Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu Premier Cru 2016 Front Label
Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu Premier Cru 2016 Front LabelDomaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu Premier Cru 2016  Front Bottle Shot

Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu Premier Cru 2016

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  • BH94
  • RP94
  • D92
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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TA 96
Tim Atkin

Santenots is the most sought-after and complete of Dominic Lafon’s trio of Volnays, combining the freshness and minerality of Clos des Chênes with the fruit weight and structure of Champans. Floral and fine, but with underlying grip and the concentration to age well in bottle. Polished and refined. 2026-36.

BH 94
An overtly floral nose combines notes of rose petal, violet and lavender with those of spiced plum, red currant and a whiff of earth. Lafon's Santenots is typically a fairly muscular wine but in 2016 it is more a wine of refinement and finesse though I stress that there is excellent concentration and punch on the impeccably well-balanced finish that flashes just a hint of austerity. Despite the refinement, make no mistake that this is a firmly structured wine that should be capable of aging effortlessly for years to come.
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Aromas of dark cherries, incense, baking chocolate and rich soil tones introduce the 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Les Santenots-du-Milieu, a medium to full-bodied wine with superb depth and dimension, juicy balancing acids and powdery structuring tannins. The finish is long and sapid. It's an excellent Santenots that has really fleshed out since I tasted it from barrel.
D 92
Lafon’s holdings in Santenots produced a mere 19 barrels in lieu of a more typical 60, but the ensuing cuvée is excellent, opening in the glass with a classic bouquet of cassis, wild plum and meaty bass notes. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, with a firm but fine-grained chassis of tannin and a deep, vibrant core of fruit. This is always quite an authoritative, structural wine, but the balance in 2016 is promising.
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Domaine des Comtes Lafon

Domaine des Comtes Lafon

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Domaine des Comtes Lafon, France
Domaine des Comtes Lafon Winery Image
For those who love great Burgundy, this winery needs no introduction. However, for those who want to learn more about the region’s great terroirs, tasting the wines of Domaine des Comtes Lafon is a true education. Jules Lafon migrated to Burgundy’s Côte d’Or from his native Tarn-et-Garonne in the southwest of France in 1887. His marriage in 1894 to Marie Boch, the daughter of a vigneron and négociant in Meursault, marked the official beginning of the domaine. A lawyer by trade, Jules managed the domaine, increased his wife’s family’s holdings and eventually became the mayor of Meursault in 1923. As mayor, Jules reintroduced the tradition of la Paulée, Meursault’s post-harvest feast celebrated every year during the weekend of the Hospices de Beaune wine auction in late November. If you go to Meursault, you’ll find a street named for him. Three generations later, in 1984, their great-grandson Dominique took over the domaine. Dominique’s father, René, had been working in Paris and had rented out most of his vineyards to other growers under the time-honored Burgundian tradition of métayage, or share-cropping. During this time, they produced small lots of wine under the Comtes Lafon label, using the juice that came from the vignerons as rent. As these long-term contracts were gradually ending, Dominique decided to reclaim the land and bottle the wine himself—a turning point for this historic estate. By 1993, all of the family’s 13.8 hectares were back under Dominique’s control, and he began slowly converting the vineyards to organic viticulture. Today, Comtes Lafon makes wine from four communes—Meursault, Volnay, Monthélie and Puligny Montrachet—across fifteen appellations, including several premier and grand crus. Using ancient strains of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all propagated by séléction massale, Dominique has taken organic farming to the next level: biodynamics. The domaine earned organic certification in 1995 and biodynamic certification in 1998, showing the family’s passionate commitment to the long-term sustainability of their vineyards. The team at Domaine des Comtes Lafon limits yields by de-budding vines in the spring. The harvest is all done by hand, and the grapes are sorted twice—once in the vineyards and again at the winery. Their vines average 32 years. Traditional, natural fermentations are the hallmark of the domaine. Native yeasts, slow fermentations and long élévages allow the wines to express the complexity and nuance of each terroir. The Chardonnays are pressed gently and undergo a cool settling of the must for 24 hours before the juice is racked into both new and lightly-used oak barrels. Alcoholic fermentations last for three months, kept at a cool 22 to 24°C in their underground cellars. The whites are generally stirred on their lees, depending on the cuvee, and then undergo malolactic fermentation, which ends in May following the harvest. The whites are bottled unfiltered 18 to 22 months after the harvest. The Pinot Noirs are mostly de-stemmed to encourage the best expression of the fruit. Alcoholic fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks, with two daily punch-downs for about 12 days. At that point, both the free-run and direct-press wines are assembled and left to settle for two weeks. The reds are then racked by gravity into oak barrels, one-third of which are new. Malolactic fermentation begins late for the reds and generally occurs between March and May, after which the cuvees are racked back into their original barrels. Like the whites, the reds are bottled 18 to 22 months following the harvest. Sublimely silky and complex, the wines of Domaine des Comtes Lafon are a marvelous glimpse into the diversity of Burgundy’s terroirs and the extent to which this legendary family honors them.
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Volnay Wine

Cotes de Beaune, Burgundy

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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.

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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.”

BEA12626_2016 Item# 523459

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