On my last day in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, I visited Domaine d’Ardhuy, a family-owned property of 104 acres, including the 7.5-acre Clos des Langres surrounding the ancient press house. The domaine is managed by Carel Voorhuis, who joined d’Ardhuy in 2002 and made his first wines there from the 2003 harvest.
Voorhuis’ very first vintage was 1992 at his father’s estate in the Jura. He studied at Beaune and Dijon and has worked in Australia and southwest France as well as at the Association Technique Viticole de Bourgogne (ATVB) a vineyard research organization in Beaune.
D’Ardhuy’s holdings consist of some old-vine parcels and mass selection. Voorhuis worked hard to improve the quality in the vineyards by green harvesting and planting cover crops to reduce vigor in the Clos des Langres. Though only a Côte de Nuits Villages, the Clos (seen in the video below) is the flagship of the domaine and regarded as a premier cru.
In 2007, Voorhuis continued his experimentation with whole-cluster fermentations, a style of vinification he began with the 2006 harvest. “I really feel that [whole cluster] allows for more elegant wines, more complexity and flavors," he said. "They age very well too."
The 2007s were in various stages of malolactic fermentation: Some had finished; others were full of gas. Those that had completed the conversion showed good fruit definition and richness, like the dark, brooding Pommard Les Fremiers and the pure, black cherry-laced Nuits-St.-Georges. The Côte de Nuits-Villages Clos des Langres from whole cluster was perfumed, supple and velvety, with a spicy character; the destemmed version was bigger and richer, but less interesting at this stage and the tannins were harder.
The Corton Clos du Roi showed ample flesh and a chocolate note, while the Clos de Vougeot was dark with cocoa, spice and blackberry flavors.
From 2006, I was impressed with the Volnay Les Chanlins for its fragrance, elegance, wild blackberry and mineral notes (88-91, non-blind). The Corton Renardes also displayed an elegant frame, with sweet fruit and spice flavors (89-92, non-blind). The Corton Clos du Roi was less aromatic, but more powerful than the Renardes, offering rich black cherry and blackberry notes (90-93, non-blind).
The Clos des Langres, a serious Côte de Nuits-Villages, exhibited sumptuous blackberry, spice and licorice flavors (87-90, non-blind). The Vosne-Romanée Les Chaumes was round and inviting, with a silky backdrop for the cherry, spice and berry notes. The Clos de Vougeot was made entirely from whole clusters. Very fragrant, with exotic, East Indian spice aromas, floral, red and black fruit flavors, it revealed finesse and detail, with underlying power (90-93, non-blind).
My afternoon visit was to Jean-Claude Boisset, where Gregory Patriat is making some excellent wines from purchased grapes. Most of the 2007 whites and a few of the reds had already been racked from barrel into tank. Patriat began the harvest Sept. 10. “If you harvested earlier, the grapes were too green,” he said.
Patriat made some tasty whites in ’07, notably the racy Puligny-Montrachet Les Charmes, rich Meursault Aux Cras and for the first time in the cellar, there was a stylish, mineral-flavored Meursault Genevrières.
Among the reds, there was a round, concentrated cherry-flavored Savigny-lès-Beaune La Dominode from vines planted in 1903 and an elegant Nuits-St.-Georges Aux Lavières which offered pure blackberry notes on a velvety texture.
Patriat changed the trellis system in the parcel of Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes he purchases to get better balance in the vines and riper grapes. It was full of chocolate and black cherry notes and fine tannins. The Vosne-Romanée Les Jacquines showed even greater refinement, boasting red fruits, flowers and spices on an elegant frame.
I gave a slight edge at this stage to the Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers, a rich, dense red with chocolate, tobacco and spice flavors than the more austere, tannic Lavaut St.-Jacques. The Charmes-Chambertin, from 70-year-old vines had just been racked that day, yet showed rich blackberry and blueberry fruit.
The previous evening I had dinner with Patriat and others from the Boisset/Vougeraie/Jaffelin team. He brought the Clos de la Roche 2002, the first vintage in which he had control from start to finish (he was hired in 2001). It was a beauty, very pure with intense cherry and mineral flavors and fine balance and length (93 points, non-blind). It had barely budged from its youthful, primary fruit and appeared to be aging at a glacial pace. If you have this in your cellar, be patient.
Douglas Brininstool — Portland, OR — July 11, 2008 2:27pm ET
Peter Smit — Saint John, NB, Canada — July 14, 2008 3:19pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — July 16, 2008 2:27pm ET
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