August 10, 2018
A dinner with d’Angerville
Each Spring, ordinarily in March the two joint agents for Domaine Marquis d’Angerville get together and host a tasting and lunch to launch and present the most recent vintage, in this case the 2016. Guillaume d’Angerville always comes from Burgundy having sent the wines ahead. It is a serious yet relaxing way of sampling and discussing this great domaine. You can read our write-up of the previous vintage here. Those assembled are either from the wine press or top restaurants and it always makes for a nice melting pot of views and opinion.
The venue is always important and this year it was a great pleasure to host this at Sketch restaurant were we were very well looked after by Fred, Jennifer and the team.
So let’s get straight to it. I won’t go over the 2016 conditions in much detail suffice to say it was, due to frost on two days/nights in April, a tricky season for quantity. The Meursault was actually not released as there was just 2 barrels not the “usual” 20. The fruit that would have made a Volnay Villages was classified to Bourgogne Rouge and what would have been Clos des Angles was in such short supply that it was included in the Volnay 1er Cru. All of these measures just reflect the totally uncompromising commitment that this estate has to quality at all costs. The only good news was that Clos des Ducs was not to heavily affected. The “cold air went down hill” as Guillaume put it. Post frost the season was “kind of ok” and largely without further incident.
Volnay 1er Cru 2016 – Ripe berry fruit, delicious, a creamy yet cranberry freshness to the wine. There is a density of concentration, albeit elegantly, that I don’t tend to associate with the 1er Cru. Bravo.
Volnay 1er Cru Fremiet 2016 – Finer with more obvious focus, very precise, leaner but somehow not meaner. Has a drier texture to the structure. This is impressive, quite serious.
Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets 2016 – Really beautiful nose, opulent and creamy, special, I drank this, I just couldn’t not. A dash of spice and deeper, slightly darker fruit.
Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds 2016 – A really fresh yet raisined quality which I guess means concentration. So sweetly ripe, almost with a hint of cassis. Very bold for Volnay but totally correct.
Volnay 1er Cru Champans 2016 – Delightful crunch and focus here, cranberry and red fruits. Velvet texture but at the same time a lovely acidity. I am always such a fan of this wine.
Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 2016 – A very real completeness to this wine, a real harmony, it is showing well but is more about texture and balanced component parts right now that fruit per se. It has zip and life as well as depth and some clout, special.
From the tasting via a glass of the ever impressive Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV to luncheon. The lunch over the years has always been themed, either a vintage, a Cru or pairs of wines. We went with a dual theme 1996 & 2009 and Champans & Clos des Ducs.
“The best vintage since 1990” was how Guillaume d’Angerville introduced the Volnay 1er Cru Champans 1996 from magnum and Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 1996. He also commented that the Champans 1996 was served at him and his wife’s 20th wedding anniversary. I found both sinew and juiciness in the Champans which is an odd, yet welcome, combination. There is a certain properness and even a strict character (found in 1996s from many regions in my view). The fruit though is red and pretty. Perfect now. The “Ducs” was more saline, again red fruited, so moreish, good but not overpowering richness too. The maturity a shade more evolved but that was due to bottle vs magnum I think. Really good. Steven Spurrier commented that there was “both youth and maturity in the Ducs” – I get that.
As the food and conversation flowed we moved from the correctness of 1996 to the more hedonistic tendencies of 2009. Volnay 1er Cru Champans 2009 & Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs 2009 specifically. The nose on the Champans is overtly delicious and expressive (a characteristic I associate with this Cru). There is structure of course but it is subservient to the fruit. “Ducs” does have the saline again but a layer of fruited freshness on top and a savoury element also. A very complete wine that will repay patience in spades.
With the cheese we had Meursault 1er Cru Santenots 2015 – I thought it really superb, brine and open fruits, lime more than anything, a tiny bit of grip and some toasted texture, very promising indeed. The 2013 of this wine that I had recently was something of a star and 2013 was not easy for whites.
The estate’s Eau-de-Vie de Marc de Bourgogne (which I had never had before) rounded of the very fine meal.
Another illustration of just how great this estate is. It has taken me far too long to write this up but then I have the advantage now of not waiting too long for the 2017 d’Angerville vintage edition!