Yvon Clerget Volnay Premier Cru Les Santenots 2018

£59.99

“The 2018 Volnay Les Santenots 1er Cru comes from the lieu-dit of Les Santenots-Dessous and is completely de-stemmed and matured in 20% new oak. It has a slightly earthy and more introspective bouquet compared to Clerget’s other 2018 Volnays, but no less compelling; lovely, pure mulberry aromas almost reluctantly unfurl with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent tannins and a fine line of acidity. Quite strict and linear toward the Pommard-like finish, which delivers wonderful tension and good length. Cellar this for three or four years, because there is great potential. Drinking window: 2023-2040. 91-93 points

I had heard a lot about winemaker Thibault Clerget in recent years, though this was the first time that I visited his winery in Pommard. The winery here actually belonged to his great uncle, Felix Clerget, and Yves prefers making his wines here instead of his father’s winery in Volnay. I can understand why. It is a slightly shabby but pretty, quite atmospheric winery decorated with statues of St. Vincent and a beautiful double wooden door, carved in the 1950s by an ancestor, a tableau depicting various winemaking scenes. “The first generation of the Clerget family to make wine was in 1268,” Clerget told me. “I am the 28th generation. The last vintage of my father was 2009 and in 2010 and 2014 he sold the grapes to other domaines. I came back to the domaine in 2015 after studying at the Lycée Viticole, at Geisen in New Zealand, with Charles Van Canneyt (at Hudelot-Noëllat) for two years and at Drouhin in Oregon. There are currently six hectares of the domaine with one white under my négoce label.” I asked about the tenets he applies. He told me: “We need to distinguish the terroirs. I focus on small yields, 30-to 35-hl/ha is the best, using less treatments in the vineyard. However I don’t look for any certification. All the 2018s were racked one month ago and will be bottled in January, the élevage 12 months in barrel and 4 months in tank. I am using the Chassin cooperage for the whites and for the reds, Tremeaux and Rousseau.” I absolutely adored Clerget’s 2018s. I would go as far to say that here I found some of the finest expressions of Volnay, wines surfeit with purity, terroir expression, vibrant fruit and at times, quite ethereal levels of precision – remarkable given the type of growing season. Some of the cuvées are very limited in production, down to a barrel in a couple of cases, but do whatever you can to get hold of one. Who’s to bet against Yves Clerget’s name ranking alongside the likes of Lafarge in the future? Maybe it already does.”

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/20)

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