Domaine de l'Arlot Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots Premier Cru 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 90-92
Perhaps this wine is just a little more shut down after bottling, but for now I'm inclined to give the domaine's Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Crus the nod over its 2017 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots this year. Offering up pretty aromas of raspberries, spices and a discrete framing of new wood, this Suchots is medium to full-bodied, supple and charming, with ripe acids, fine-grained tannins and a nicely defined finish. Rating: 92+
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.
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.
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.”