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THE DOMAINE

Biodynamic since 1996, Domaine Michel Lafarge is a cherished Volnay address, now run by Frédéric and Chantal Lafarge and their daughter Clothilde Lafarge.

Domaine Lafarge En Primeur 2020

Frédéric has been at the domaine since 1978, taking over fully following the death of his father, Michel Lafarge, in January 2020. Clothilde joined in 2018.

The Clos du Château des Ducs was bought in 1900 by Michel Lafarge’s father. The first wines bottled at the domaine in 1934 included Clos des Chênes, the domaine’s largest Volnay premier cru holding.

The Pinot Noir is 100% destemmed – by hand once again in 2020, in the case of the premiers crus Mitans, Caillerets and Clos du Château des Ducs. The 2020 harvest here started on 22nd August, the earliest ever at the domaine.

Please note that the wines of Domaine Michel Lafarge will be allocated.

THE WINES

Domaine Lafarge En Primeur 2020

THE 2020 VINTAGE AT DOMAINE MICHEL LAFARGE

Yields in 2020 were surprisingly good, coming in at 35-40hl/ha for the reds: a positive sign of the resilience of biodynamic vineyard management perhaps.

When I asked Frédéric Lafarge whether a previous vintage with similar characteristics came to mind, he suggested 1990 – a year that was less warm than 2020 but similarly early, and in which very clear terroir distinctions were visible.

BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ RAISINS DORÉS

This comes from a parcel of 85-year-old vines of Aligoté doré, the superior Aligoté clone. Bright orchard fruit aromas. Lovely fresh acidity and crunchy green apple on the palate, with white flower perfume. Harvested 16th-17th September.

Corney & Barrow Score 17+
Recommended drinking from 2022–2025


£95/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

MEURSAULT

This comes from three parcels in the south of the village. Chalky-mineral and fine, with bright white peach fruit and that luminosity which is a hallmark of the Lafarge wines. Very fresh and linear – as Frédéric says, there is absolutely no stamp of a “solar” vintage here.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5
Recommended drinking from 2023–2025


£205/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

MEURSAULT VENDANGES SÉLECTIONNÉES

This comes from two parcels of 70-75 year-old vines in the northern part of the village, beneath Santenots du Milieu. The domaine has one hectare of Meursault in total. A luminous wine, full of life and energy, with white peach fruit and a steely backbone of concentrated acidity. This will age beautifully, revealing more and more of its nervy terroir definition. No new oak.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5
Recommended drinking from 2023–2026+


£225/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

BEAUNE BLANC 1ER CRU CLOS DES AIGROTS

The domaine’s holdings in premier cru Clos des Aigrots, from which both a white and a red are made, date back to 2005. This is the upper part of Aigrots, planted with 35 year-old vines. Bright white pear and peach fruit, with a spicy piquancy and a pleasing cedary depth. A vertical press has been used for this cuvée since 2017, which Frédéric Lafarge feels gives more purity and better filtration of the wine through the ‘cake’ of berries. 10% new oak.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5
Recommended drinking from 2023–2026


£320/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK
Domaine Lafarge En Primeur 2020

THE 2020 VINTAGE AT DOMAINE MICHEL LAFARGE

Yields in 2020 were surprisingly good, coming in at 35-40hl/ha for the reds: a positive sign of the resilience of biodynamic vineyard management perhaps.

When I asked Frédéric Lafarge whether a previous vintage with similar characteristics came to mind, he suggested 1990 – a year that was less warm than 2020 but similarly early, and in which very clear terroir distinctions were visible.

BOURGOGNE PASSETOUTGRAIN L’EXCEPTION

This is 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Gamay, inter-planted, from 1.2 hectares of vines close to the Route Nationale just below the village of Meursault. The two varieties tend to reach maturity at the same time. These are very old vines – 92 years old. Brightly raspberry-fruited and with supple tannins coaxing the mid-palate, you can (rather fancifully perhaps?) feel the biodynamic energy here. Aged in used oak barrels.

Corney & Barrow Score 17
Recommended drinking from 2023–2027


£100/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR

The domaine’s Bourgogne Pinot Noir comes from four low-lying plots of vines between the village of Volnay and the main road. Bright crunchy raspberry, with crystalline purity. Luminous fruit, with a fresh acid backbone. Aged in old oak barrels.

Corney & Barrow Score 17
Recommended drinking from 2023–2028


£110/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

BEAUNE 1ER CRU CLOS DES AIGROTS

The domaine has a plot of nearly 50 year-old vines in 1er Cru Aigrots. Small, dark berries, with bosky, wintery flavours. In both its red and white incarnations, Aigrots is an intensely mineral wine, which comes through here in a fine chalky textured palate. 15% new oak rounds out the palate nicely, this being the maximum at the domaine.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5
Recommended drinking from 2025–2035


£320/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

BEAUNE 1ER CRU GRÈVES

The vines here were planted in 1921: they are the oldest at the domaine but still perfectly healthy. They lie at the heart of this gravelly vineyard, a part of which was replanted in 2017, having been grubbed up in 2014. Deeper, more assertive dark-berried flavours here, with a finely detailed chalky minerality and plushly fruit coated tannins. A wine of complexity and subtlety, from what Frédéric Lafarge reminds us is the greatest terroir of Beaune. 15% new oak.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5-18
Recommended drinking from 2023–2028


£365/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY

This comes from four lower-lying parcels, located at opposite sides of the appellation (three in the north and one in the south), totalling 1.5 hectares. As Frédéric Lafarge explains it, the aim is to give an overview of Volnay. Svelte, silky aromas of roses and violets. Unmistakeably Volnay, with sensual fruit-coated tannins allowing blueberry perfume to linger on the finish.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5
Recommended drinking from 2023–2028


£240/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY VENDANGES SÉLECTIONNÉES

From four parcels, all sited just below the line of Volnay premiers crus, one hectare in total. A step up in concentration and bright raspberry-fruited intensity, with very fine, fruit-coated tannins guiding the palate through to a finely textured finish of lavender and violet perfume. 35 barrels were made in 2020. 10% new oak.

Corney & Barrow Score 18
Recommended drinking from 2023–2029


£270/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY 1ER CRU LES MITANS

Mitans is a perfectly located vineyard, below the village, at the same position on the slope as Champans and Caillerets to the south. It is, as Frédéric Lafarge says, “the Volnay that we all imagine – finely perfumed, with power and tannic presence in the mouth.” Dark, peppery aromas, with a deeply-fruited palate, framed by beautifully detailed tannins. A wine of clarity and elegance, with soaring rose and violet aromatics. 15% new oak. Hand-destemmed.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5-18
Recommended drinking from 2023–2028


£560/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY 1ER CRU LES PITURES

The domaine has a 0.17 hectare holding in Pitures. The climat Pitures Dessus borders Pommard to the north-east and Domaine Marquis d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs to the south-west. It has whiter (chalkier) soil, resulting in firm tannins. Compared to Mitans, this has more volume and fruit intensity here – a Volnay with Pommard-esque leanings (no bad thing in 2020, in which Pommard has performed brilliantly). 15% new oak. Since 2015, this has all been bottled in magnum.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5+
Recommended drinking from 2023–2029


£565/CASE OF 3 MAGNUMS, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY 1ER CRU LES CAILLERETS

Caillerets offers the most mineral-driven expression of Volnay. Half of this has been replanted and so is currently out of production, meaning there was just one barrel of this in 2020. Very pure, translucent raspberry fruit, with a stony sense of minerality. Here, more than ever, you have a direct channel to this great vineyard’s terroir. 15% new oak. Hand-destemmed.

Corney & Barrow Score 17.5-18
Recommended drinking from 2023–2028


£555/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY 1ER CRU CLOS DES CHÊNES

In many ways the quintessential wine of the domaine, Clos des Chênes is the most forceful and assertive of the premiers crus. It is a large vineyard (nearly 16 hectares in total), to the south of Taillepieds. Aromas of cool, focused raspberry and wild strawberry fruit. The palate has an extra dimension, a notch more power and drive, which carries the rich red-berried fruit through to a strident finish. 15% new oak.

Corney & Barrow Score 18
Recommended drinking from 2027–2037


£610/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

VOLNAY 1ER CRU CLOS DU CHÂTEAU DES DUCS

The Monopole Clos du Château des Ducs is immediately behind the domaine, encroaching on the village as you look at it on a map. Rich and supple, with inky blackberry fruit and joyously bright raspberry. More aroma than liquid, this is a wine which fills your mouth with perfume. Transparent (a word I write here more than anywhere else, it seems), with lattice-like tannins. 15% new oak. As in previous years, this was hand-destemmed, by family and friends of the Lafarges.

Corney & Barrow Score 18.5
Recommended drinking from 2026–2039


£740/CASE OF 6 BOTTLES, IN BOND UK

TO ORDER

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