Visit to Domaine de l’Arlot
24 May 2012
Ah yes, Beaune in May – an ideal time to visit the Cote d’Or, don’t you think? Well, yes and no. With two national holidays in the first 2 weeks, many restaurants and domaines take an extended vacation. The weather is also problematic, sunny one day, cold and wet the next. Because of a warmish April, there were little green shoots everywhere we went.
The tendency in Burgundy is to talk paradoxically. It was a fine harvest except yields were low, or a complex vintage with forward fruit. While this may be infuriating at first, upon further scrutiny you can see the truth in this type of discourse. During our visit with Jacques Devauges of Domaine de l’Arlot, he quickly pointed out that even though they are one of the largest owners of Premier Cru fruit in Nuits Saint Georges, they treat every plot individually. For example in their monopole vineyard, Clos des Forets, they make 3 separate cuvees from different parcels within the 7.5 hectare vineyard.
During the tasting we learned that Jacques worked with Pascal Marchand and that he sees himself as both the keeper of the flame and an innovator. He is slowly reducing the amount of whole cluster fermentation and the “overuse” of new oak. The 2010 vintage is clearly a strong contender. Impeccably balanced, even at this young age, you can feel the fine grain tannins and ample fruit which bode well for a long and delicious future. While Burgundians are often stoic, you could not help but see the creeping enthusiasm hiding underneath that poker face.
-Posted by David Goodwin, San Francisco