodynamic farming, Geraldine has brought her own style to this historic estate, with extraction kept to a minimum, and the wines seeing less new oak than in the past. All of this is done to preserve the gorgeous fruit from their cherished vineyards. With Geraldine’s inspired leadership, Domaine de l’Arlot is committed to maintaining their classic, elegant style of terroir driven wines in hopes of providing the sort of divine pleasure only classic Burgundy delivers.

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Vosne-Romanee Wine

Cote de Nuits, Burgundy

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This is the village for the most die-hard Burgundy fanatics. Vosne-Romanée has for many hundreds of years been the source of the most sought-after Pinot Noir in Burgundy. The village claims six Grands Crus—and some of the most famous at that—but in other villages where owners manage tiny parcels or a few rows of any one vineyard, monopolies dominate the Grands Crus of Vosne-Romanee.

Of these monopolies, Domaine Romanee-Conti (DRC) reigns supreme, claiming not only more total vineyard area than any other producer, but outright owning the entirety of two of the Grands Crus and a majority of two others. In its full possession are naturally Romanée-Conti, as well as La Tâche. DRC also owns most of Richebourg and Romanée-St-Vivant. The final two, La Grande Rue and La Romanée are completely owned by other other produers: François Lamarche and Comte Liger Belair, respectively.

While one could spend a lifetime on the puzzles of land ownership in Burgundy, the point is that Vosne-Romanee contains the most valuable pieces of vineyard real estate in the world. Pinot Noir from any of its vineyards—especially from within its 27ha of Grand Cru or 58 ha of Premier Cru land—is going to rank among the best.

The most outstanding wines from this village have everything: finesse and elegance coupled with the body and sturdiness for incredibly long aging ability. They are intensely floral and exotically spiced. Beautifully ripe, complex and ephemeral throughout, they are robust, yet fine-grained in texture. These wines will stay gorgeous for the long haul.

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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.”

AND187277_2012 Item# 187277

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