Volnay 1er cru "En Carelle Sous Chapelle" 2011

The vintage

We harvested from the 27th of August through the 8th of September.

2011 was a truly beautiful vintage with a succesful combination of a vintage like 2007 (low alcohol, high acidity, very good phenolic maturity with still-crunchy fruits) and a vintage with more substance and sappiness like 2009. The alcohol levels are low, generally around 12.5%, and the acidities are high without sticking out. If we had to choose a few adjectives to characterize this vintage, these would be the ones : freshness, energy, transparency, fluidity, balance and harmony.

The aromas are very fresh and crunchy with red fruits (raspberry, strawberry and red currant) with touches of spices (cinnamon and cardamom) and flowers (peony and poppy), especially in wines vinified with whole clusters. Transparency is another important quality of the vintage with the clear expression of the terroirs – more so than in the three prior vintages – with plenty of nuance and detail.

As is often the case, the wines surprised us and the quality of their tannins is well beyond what we expected given the results of the analyses of sugar, acidity and maturity. The mouthfeels are long and seductive with bright tannins that are well-integrated with the fruit, giving absolutely no astringence. The texture is fine and vibrant with a fluid development on the palate that gives a sensation of energy along with excellent persistance on the finish.

During the harvest, we had a good feeling about the quality and maturity of the tannins, which gave us the confidence to work with whole clusters. The following cuvées included two-thirds whole clusters: Volnay Mitans, Pommard Pézerolles and Pommard Rugiens. For Volnay Taillepieds, Nuits-St-Georges Les Thorey, Corton Clos du Roi, Clos-Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts and Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts Christiane, 100% whole clusters were used.

Most, such as the Beaune Premier Crus, will be ready to drink between 2015 and 2020, but the others (Volnay, Pommard, Corton and the Côte de Nuits cuvées) will age very well and can wait until 2025 or 2030. They will be magnificent bottles.