Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay 2018
100% de-stemmed, pneumatic pressing, indigenous yeast fermentation and aged for 18 months in older oak barrels, unfiltered.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 89-91
The Lafarge's have been vignerons in Volnay since the 18th century. They started bottling in the early 1900's, a rarity for a small estate. They have had loyal customers for generations, selling their own wine in barrels to Parisian restaurants as far back as the 1850's. Their history may not be as visible as a Domaine de la Romanee-Conti but is perhaps even more remarkable. For it is easier, if not less honorable, for people whose income does not solely depend on an estate to pursue quality. And it is also harder to allow oneself to slip when one is constantly in the limelight. The greatness of these wines will hit you after you've visited the whole vintage, after you're familiar with everybody else's take. It's a year later and you've tasted back and forth throughout the Cote, you've done your work, you're intellectually armed. You spot that bottle of Lafarge. You know the estate intimately, you're a fan. What could possibly surprise you more than it being excellent. But at the first sip, the word genius escapes in a whisper. Because these wines are exactly what the vintage should be. And this, vintage after vintage, come rain or shine. The wines of Domaine Michel Lafarge are infallible. And they are so great they don't come to you, you have to work up to them.
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.”