Volnay 1er cru "En Champans" 2008

The Vintage

The weather in 2008 was capricious with a fairly mild winter followed by a spring and summer that were essentially cool and damp, slowing the maturation of the grapes and permitting the development of rot. Additionally, at the end of August, we worried when the meteorologists predicted another week of cold and rainy weather. Then, a miracle occurred. On September 13, "la Bise", which is a cool and dry north wind, arrived, clearing the sky of clouds. It blew for about three weeks. This was exactly what was needed. There was sunshine to help the grapes achieve maturity, cold nights to preserve the grapes' acidity, and finally, a dry wind to stop and dry out the rot. We just had to wait.... Harvest began at the end of September with radiating sunshine but cool temperatures. In the end, even if the quantities are small, 2008 is a very lovely surprise, a very Burgundian vintage with aromas deriving from the late maturation and reminding us of 1978.

Tasting notes

-Bright red. Musky, sweet red fruit aromas. Fatter and fleshier than the Beaune examples, with redcurrant and tobacco flavors complicated by a whiff of gamey reduction. Like the Beaune examples, this was vinified with two-thirds whole clusters.
By Stephen TANZER

-There is a persistently drying astringency, although fresh cherry; subtle mushroom typical for this cru; and satisfying meatiness all add interest, and there is plenty of primary, tart juiciness to the finish. I would sin on the side of safety and plan on drinking this within the next 3-4 years. Etienne de Montille related having taken great pains in early September, 2008 to stave-off encroaching rot and promote ripeness, and felt that his rigorous leaf-pulling and crop-thinning – not to mention eventual triage – paid off sufficiently that he could vinify a substantial portion of the 2008 crop in his preferred manner, utilizing a high proportion of stems and whole clusters (100% in the case of this year's grand crus and top 1er Cru s). Those wines for which a point spread is indicated were all last tasted shortly before their early spring bottling as finished assemblages in tank – whence they had been racked at the end of 2009 because de Montille did not think their fruit density or lees quality would have supported longer barrel-elevage. (Despite my longstanding predilection for de Montille and his wines, I regret to report that time and circumstance conspired to keep me from tasting his 2007s.) - Drink 2010 - 2014
Review by David Schildknecht - Wine Advocate # 189 (Jun 2010)

-A discreetly floral nose speaks of red currant and blue pinot fruit that marries into delicious, round and sappy middle weight flavors that culminate in a mildly tangy and austere finish that seems to lack the last little bit of phenolic ripeness. To be clear, there is no dryness but there is a touch of youthful asperity.  Allen Meadows