Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes 2016


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“The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes comprises only older, 80-year-old vines that were whole bunch, around one-third of the blend, and the younger vines that were destemmed. It has quite a spicy nose with hints of Moroccan spices filtering through the red and black fruit and hints of sandalwood and sage. The palate is very poised on the entry with fine but firm tannin that lends it a Pommard-like personality. I like the salinity of this Volnay that gets the saliva glands flowing, crisp with an oyster shell finish that is not persistent but just very precise. It just needs a little more finesse to develop with time. Drink: 2020-2035. 90-92 points

“We lost between 70% and 80% of volume in 2016 because of the frost,” Thierry Glantenay tells me as we taste in his house above the winery, a view of the panorama across the Jura and the Alps beyond obscured by winter mist. This is a winemaker who has been through so much in recent years, and yet he never lets it get to his equanimous personality. “In Volnay Brouillauds, where we have a hectare, we cropped nothing. We made a Volnay Village that includes one-third of the premier cru fruit from Brouillards, Les Lurets and L’Ormeau, and the rest comprises the village cru. For the Bourgogne Rouge there are just three barrels, whereas in 2017 there are 21. Fortunately some crus suffered less such as Volnay Caillerets and Pommard Rugiens. At the beginning there was serious mildew pressure but the weather became warm and dry and limited the attack. I am 80% organic but I used treatments around the time of flowering to make sure I had some crop. It was difficult for the morale working in the vines. We started the picking on 23 September and then picked over six days. The average yield was around 13 hectoliters per hectare although fortunately the major loss was with the generic red Burgundy instead of the premier crus. The vinification was normal. We did not have a lot of second-generation grapes when we went through the vineyard again one week later, but the first-generation grapes were very healthy, with good maturity. I did less whole bunch addition in 2016 than in 2015 because I did not want to take the risk with stems that might not be fully lignified.” Following Glantenay for several years now, I have always liked their approach to winemaking. It is such a pity that they have been scuppered by hail and now frost, yet there are always excellent wines to be found and 2016 is no different, particularly two of the surviving Volnay premier crus, Santenots and Caillerets. Fortunately his 2017 is more plentiful, Thierry mentioning that instead of the 9,000 bottles the domaine produced in 2016 there are almost 30,000 in 2017. Then again, that just illuminates the dearth of wines this year so grab what you can.”

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (234)