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Ric visits Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux

November 20, 2018

If the name Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux has a familiar ring to it, that’s probably because you must have come across its predecessor Domaine Robert Arnoux. Established in 1858 in Vosne-Romanee, the latter made a wide range of wines from the Cote-de-Nuits without being quite remarkable. Things changed in 1995 when Robert Arnoux (not to be confused with the actor), himself a fourth generation winemaker at the domaine bearing his name, passed the reins over to his son-in-law Pascal Lachaux who began instituting certain changes: 100% de-stemming, lower yields, ploughing and more new oak.

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Charles Lachaux

Quality soared, enabling the domaine to expand its holdings to almost 15 hectares of choice parcels, the last addition being Latricieres-Chambertin in 2008. That same year, the domaine’s name was changed to Arnoux-Lachaux. In 2011, Pascal’s son Charles joined the fray, the 2012 vintage being the first to be vinified under his charge. Interestingly, Charles has reverted to fermentation using 80% whole bunches and restricted the usage of new oak to 15% for village, 25% for premier cru and up to 40% for grand cru, with periods of elevage ranging between 12 and 18 months. When we visited on the morning of 22 October 2018, Charles Lachaux himself took us through a lengthy tasting of the domaine’s 2017 from barrel, racked just three days prior and ready for bottling in another couple of months. I found the wines to be highly supple, delicate, fresh and elegant, free of heaviness and over-extraction even in the heavyweights of Vosne-Romanee. The visit culminated in a 2016 Vosne-Romanee and a 2015 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Proces 1er, both blinded, that blew our socks off. Under Charles’ watch, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux is clearly enjoying a further Renaissance. The wines represent outstanding value. They are not to be under-estimated in any way. Merci, Charles.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Bourgogne. Lovely rosy hue with a gentle fragrance. Good concentration and presence, layered with gentle earthy tones, subtle in intensity. Very agreeable.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges. Correct pinot tint. Lovely floral fragrance. Medium-bodied. Soft, rounded and supple.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Chambolle-Musigny. Gentle rosy hues with further notes of camphor and rose petals. Supple with fine acidity and lovely gentle intensity. Doesn’t quite carry the usual weight of Chambolle.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Beaune. Lovely aromatics. Gentle, clean and delicious. Fine supple presence tinged with earth. Well balanced and proportioned without any of the burliness that sometimes accompanies Beaune.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee Les Hautes Maizieres. Deeper nose of ripe black berries and dark cherries, most appropriate for Vosne-Romanee. Highly supple with very fine presence and balance, striking a feminine delicacy with gentle rosy characters. Drinking well.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Poisets. Ripe supple rosy notes lit with lithe earthy tones on a clean lean palate, rather delicate.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Proces 1er. Deeper aromas of strawberries and light cherries, showing good weight and density of fruit with good vigour and intensity. Very fine.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 1er. Shy. Very fine concentration and depth of fruit, displaying very good intensity and layering within a medium-bodied frame. Well-integrated, brimming with quiet vibrancy. Very fine.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Corvees Pagets 1er. Lovely perfumed fragrance, completing well a brighter warmer palate of light red fruits, showing very good levels of ripeness and suppleness.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Glorious color and purity. Rounded and fleshy, displaying excellent presence and integration with very finely detailed tannins. Understated in intensity but vibrant in a feminine way. Attractive.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Echezeaux Grand Cru. Good color. Good purity and expression with excellent sense of depth. Layered with a deeper vein of fruit, showing fine acidity with understated structure and intensity. Vibrant yet delicate. Quite excellent.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru. Opaque pinot tint, exuding lovely fresh floral tones with very fine presence and concentration. More plummy with saline minerals, finishing with racy mouth-tingling acidity. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee Les Suchots 1er. Good color. Deep bouquet of bright red fruits and currants. Excellent in ripeness and concentration with finely nuanced acidity, quite seamless. Vibrant. Excellent.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee Aux Reignots 1er. Beautiful deep note of ripe blueberries, red fruits and currants. Very fresh. Highly supple with an unique vein of deeper fruit with seamless integration of fine acidity, displaying subtle intensity with plenty of quiet energy. Quite excellent.

2017 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru. Some attractive early complexity on the nose, predominantly red fruits with the glow of tangerines. Superb in concentration, well-layered with supple intensity, carrying tremendous energy yet imbued with lovely elegance. Excellent.

2016 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Vosne-Romanee. Tasted blind. Glorious color. Tremendous verve, concentration and intensity of ripe red fruits and dark plums. Highly generous, caressing the palate with fabulous purity and elegance, finishing well. Superb.

2015 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Proces 1er. Tasted blind. Glorious colour with a deep complex bouquet of ripe red fruits and red plums. Cleanly focused with excellent concentration, displaying unprecedented level of richness with well-resolved tannins, finishing with good length. Excellent.

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