Part 2: Clos des Langres Rouge 2011 Monopole
The chateau of Domaine d’Ardhuy is surrounded by a walled garden, filled with Pinot Noir vines, called the Clos des Langres. I visited the Clos des Langres in March this year, and this is part two of my review, on the Clos des Langres Rouge 2011 Monopole.
The Clos des Langres is filled with Pinot Noir, with the exception of two rows of Chardonnay. Emma Barbier, Marketing Manager, informed me that some time ago vineyard managers noticed that two rows in the eastern corner of the vineyard did not grow as well as others. This row constantly produced smaller and less flavourful grapes. After a bit of investigation, it was realised that a vein of minerally limestone ran under those two rows only, from the ridgeline formed during the formation of the Hill of Corton. Of course, millions of years ago, the flow of water (and the dropping of minerals and fossils) along the Côte de Beaune was much different.
Inside the tasting room, Emma set out an array of Domaine wines for tasting. You can read my review of the Corton Hautes Mourottes Grand Cru 2009 here. The Clos des Langres is a different proposition, but no less illustrious in history. Originally harvested and grown by monks (as most vineyards were here), it has been recognised since the 19th century as a place of grapes of the highest quality. When the AOC system was introduced, Corgoloin (where the Domaine is located) refused to pay the entry fees for the AOC (much the same as Fixin, until recently), and so has no real appellation.
Recently biodynamic principles have been introduced into the vineyard and the effects of these changes are yet to be fully assessed. But certainly, less human interference in all facets of the winemaking process is crucial. Grapes are only punched down during fermentation for extraction. 30% new oak for one year, and the wine is unfined and goes through minimal filtration.
2011 is widely reported as another in a series of fine vintages for Burgundy, despite yielding 11.5% less than 2009 and 13.5% more than 2010. Generally, according to Clive Coates, the reds are more hailed than the whites (a good write-up available here http://www.clive-coates.com/news/2011-vintage). When I tasted this wine, it was definitely intriguing. I have said a few times that my new world wine exposure has left me a little in the wilderness when tasting Burgundies, and even more adrift when tasting biodynamic Burgundy. But here goes!
A beautiful shimmering red colour, with red and black fruits intense on the nose. Rather significant presence of vanilla from the oak, which is strange considering it was only 30% new. I found the wine a different beast completely to the Corton Hautes Mourottes of my first tasting. Not as complex, and yet rather more intriguing. I wanted to put this wine down as a good drinker but not outstanding, yet it held on. Of all the wines in the tasting, I considered this to be the hardest to put my thumb on. Perhaps it was my contact with the vineyard and the vines that made it harder to get a grip on just what this wine was all about. Leather and a furry presence on the mid-palate too, great with game dishes. It’s kind of rustic, in a way that always bring your mind back to Burgundy. This wine will live a long life. 90 points.
Good drinking to you,