Domaine de Montille Volnay Les Mitans Premier Cru 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Dark, full red. Seductive aromas of redcurrant and rose petal. Delivers lovely inner-mouth perfume, with flavors of raspberry, smoke and minerals lifted by peppery spices and flowers. Intense premier cru with enticing sweetness and excellent precision. Finishes with firm but fine-grained dusty tannins and noteworthy grip. Just 50% of normal production in 2013.
The 2013 Volnay 1er Cru Les Mitans is the one Volnay that is 100% whole cluster. Brian Sieve explained that these particular vines produce very little fruit: small berries with more wood than foliage on the actual vines (due to a misplanted rootstock 45 years ago!). But the silver lining, a least in this year, is that the hail did not do so much damage here as elsewhere. "There was good air flow and bunches less tightly packed so you could easily discard any unsuitable berries on the sorting table," winemaker Brian Sieve explained. It has an “airy” bouquet with more lift and floral scents compared to the Champans. The palate is medium-bodied with bright cranberry and tart red cherry notes, brittle but fine tannins with plenty of freshness on the pointed finish where the stem characteristic is just tangible. This seems to be a step up from the Champans this year, and may merit a higher score down the line.
On the hillsides between Pommard and Meursault, Volnay is one of two villages in the Côte de Beaune of Burgundy 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.”