Why is this Wine so Yummy?
About Domaine de l’Arlot
Domaine de l’Arlot, with its hillside vineyards and 19th century gardens, has what many consider to be the most beautiful estate in Burgundy. Since the late 1980s this producer has also been responsible for some of the prettiest red Burgundies going around. The perfume, silkiness and flickering clarity of these wines is born of the l’Arlot vineyards, and the Prémeaux terroir in general. Prémeaux has always stood apart from the rest of Nuits-Saint-Georges and made wines that are altogether more fine and elegant than those produced further North, around the town itself. L’Arlot brings the finesse of this terroir to the fore with their approach to wine growing and élevage. Biodynamic farming, perfect, well-sorted fruit, gentle extraction and whole bunch use, all play their part. Every step, from vineyard to bottle, is tailored to underline purity and finesse.
2014 was Jacques Devauges’s last year as winemaker, (before he was headhunted by the great Sylvain Pitiot for the role of Clos du Tart’s new régisseur), and Géraldine Godot’s first. The pair worked together at harvest time, with Géraldine assuming control over the élevage prior to bottling. To her credit, Godot refuses to accept any plaudits for the quality of Arlot’s ’14 wines. The plaudits can wait. The energy and dynamism Géraldine Godot is bringing to Domaine de l’Arlot is palpable.
“This was an impressive set of wines, less flamboyant and fruit driven than the previous vintage, more linear and structured with graphite notes often cropping up on the finish. The Clos des Fôrets is among the best within the appellation… Also keep an eye on the excellent whites, especially the La Gerbotte Blanc that should represent great value.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
Vintage 2016 for Domaine de l’Arlot
The 2016 harvest was again a shocker for frost damage. It was Géraldine Godot’s second vintage at l’Arlot and it could hardly have been more challenging. And yet such is the quality that you can almost forgive the season’s frost for devastating the yields at this storied Domaine. Almost. In 2016 severe frost damage in Prémeaux and Nuits-St-Georges wiped out almost 70% of the l’Arlot crop. The final yields were around 12 hl/ha! How much this reduction in yield led to the exceptional quality in the glass is anyone’s guess. All we know is that Godot’s pickers brought in approximately one-third of an average vintage and that the wines are superb. Thankfully, because of the small release l‘Arlot decided to hold back a parcel of their 2015s—Clos du Chapeau, Mont des Oiseaux and Clos des Forêts—to offer alongside the much-depleted range of 2016s. We offer these below, and should also note that there is no Mont des Oiseaux from 2016 (the top parcel of the Clos de l’Arlot). There simply wasn’t enough fruit to make a separate cuvée.
Although the volumes are slight, the quality of the wines is truly outstanding. With such small batches of concentrated fruit Godot has demonstrated just how judicious a winemaker she is—Géraldine increased the percentage of whole bunches where it was necessary to fill the fermenters and extracted very gently, leaving only the finest tannins from the thick skins. Without such restraint, the Prémeaux and Nuits-St-Georges cuvées could have been over-the-top powerful; instead, they offer depth with wonderful finesse. As good as the reds are, the white wines deserve special mention this year. Don’t overlook them—they are stunning. 2016 is a tremendously exciting vintage in Burgundy (not for quantity, but for quality).
Vintages come and go, and no two are alike. The winter of 2015-16 was the warmest since 1900. The seasons were displaced, with winter temperatures arriving in March, three months late. The night of 26 to 27 April was a turning point: frost struck the shoots and first leaves. After abundant rainfall during the first six months, summer arrived in July and the onset of ripening began in mid-August with conditions that were at last dry, allowing the grapes to finish maturing in September.
Where in the World is Domaine de l’Arlot?
Based in Premeaux-Prissey just to the south of Nuits-Saint-Georges, the Domaine also produces two wines from Vosne-Romanée, the 1er Cru Les Suchots and Grand Cru Romanée-Saint-Vivant. This particular wine is a monopole produced only by the Domaine and no other.