Volnay 1er Cru "En Champans" 2016
The 2016 vintage, an unexpected success!
The winter was mild even too warm, without any frost or snow, which favored early budding. The Spring was wet. The cold and frost finally appeared but late April. And as we hoped for sun, it was unfortunately bad timing. After the rain, the negative temperatures of the clear night, the morning sun burned the buds through the ice which had a "magnifying glass" effect. Thus, April 26th and 27th condemned all hopes of a great harvest. The loss was considerable in some of our parcels. Multiple factors (cloud protection or not, temperatures of -1 or -6 °C, young plants, vines weakened by the hail of previous years, pruning...) explained the uneven impact frost had from a village to another, from a parcel to another.
The bad weather continued, it’s a thought rain would never stop and the mildew pressure was continuous and unprecedented. Flowering was late and spread over a period of 15 days, due to the poor weather or heterogeneity in the vineyards. This weather was a stain for our biodynamic farming. But we did not give up and we combined resiliency with efforts to stay true to our vinicultural philosophy.
At the end of June, when morale was so low, nature took over again. The sun and heat timidly arrived and settled definitely early July. Volte-face for the weather! Dry, hot and scorching days signed the end of mildew pressure! August 15th, the rain saved our vines from hydric stress and the rain falls in September allowed the grapes to resume their maturity cycle (stopped by heat and lack of water) and restore the balance acidity / sugar. We were definitely relieved when we started the harvest, on September 21st, with the sun, beautiful and healthy grapes! The smile accompanied us all the way into our vats! This difficult growing year encouraged us to take a more cautious approach in the winery. The vatting times were long, adapting the extractions to each cuvée, often using less punch-downs and more pumping over. A vinification respectful of the vintage in order to obtain wines with freshness and bright fruit. The wines show soft tannins and thanks to the natural acidity the mouth has a surprising volume with long and elegant finish.
A moderately toasty nose frames brooding and restrained aromas of various dark berries that also reflect plenty of earth characters. The exceptionally rich and attractively textured flavors possess notably firm tannins on the wood-inflected finish, indeed this could be fairly described as a robust Champans
Score: 89-92 Tasted: apr 15,2018 I Drink: 2028+ Issue: 70
Allen Meadows - Burghound