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Average critic rating : 90.0 points
The 2013 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes has a more introspective bouquet compared to others that I have tasted: strawberry pastilles and a smear of maraschino eventually emerging. The palate is medium-bodied and quite succulent on the mouth, belying the structure that only surfaces toward the finish. This is a somehow conservative Volnay, but one that is very well proportioned and should drink well for the next decade. ||Céline Gagnard managed to find time in her busy schedule to see me. She is presently handling two newborns: her 2014 vintage and more importantly her baby. Céline’s no nonsense views, her passion, candor and that rare commodity, humor, always make this one of the most enjoyable visits. We exchanged my own misguided parenting tips for her refreshingly candid experience of the 2013 vintage. “It was important to control the botrytis, especially for the whites,” she began. “Each year we apply three treatments (culture raisonée) and this made a difference compared to some of our neighbors that only did two treatments during the season. In May, I was stressed. It is a period when you had a big mildew pressure and you risk losing many grapes. We went into Beaune and queued up to be on the list for the helicopter [in order to spray the vines against rot]. Fortunately, Chassagne was the first on the list. We hanged the bags on our rows to be sprayed but finally we decided to hand spray the vines ourselves. My father could do a few plots at the top [of the slope] by tractor but not the lower reaches. During two days four men sprayed 8 hectares and my father bought them a picnic. They lost 7kg and 10kg in weight in a single month! Every morning I could see another tractor stuck on the mud. We did a bit of effeuillage…that also helped. For 2013, we harvested 28 September and over the next seven days. We were very happy when we finished the harvest as the production was around the same quantity as 2011, except for Volnay and Pommard.” When I visited in late November, the reds were still in barrel while all the whites had been bottled. There are really splendid wines at this address. As I have mentioned in recent reports they tend to be a little weightier in style due to the higher use of new oak, although it is well managed and rarely dominates the wine. I would hone in on their top Premier Cru vineyards in Chassagne such as Ruchottes, Morgeot and La Grande Montagne. If you can find their Grand Crus then congratulations: they are outstanding, but made in tiny amounts. The reds are also worth looking out for. While they suffered a little on the plain, the Volnay Clos des Chêne is an absolute peach. eRobertParker.com.December, 2014
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