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Ric visits Domaine Roblet-Monnot

November 5, 2018

If you have ever come across the wines of Domaine Roblet-Monnot, you would, undoubtedly, have been most impressed by its deep clear vibrant colour, freshness, concentration of fruit and overall sophistication. However, when we visited on 24 October 2018, little did I realise that this domaine is essentially a one-man garagiste operation. When you arrive at its address in Volnay, you’ll find yourself smack in the midst of a residential district with nothing around that remotely resembles a winery. But as you trudge up the short walkway, you’ll begin to see one or two stainless steel tanks at one side, along with a sorting table and several other pieces of wine-making equipment strewn about haphazardly. A little yonder is a rudimentary shelter that looks more like a mechanic’s garage which leads, amazingly, to a modest dual-chamber cellar (sited actually at ground level). The whole place is one huge untidy mess, cramped and not very clean-looking, whilst its cellar probably hasn’t been cleaned for decades and decades, judging from its damp blackened walls with cobwebs of various sizes hanging strategically from very old black wooden beams. To top it off, there is actually a resident bat (yes…eine fledermaus!) that flits between the two chambers.

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Yet, as I’d mentioned, the wines are brilliant. In spite of its garagiste setting, this domaine has been in existence since 1865, started by Pascal Roblet’s maternal great-grandfather Victor Delagrange and handed down the generations, until Pascal inherited it from his father in 1990. Based in Volnay with holdings of 6 hectares planted at high density (12,000 vines per ha), Domaine Roblet-Monnot is truly biodynamic with Pascal really doing things by the moon phases and such, along with a highly fastidious work ethic. Grapes are picked only at ideal ripeness and Pascal is prepared to walk several times down his rows of vines if ripening is uneven. Sorting takes place both at the vineyard and, again, at the sorting table. Yields are kept low at 30-35 hectolitres per hectare. To this day, some may still think that the word biodynamic is some sort of sounds-good feels-good hocus-pocus. But if this domaine’s wines are any indication, I’d say that biodynamic methods do work. The Volnays produced by this domaine can be silky and seductive, or robust and masculine. No grand crus here, but the village Saint Francois is beautiful, while the Piture 1er and Taillepieds 1er are quite outstanding. Do give them a try.

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2017 Domaine-Roblet Monnot Bourgogne Haute Cotes de Beaune Rouge. Bright red fruits amidst woody elements and twigs, displaying fine acidity and dominant saline minerals on a cleanly focused palate. Entirely from Volnay.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Pommard Les Chalines Haut 1er. Bright purple. Dominant acidic tones on the palate amidst a generous expanse of raspberries, currants and red fruits, displaying very good levels of ripeness, concentration and tight crisp acidity with plenty of energy.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Saint Francois. A blend of several Volnay vineyards, some of which are premier cru. Beautiful deep ruby. Excellent in concentration, very cleanly layered with fresh acidity with a forward robust character, showing good sophistication.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay 1er. Deeply coloured with robust intensity, well extracted, displaying notes of enamel and ripe raspberries with a distinct core of tangerines. Fleshy and structured with very well-managed silky tannins in spite of its massive proportions.

2014 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Brouillards 1er. Tasted blind. Slightly reductive, exuding earthy tones, red fruits and dark currants with an attractive funkiness. Medium-full and highly supple, underscored by strong acidity, finishing on an intense spicy note.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Brouillards 1er. Ripe dark fruits and wild berries dominate on the nose and palate. Juicy, robust and well-extracted, layered with austere fruit and minerals. Forward in balance, finishing with good intensity.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Taillepieds 1er. Dark ruby. Ample in dark plums, ripe strawberries and red fruits. Fleshy, well-integrated and lovely in concentration, structured with sweet dark tannins amidst layers of tangerines, open with attractive intensity, just a tad short.

2017 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Piture 1er. Dark in colour and tone, richly layered with delicious dark currants and black fruits. Beautifully ripe, soft and fleshy. Subtly intense with fine acidity, structured with sweet gentle tannins. Highly refined and sophisticated. Excellent.

2014 Domaine Roblet-Monnot Volnay Taillepieds 1er. Tasted blind. More evolved in colour, exuding aged apricot, honey, cinnamon and dried peaches. Medium-bodied. Soft and rounded, showing good integration of tangerines and plummy red fruits though it has begun to dry out a little.

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