“Sleek” Premier Cru Volnay: Dried Flowers and Silk

Red Burgundies aren’t known for their heartiness. Pinot Noir is a delicate, thin-skinned varietal — light in color and body. It usually displays subtlety over strength, polish over power.

But what they lack in weight they more than make up in elegance. The reds of Burgundy are unmatched in their ability to convey complexity, subtlety, and grace. In the Côte de Nuits it’s hard to pick a favorite town, but in the Côte de Beaune one name stands above the rest.

Volnay embodies the velvety silkiness of red Burgundy as well as any town in the region. Our producer here is the Domaine Roger Belland, who marries Volnay’s elegance with the domaine’s approachable style. The result is exceptionally fine red Burgundy, that’s also drinkable young.

Three of Volnay’s vineyards stand above the rest: Caillerets, Champans, and Santenots. And so from a town with no Grand Crus, these wines are as good as Volnay gets. (For a 2017 from Caillerets, check the current March Futures.) Today’s Volnay is from the premier cru Santenots vineyard, right along the border with Meursault.

Belland’s 2017 Volnay-Santenots premier cru is a delight. The nose shows plum, blackberry and spice; the mouth is tense and full, with fine tannins, and a savory, gamey finish. Burghound awarded 91 points, calling it “attractively sleek,” spicy and fresh” and “overtly floral.”

One of our best customers (with a serious Burgundy cellar) opened a bottle of this recently, and told us he and his dinner guest nearly came to blows over the last glass in the bottle.


Belland Volnay 1er “Santenots” 2017
bottle price: $69

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