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January 19, 2015

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, En Primeur 2013

Lachaux.000

Over the weekend Allen Meadows aka Burghound released his verdict on the 2013 vintage. Burghound’s opinion carries a similar gravitas in Burgundy as Robert Parker’s does in Bordeaux, he is the critic that is most respected. He is also known for his fastidious and exacting marking, for example he states that 85-89 points is good to high quality, 90-94 outstanding and 95-100 truly incomparable and emotionally thrilling - he has only once scored a wine 100 points, Romanee Conti 1945.

Burghound’s opinion on the reds of this vintage is that ‘the quality is high…2013 is the kind of vintage that I absolutely love. It’s a burg geek’s vintage par excellence. The best wines are superbly fresh and transparent as the underlying terroir is truly on parade.’ He describes the wines as ultra-fresh, well concentrated, ripe with moderate tannin and bright acidity, thereby providing highly fresh finishes. Burghound believes the vintage is better and riper than 2008 and the wines are a delight to drink, perhaps the best news being that they are delicious to drink early on and ‘capable of amply rewarding mid-term cellaring and in a few cases, they will be as long-lived if perhaps not as long-lived as the 2010s or 2012s.’

A perennial favourite of Burghound and wine lovers is Arnoux Lachaux. Founded in 1858, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux is nestled in Vosne-Romanée, the heart of the Cote de Nuits. Chosen as Vignerons of the Year in 2013 by Bourgogne Aujourd’hui magazine, Arnoux-Lachaux uses both organic and biodynamic farming, natural fermentation, and no fining or filtration.

Formerly known as Domaine Robert Arnoux, the winery changed names in 2009 to reflect the fact that Robert Arnoux’s son-in-law, Pascal Lachaux, had been running the Domaine since 1995. Pascal Lachaux has proven himself as an incredibly talented winemaker and his ambition has resulted in the Domaine being regarded as one of the leading producers in the village of Vosne Romanee. Their Romanee St.Vivant is one of the truly great Grand Cru wines, the only issue is that so little is produced.

Lachaux is a producer to buy now, it is becoming a household name, this is a good and bad thing for Burgundy lovers. Being a Domaine for the cognoscenti means the wines offer great value for their entire range: from Vosne-Romanée, Clos de Vougeot, Chambolle-Musigny, and Nuits-Saint-Georges. However, this is causing prices to rise and in the years to come Lachaux will become more expensive and very hard to source, it is advisable to fill one’s cellar now.

Vosne Romanee 2013, 12×75 – £405 EP
As such we have selected Lachaux’s Vosne Romanee, the grapes are selected from three parcels through the village. We have been tasting past vintages recently and the quality is very high, firstly because Vosne Romanee is as good as it gets and secondly, Lachaux is supreme in this village. Taken together the result is a superb wine, reaffirmed with 89-91 points from Burghound, to put this into perspective Armand Rousseau and Dujac’s Gevrey-Chambertin received 87-90 and 86-89 respectively. Lachaux’s Vosnee Romanee offers immense value for £33.75 a bottle, it will drink beautifully when physical and improve for more than a decade in bottle. Moreover, due to a frost in 2009 the three parcels this is selected from have been greatly reduced and there will be a shortage of it in the market for the rest of the decade.

Burghound, 89-92 pts This is also intensely floral in character with even more spice elements than the Echezaux along with both red and dark currant scents. There is fine volume to the exceptionally rich medium weight flavors that possess a seductive mid-palateDrink Now 2025+

Vosne Romanee Les Hautes Maizieres 2013, 12×75 – £460 EP,
This is a wine for those in the know.  Les Hautes Maizieres is a single vineyard village level plot known for finesse and delicate minerality. The vineyard is a hidden gem, found next to the leading 1er Cru plot Les Suchots, historically classified as 1er Cru. Lachaux’s Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots is the flagship of the Domaine – little wonder as the parcel is adjacent to Romanée-Conti and Richebourg. In turn Lachuax’s Les Hautes Maizieres embodies much of what makes their Les Suchots legendary. Last year Burghound awarded Lachaux’s Suchots 89-91, it costs £120 a bottle; their Les Hautes Maizieres has been awarded 89-91 and is immense value at £38 a bottle.

Burghound, 89-91 pts Reduction presently flattens the nose but there is good freshness to the spicy and pure medium-bodied flavors that coat the palate with extract on the velvety, vibrant and balanced finish. This is a very fine Vosne villages and worth considering. Drink Now 2021+

1er Cru, Vosne Romanee Les Chaumes 2013 6×75 – £360 EP
The 1er Cru plot of Les Chaumes is cited for its close proximity to the great Grand Cru vineyard La Tache which is found next door and the 1er Cru vineyard Aux Malconsorts directly west. Lachaux’s 0.92 hectare plot runs through the middle of the vineyard, crossing the appellation from top to bottom and thereby drawing on all of the elements of the vineyard. The vines have an average age of 35-40 years. In 2013 Burghound scored the wine 90-92 points and it offers superb value for a 1er Cru from a top producer at £60 a bottle.

Burghound, 90 – 92 pts ♥: A spicy but restrained nose speaks of exotic tea, lilac, black raspberry and a hint of wood. There is a seductive texture to the supple medium-bodied flavors that possess fine mid-palate density before culminating in a dusty and palate coating finish. This should drink well young but reward up to a decade of cellar time as well. Drink Now 2021+

Bourgogne Pinot Nin, 12×75 – £175 EP,
Finally, Lachaux’s generic Bourgogne is a blend of different blocks from the villages of Chambolle-Musigny, Nuit Saint Georges and Vosne Romanee. The wine is called Pinot Fin due to the rootstock of the same name which produces small and concentrated berries. Wines from these vines are very desirable today with an average age of over 60 years. The result is phenomenal quality for £14.60 a bottle, it manifests Lachaux’s wine making excellence and offers superb value.

Burghound, 86-89 pts ♥: from 60+ year old vines based on the original pinot fin strain that is so highly regarded today: There is really lovely complexity for a wine at this level with its layered aromas of red berries, earth and soft spice nuances. There is fine richness and volume to the delicious middle weight flavors that deliver fine length on the refreshing finish. Worth considering, especially for value. Drink Now 2017+

All of the wines above were ordained Burghound’s purple heart which designates the wine is outstanding, a favourite of Burghound and represents top value. If you would like to see a map of Lachaux’s plots please click here

To read our full Burgundy report please click here