Focus on Pommard 1er Cru “Les Chanlins Vieilles Vignes”

Burgundy has been making wine for a long time. The characteristics of the various vineyards are well understood, and the lines have been drawn. Each village has certain traits for which it is known – Chambolle for its perfume, Morey for its cherry flavors, and each vineyard has different characteristics – Chevalier-Montrachet has a touch more mineral finesse and complexity when compared to the richer Batard-Montrachet.

These vineyards on the borders of the various Burgundy villages often tend to share a few characteristics between the two regions. We have found that to be the case with our Pommard 1er Cru ‘Chanlins’, which is quite close to bordering Volnay and very close to Les Rugiens, often considered a near Grand Cru in quality. Pommard and Volnay are interesting contrasts. Volnay has a reputation for being among the most intensely perfumed and ethereal in texture of the Cote de Beaune Burgundies.

Pommard, on the other hand, is renowned for its sturdy, rustic nature and, as the English put it, “four-square” style. One of the reasons Burgundy is so fascinating is that these two villages, with such different characteristics, exist side-by-side.

Chanlins has, we think, a lovely combination of the characteristics of both villages. Though it is in Pommard, it bathes a little in the light of Volnay. Tasted side-by-side with our various Volnays, it will show a bit more rustic, with firmer, more grippy tannins. But, tasted side-by-side with other Pommards (including our Grands Epenots) it will show more perfume and a more delicate texture.

The vines of our parcel of Les Chanlins are amongst the oldest of the Domaine – so old that we feel comfortable using the term ‘Vieilles Vignes’ on the label. It is commonly held in the wine world the older vines produce finer wine grapes – as their grape production drops with age, the remaining berries are more concentrated, and the older root systems have clawed their way deeper into the soil, protecting them from drought.

Ironically, the term Vieilles Vignes is one of the few terms on a French wine label that is unregulated. While the term is rarely abused by better French wineries, we are confident the 85-year-old plants in Chanlins qualify for the old-vine laurels!

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