- Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France
Every year there is a domaine that excites more than any other, a new name that seems to sparkle that much brighter, someone who intuition tells you is about to hit the big time. I experienced this feeling when Maxime Chuerlin took the reins at domaine Georges Noëllat, when Amélie Berthaut took over Domaine Denis Berthaut and when I first visited Pierre Duroché... This was a deeply impressive showing of 2017s where you can easily see the influence of Lalou Bize-Leroy. There is immense purity and panache, the use of whole bunches assiduous and carefully managed. The shorter maceration period means that Lachaux has to be prudent with respect to the percentage of whole bunch, so as not to obscure vineyard expression. He certainly achieved that this year with a raft of really fabulous, quite intellectual yet delicious wines. The good news is that the quality is evident throughout the range. Why not pick up a case of 2017 Bourgogne Pinot Fin to experience Lachaux’s style first-hand? Otherwise, seek out the stunning Vosne-Romanée Aux Reignots or les Suchots, maybe one of the best Clos Vougeots of the vintage, or the sublime Latricières-Chambertin. - Neal Martin, Vinous.
Charles Lachaux, Pascal’s son, took over from his father in 2012. At Bowler, we’ve always been impressed when tasting at Arnoux-Lachaux and the wines have reached new heights since Charles joined his father. Today, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux has 14.5 hectares some of the most prized vineyards in Vosne-Romanée and equally high-quality vineyards in Nuits-Saint-Georges. The vines average fifty years old and the oldest, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Corvées Pagets, were planted in 1921. In 2010, Pascal purchased a vertical press, making Arnoux-Lachaux one of just a handful of wineries using this type of press in Burgundy. They prefer it to a pneumatic press because it presses very gently and extracts less. In 2012, Charles’s first year, they introduced some partial whole-cluster fermentation and pleased with the results, they used a higher proportion of whole-clusters each year since. Today, the wines are made with up to 100% whole cluster. The amount of new oak has been reduced since 2012 as well: up to 10% on village wines, 20% on premier cru and a maximum of 30% on grand cru.
Lachaux is also changing how he is working in the vineyards and is touching each vine. The vineyards are in conversion to biodynamic agriculture. He's replanting vines very densely at 20,000 vines per hectare in certain parcels. In half of the vineyards, inspired by Lalou Bize-Leroy, he has stopped hedging his vines. This allows for more photosynthesis, getting more energy to each grape. It takes twice as long and four times the number of workers for this canopy management, but the results are worth it. The wines have an incredible energy, and elegance, and are some of the best expressions of Vosne and Nuits available.