Thursday, December 17, 2015

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux (Vosne-Romanée) -- 2014s Tasted from Tank and Cask

Charles Lachaux has been taking over here from his father, Pascal. There are changes here, such as the reduction in the use of new oak and use of whole clusters, but there is also continuity with the earlier wines. This remains an excellent estate with a somewhat modernist bent, but in the best sense of that term – dense but with finesse, and with terroir showing through. But these are concentrated wines and the top wines will need some time in bottle to show their full potential, although the others should show well young.

Charles said that the vintage was complicated from a viticultural perspective, and the grass in the vineyards saved the vintage because it soaked up the water, preventing the development of botrytis and bloating of the grapes. As a result, there was not much triage to do when the grapes were harvested. During the season, Charles let the vines grow higher than in the past and only cut the tops a month after other vignerons did. He believes this gives more energy to the wines.

Because of the fine weather, harvesting lasted seven days instead of the usual five, thereby allowing greater precision in choosing the optimal time to pick each parcel. As explained in the individual reviews, there is at least 40% whole cluster fruit in each wine – the amount of whole clusters depends on the quality of the clusters in each vineyard. Chaptalizaiton was minimal – 0.2-0.3º, just to extend fermentation and not to increase alcoholic strength. Malolactic fermentations generally were early, finishing by the end of January for most wines. There was an earlier racking into stainless steel than usual for most of the wines because they were supple and round and Charles did not want the oak to affect the structure.

These are extremely successful wines worthy of your full attention. (Continue reading here.)