Let's Talk Volnay.....Tell Me About Lafarge, Plz

I enjoyed the wine below last night and while it had a side of austerity to it, there was something about it that left me interested and feeling compelled to seek more. I did some reading on Lafarge through Coates and Norman, and the praise is solid. But from some other perspectives, I am asking if you’d like to add something more to their points of view. Specifically, in round terms, are these Lafarge wines, his Chenes bottling, am I looking at 10 years before I enjoy it fully? The wine below was indeed young but the structure against the fruit was a great ride, refreshing and energizing and I’d lkke to know more. Is his monopole Ducs as good or better than the Chenes? I found a source, just want to u/stand some opinions on Lafarge before I do some spending. I do appreciate the respect for the land, and his early adoption of the sustainable approach. Thanks in advance for the comments back, and my TN follows:

  • 2007 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay (7/31/2011)
    This is a brisk, edgy wine. I gave this several hours of slox ox time, call it about 4 and drank it through this window. Lighter colored with a volume of brisk red fruit and leathery, mineral-like tannin. Lot of tension and structure packed into this wine, which I enjoyed. Only had one bottle but if I had another, I’d let it age another 5 years.

Posted from CellarTracker

The chenes is usually considered the best of the line up. I really like the mitans as well. Strong vintages definitely need ten plus years in the cellar.

Next time we get together I’ll bring a bottle.

I have visited Lafarge twice with Burgundy specialists (in the trade).

Unfortunately, I liked the wines nowhere near as well as they did.

It’s a traditional, old-fashioned operation, and the Lafarges are very friendly and welcoming.
However, I would put this producer in the same category as Bruno Clavelier: I cannot see what all the fuss is about.

I know that true Burgundy fans adore Lafarge. I have a bottle of 2005 in my cellar and will see how it fares in the future.

Best regards,
Alex R.

One of the best of the Volnay producers, at least the Chenes. The 96 Chenes needs time but is nice now (and better with several hours of air). The 98 is drinking well and if you can find a bottle isn’t a bad one to try to see what they become. 98 isn’t a great vintage but the Lafarge is very pretty in that year.

The best Volnay to me shows like an iceberg. Very pretty initially, but with much more hiding below.

There is a consensus among Burgundy enthusiasts that the two top producers in Volnay are d’Angerville and Lafarge. And while d’Angerville’s wines are remarkable for their purity and revelation of terroir, I get greater pleasure from Lafarge’s, as their wines are not only classic, but they’re ravishing.

In general, not accounting for differences among vintages, I’d say that Lafarge’s Clos du Chateau des Ducs require 10 or 12 years, before they can begun to be opened; I’d say Lafarge’s Clos des Chenes need a few years beyond that.

As for the hierarchy among Lafarge’s wines, the Chenes is on top, but the Chateau des Ducs is still excellent. The other special Lafarge wine is the Caillerets.

Your note describes the essence of Lafarge’s wines. They have a core of fruit and “expression of terroir” that is special. They are not early accessible usually but 2007 is an exception. Some might even call them rustic when very young. They made absolutely stunning 07’s. They take forever to come around sometimes.

I like them, in general, better than d’Angerville. When ready to go, they are the essence of Volnay. Sexy with a fruit core that is red fruited and complex. A floral component to the nose. Maybe not as polished as the d’Angerville wines (this doesn’t bother me at all) but they really speak to the distinct areas from which they come. Terrific stuff.

Perfect description of Volnay, specifically Lafarge. Tasting through the young wines can provide the impression the wines are tight, red and almost astringently mineral. Older wines develop a much deeper, more profound depth with softer, richer and even darker fruit. Minerality is still very much present but it is an instrument in an orchestra rather than a solo artist.

Visitors are offered the opportunity to purchase older vintages direct from the domaine.

Montille and Angerville are Volnay-based producers that certainly warrant a look as well. My nod goes to Lafarge for the wine’s compact, focused fruit that fills out with age into a plethora of complex aromas and flavors.

+1. I visited once and was very unimpressed. I know many “true Burgundy fans” who are equally unimpressed. Do they change/transform with sufficient age and care? Maybe. But, when I visit a domaine I try to predict that, based on some experience with such tasting. Lafarge didn’t give me great reason for optimism, but…I can’t argue about it. I am not that interested in figuring it out. I consider deMontille the “best” producer in Volnay, closely followed by d’Angerville. FWIW.

Montille isn’t close unless you’re talking about the post-Hubert years. IMO The acid balance strikes me as off in t he pre-2002 wines (I’ve nothing later). However if you love the 96s and want some, we should talk…

+1 Don. After visiting Frederic and Chantal last year, I became a fan. Frederic pulled out a 83 Chenes that was beautiful and hitting on all cylinders…yes they do take some time to come around. So Frank, if you don’t mind cellaring for many years, put aside a few for the long haul. You will be rewarded imo.

I have really enjoyed the '02 Volnay Vendanges Selectionnees (with plenty of air).

I can’t wait to drink my '05 Chenes in about 30 years.

While not Volnay, I have heard that Lafarge makes a sublime, if not benchmark, Pommard Pezerolles–they make a ridiculously tiny amount.

2000 Lafarge Chenes is a terrific wine.

In terms of Volnay, Lafarge and D’Angerville many consider the top domaines, but also come with a top price, especially from 2005 on. The next tier for mewould be Pousse d’Or (pre '96 and post '02) and Lafon. I guess some like de Montille, yet I have very little experience. It seems they take many years to raeach maturity. I had the '93 Taillepiedes in 2006 and felt it not even close to mature with structure to burn. Since 2002, I have looked for other producers that fall closer to my price comfort range: Pascal Bouley, Jean (Henri) Boillot (a favorite since '99), Bouchard Caillerets and more recently Dublere (excited to see how this producer develops).

WAY more than that. I don’t know if I can think of a producer in Burgundy that makes more structured, backwards wines than Lafarge. If you want a Lafarge to enjoy on the younger side, the Beaune Greves is a good option, and of course vintages like 2007 offer a good opportunity.

The Chenes gets the honor as the flagship of the cellar but I don’t think the difference between the two of them is very large. When you taste through the lineup young, when there isn’t much to distinguish them besides structure, the Chenes comes across as ever-so-slightly more tannic and ever-so-slightly more densely fruited in comparison to the Chateau des Ducs. Possibly the Ducs is ready to drink sooner, but it hasn’t been made for quite long enough to have a clear track record.

A couple of points.

First, Lafarge’s Clos de Chateau des Ducs is not the same vineyard as d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs.

Second, the three producers mentioned most in this thread, Lafarge, d’Angerville and Montille are great producers, but are producers whose wines reward a lot of aging. For example, I had a 1993 Lafarge Clos des Chenes that was just outstanding a few months ago.

If you like Volnay and want to try producers who make wines that are a bit more accessable young, try Bouchard and Henri Boillot.

Michel is known to be always in the vineyards rain and snow, that should translate into quality.

or…something else… [roll-eyes.gif]

Ryan Johnson was just telling me how accessible the 09 Bouchard Chenes is. Bouchard does an excellent young volnay, precision clean fruit… the 07 Chenes is also nice right now.

Saying something about your own gardening and cooking… neener

disappointing 90s. I don’t have many subsequent data points.