The Rossignols of Volnay were linked by marriage to the Trapet family when Jacques Rossignol married Jean- Louis Trapet’s aunt, Mado. The original Trapet holdings were split when the sons of both families – David and Nicolas Rossignol and Jean-Louis Trapet – returned from their studies. In 2005, Nicolas and David began the conversion to biodynamic viticulture. The wines of today are imbued with a greater purity and concentration and the vines themselves are healthier and stronger. The vineyards were officially certified organic and biodynamic in 2008. These are classical Gevreys, approachable relatively early but in the best years, as in 2017, with admirable ageing potential.
The cellar, which is partly subterranean, was built in 1983. A row of lights around the cellar walls indicate ground level. The water table lies almost immediately beneath the cellar, perhaps explaining the 95% humidity level. The domaine does not rack the wines off their fine lees after the malolactic conversion, which is always finished by the end of November. The proportions of new oak are unchanged in 2017, at around 25% for the premiers crus and 40-50% for the grands crus. Barrels, from François Frères, Rousseau and Chassin, are given a medium-long toast and dried for 36 months.
The 2017 Vintage
The heavy frost of 2016 meant that many of the domaine’s vines were stunted and so struggled to produce fruit in 2017. The spring of 2017 was dry, hot and sunny. Shoot growth started fast, with a precocious flowering in early June. The summer conditions were equally ideal: sunny and warm, but not scorching. Some stormy episodes delivered just enough water, fortunately unaccompanied by hail!
The harvest was early, starting on 7th September. The quality of the grapes was excellent, with a good maturity level, meaning systematic sorting was not necessary. The moderate temperatures allowed a nice balance between sugar and acidity. The stalks were well seasoned and healthy, allowing an average of 50-60% whole bunches to be retained (reaching 75% for some cuvées). This is towards the upper end of the spectrum here, the norm being between a third and two thirds. In the cellar, alcoholic and malolactic fermentations were quick. As in recent vintages, no pigeage (punching down) was employed in 2017 – just pumping-over every day, resulting in what Nicolas terms an “infusion”.