Potinet-Ampeau Volany 1er Cru 'Clos des Chenes' 2009
Volnay 1er Cru 'Clos des Chenes'. Do we need to introduce one of the best-known vineyards of this generation? Here we have that 2010 fruit, just coming into its maturity, but with lots of legs left to run. The precise, chiseled palate is generous red fruit and density. A great vineyard, in a great vintage, from Potinet-Ampeau...who know a thing or two about making wine to age.
The Domaine Potinet-Ampeau is situated in the village of Monthelie in the southern part of the Cote de Beaune, between Meursault and Volnay. The domain is one of very few remaining who have a policy of holding vintages in their own cellars to allow them to age correctly before release. For this reason we can offer you not only older vintages, but older vintages that have been perfectly stored.
BURGUNDY 2009 VINTAGE
Our earliest tastings of the 2009s were either of raw bubbling juice or, a bit later, from barrel samples that still had lots of gas in them. It's a rare vintage where winemakers will let you taste wines right after the alcoholic fermentation has finished. Wines at that stage tend to be all over the place, and only tolerant palates can cut through the mire. Last Fall however the winemakers were shoving a glass into your hand and leading a conga line through the cellars. Comparisons are being made to 2005, 1999 and even 1990, all great years; and all years where the wines were accessible right from the outset.
Vincent Rapet at Rapet Pere et Fils explained it best. All of these vintages (including the 2009) were reasonably hot growing seasons. Not so hot as to cook out acidity altogether; but hot enough that the plants started to absorb their fruit's acids. The acidity that goes first, the first to be absorbed, is malic acid. That’s the acid that usually gets transformed into lactic acid in the second, malo-lactic, fermentation. So if there’s not a lot of malic acid in the first place, the difference between the wine before and after malo is diminished, and sometimes hardly discernible. These wines are therefore charming, seemingly finished, right off the mark. What's crucial to a great vintage (in terms of balance, structure and longevity) is tartaric acid. And in 2009 (as in these other great vintages) we’re at just about ideal levels of tartaric. So as these wines were released in the bottle, we started drinking them young and lustily. Structure is not the word! Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from north to south sing with bright precise fruit.
In the whites, Chablis is honeysuckle and river rock. The whites from around the Corton mountain are suave, smoky and nutty. Further south, whites from the 'golden triangle' (Puligny, Chassagne and Meursault) are cut and distinct, and have classic balance; ideal for laying down, but juicy and charming in their youth.
The Pinots are mostly a beautiful deep, brilliant ruby. Impressive aromas of ripe red and black fruits are highlighted with spice. Complexity and depth are obvious even in youth. Good balance, round, silky tannins and rich finish.
COTE DE BEAUNE
The village of Volnay is perched on the slope of a hill, above the band of premier cru vines, high up in the Côte de Beaune. The hill itself is oriented slightly differently from the general run of the country so that the vines face south-east rather than east. Volnay has more than 50% of its appellation classified as premier cru. There have been some recent changes, and as of 2006, some of the premiers crus have been combined. Chanlin is now part of Pitures. Les Aussy is now in Le Roncet. Carelle sous la Chapelle and Carelles-Dessous have become Carelle-Dessous la Chapelle. And En l'Ormeau is now part of Les Mitans. The Volnay appellation is twinned with Volnay-Santenots, grown in neighboring Meursault on soils suited to the Pinot Noir grape.
Produced in the commune of Volnay for appellation 'Volnay' and in Meursault for Santenots 1er Cru, appellation Volnay includes 29 premiers crus.
Volnay admired for its delicacy, its juiciness and its bouquet, is always described (by the non-PC Burgundians, at least) as the most feminine of the Burgundy reds. Though some parcels produce tighter and more muscular Pinot Noir, most Volnay is known for finesse. Color ranges from ruby to garnet, and the nose is famously of violets, though with age you get the classic Burgundy Pinot secondary aromas of spice and undergrowth. But its precocious fruitiness makes it apt to be opened fairly young, especially in delicate vintages.
Oolitic limestone bears a resemblance to the reddish igneous rock porphyry found in the Morvan district. It is pink in color with pale green inclusions and overlain by banks of schist. At the top of the slope, this limestone predominates. Lower down we find white, chalky argovien limestone. Lower still are reddish bathonien limestone, pebbly and with iron content. The soils at the foot of the slope are deeper and more gravelly. Altitudes are in a relatively narrow band at 230-280 meters.
Red wines only - Pinot Noir
White wines from Chardonnay are grown in the climat of Santenots (commune of Meursault) which are entitled to the appellations Mersault 1er Cru or Meursault-Santenots, or Meursault.
Production surface area
1 hectare (ha) = 2.4 acres
206.70 ha (including 117.65 ha premier cru)
Its velvety finesse combined with aromatic intensity makes Volnay a partner for sophisticated poultry dishes, roasted and glazed, which meld with the fruit and spice aromas of the wine. Better still, especially for the premiers crus, is feathered game, stewed or slowly braised, or simply roasted. The intensity of Volnay allows it to go well with many full-flavored cheeses.
On the label, the appellations Volnay and Volnay 1er Cru may be followed by the name of a specific vineyard, known as a climat. 'Santenots' is a separate climat lying within the appellation 'Volnay' and classified as premier cru.
The following climats are classified as premier cru:
Carelle-Dessous la Chapelle
Clos de l'Audignac
Clos de la Barre
Clos de la Bousse-d'Or
Clos de la Cave des Ducs
Clos de la Chapelle
Clos de la Rougeotte
Clos des 60 Ouvrées
Clos des Chênes
Clos des Ducs
Clos du Château des Ducs
Clos du Verseuil
Frémiets - Clos de la Rougeotte
The following climats are village wines from a single vineyard, known as a lieu-dit:
Les Grands Champs
Les Grands Poisots
Les Petits Gamets
Les Petits Poisots