2005 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru "Santenots-du-Milieu"

SKU #1038173 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Having tasted this three or four times in the past, I probably have under-rated this wine because it is such a long-term proposition. The 2005 Volnay Santenot has a dense, almost impenetrable bouquet that demands considerable aeration to unveil its multi-layered aromatic profile of creme de cassis, raspberry, blackberry and a veneer of new oak that needs several more years to be fully absorbed (indeed, it feels like more than the one-third new oak that Dominique uses). The palate is full-bodied with a sweet, succulent entry. It is beautifully balanced, vivacious and sensual with a dab of alcohol on the finish. It is far too young to broach at the moment, but it will develop with style over the next three decades. Drink 2018-2035. Tasted September 2013. (NM)  (12/2013)

94 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 In magnum format this hasn't really evolved all that much since my original in-bottle review as the nose is perfectly ripe, expressive and wonderfully fresh with its array of deeply pitched cherry, violet and spice-inflected aromas. There is superb volume to the rich, full, sweet and velvety mouth coating flavors that offer outstanding detail and superb depth of material on the strikingly long finish. There is a gorgeously appealing sense of harmony here with really lovely transparency. A great Santenots but note that this will require extended cellar time, particularly in this large format bottling. Try from 2025+  (6/2015)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Pristine, fruit-driven aromas of blackberry liqueur, black and red cherry and violet. A Volnay of compelling density, sweetness and power but at the same time brilliantly detailed and firmly structured. Great verve here. Finishes extremely long and perfumed, with a medicinal reserve and a piquant element of black pepper. Lafon notes that his 2005s have pHs in the low 3.3 range. A wine like this one should gain in complexity for at least 15 to 20 years in a cold cellar. (ST) 94+  (3/2008)

94 points Vinous

 The 2005 Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-du-Milieu from Comtes Lafon is superb. Having recently tasted the 2009, 2010 and 2011, I am curious to see where the 2005 is. Still a big, broad-shouldered wine, the 2005 is beautiful, open and expressive on this night. The wine's breadth and pure power are both impressive. At the same time, slightly angular contours and drying tannins, especially on the finish, are impossible to escape. The 2005 remains a striking Santenots, but it is also a bit burly. I don't see the 2005 ever becoming one of the more polished vintages, but would also like to taste it in another 5 years to see if it has acquired a measure of elegance that today is elusive. (AG)  (7/2013)

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.


- The province of eastern France, famous for its red wines produced from Pinot Noir and its whites produced from Chardonnay. (Small of amounts of Gamay and Aligoté are still grown, although these have to be labeled differently.) The most famous part of the region is known as the Côte d'Or (the Golden Slope). It is divided into the Côte de Beaune, south of the town of Beaune (famous principally for its whites), and the Côte de Nuits, North of Beaune (home of the most famous reds). In addition, the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais are important wine growing regions, although historically a clear level (or more) below the Côte d'Or. Also include by some are the regions of Chablis and Auxerrois, farther north. View our bestselling Burgundy.
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- Sometimes known as the Chambolle Musigny of the Côte de Beaune, Volnay is famous for its silky, elegant wines with finesse, delicacy and an almost ethereal nose. However, the wines have a depth and structure that can allow them to age for decades. Remington Norman said it wonderfully in his book The Great Domaines of Burgundy: 'If the wines of Pommard sometimes seem like a truck-driver's interpretation of Pinot, then those of Volnay are a ballerina's.