Domaine Francois Mikulski Volnay Santenots du Milieu 2017
François’ Mikulski’s father was Lieutenant Mieczyslaw Mikulski who escaped from occupied Poland in 1939, fleeing to England and joining the Resistance troops of the Free Polish Forces. There he met his future wife, a Burgundian woman working on an English army base, and moved to Brussels where François was born and raised. Luckily for us and the world of wine, François spent his formative summers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with the agrarian lifestyle and determined that he would one day make wine himself. He inherited his first plots of Meursault in 1992 from his late uncle, Pierre Boillot. Since that time, he has relentlessly pursued his authenticity, purity and elegance through acute attention to biological balance in the vineyard and terroir minded élevage practices in the cellar. After meticulous sorting in the vineyards the grapes are de-stemmed and lightly pressed. Natural yeasts are used in the fermentation after which the wines undergo an élevage 10-12 months. François typically restrains his new oak use to about 20%, believing that excessive wood masks full expression of the terroir.
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.