Size & Type
“The most structured and muscular of Domaine de l’Arlot’s premiers crus, the 2019 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Forêts St Georges wafts from the glass with aromas of cassis, plums, dark berries, raw cocoa and sweet soil tones. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with lively acids, powdery tannins and a youthfully chalky finish, this is an elegantly muscular wine built to age.”
William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
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Running the entire width of the Côte from the forest to the RN74, Forêts contains three distinct terroirs which l’Arlot picks and vinifies separately. From top to bottom, these three soil types include a band of white oolitic limestone with very little topsoil; a fracture in the middle of the vineyard, where pink Prémeaux limestone takes over; then ‘younger’ Ladoix limestone and more clay at the bottom of the slope. A portion of the youngest vines were previously harvested for the now-defunct Petits Plets cuvée. Now over 30 years old, these vines have come of age and so form a part of this cuvée.
This is the deepest, most intense red in the l’Arlot stable and one that perfectly highlights the dark-fruited, inky power of this terroir. Where last year the fruit for this cuvée was completely de-stemmed, the 2019 was fermented with 30% whole bunches and aged with 35% new oak, bringing more perfume but also more structure. It’s a superb example of this wine which, quite frankly, remains one of the bargains of the Côte de Nuits.
The Style of the Wine
With its well-defined character, this wine perfectly illustrates the identity of the Nuits Saint Georges vineyard. Complex aromas of blackcurrant mingled with spicy blackberry are revealed on the nose with, depending on the vintage, darker notes of liquorice, leather and blood orange. The well-built mouth affirms itself with density and strength around a tight structure with rich, well-wrapped tannins. It becomes increasingly seductive over time, which comes from the elegance, intensity and purity of the fruit.
A wine for ageing: the generous terroir of the Clos des Forêts Saint Georges forms the soul of the wine. It builds a solid red around well-present tannins which define a wine for ageing. A few years in the cellar will allow the wine to express itself more fully and make it more graceful, silkier and more complete.
In Burgundy the monopoly (single estate vineyard) defines a unit of land, a terroir which has been perfectly defined for centuries and which is owned by a single proprietor. The Clos des Forêts Saint Georges covers a surface of 7.2 hectares, all in one piece. It is a unique terroir in a privileged location which right from its origin has made one of the greatest Nuits Saint Georges wines.
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
Régisseur Géraldine Godot briefly commented that 2019 gave us “notably lower yields compared to what we realized in 2018, which is to say down 21% overall with -17% in red and fully -36% in white. We picked from the 12th of September and brought in both ripe and very clean fruit that didn’t require much sorting other than to remove some shriveled berries. Potential alcohols ranged between 13 and 13.5% in pinot and 13.5 to 13.7% in chardonnay. I used between 30 and 100% whole clusters for the vinifications, which unfolded without incident. I like the 2019s quite a bit, but I also like the 2018s, which responded better than I thought that they might to the bottling and in doing so, have become a bit more classic in style.” Godot again noted that the name of the Cuvée Le Petit l’Arlot, which was made using the young vines from the Clos de l’Arlot, has been changed to Monts des Oiseaux. It will be declared as a 1er, which is an upgrade as in the past it has been declared as a villages level wine.
Allen Meadows, Burghound
Geraldine explores the 2017, 2018 & 2019 vintages in the film below.
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.
“As is typically the case, this displays a completely different aromatic profile with its array of ripe dark berries, cassis, warm earth and a whiff of the sauvage. The dense, powerful and muscular big-bodied flavors possess excellent size, weight and punch while remaining balanced on the wonderfully persistent finish. While this can't match the Clos de l’Arlot or the Suchots for refinement, the supporting tannins are not particularly rustic; indeed it would be fair to say that this is more refined than usual.”
“The most structured and muscular of Domaine de l’Arlot's premiers crus, the 2019 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Forêts St Georges wafts from the glass with aromas of cassis, plums, dark berries, raw cocoa and sweet soil tones. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with lively acids, powdery tannins and a youthfully chalky finish, this is an elegantly muscular wine built to age.”
Where in the world does the magic happen?
Domaine de l'Arlot, Premeaux-Prissey, France