1996 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru "Clos du Chateau des Ducs"

SKU #1343786 93 points John Gilman

 The Clos du Château des Ducs is a terrific 1996 that is beginning to stir from hibernation on both the nose and palate, but it remains a wine that I would still keep buried in my cellar for a handful more years. The nose is beautiful and still a tad primary, as it offers up scents of cherries, raspberries, spice tones, woodsmoke, incipient notes of sous bois, great minerality and a touch of cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, tight and beautifully balanced, with a fine core of pure red fruit, lovely soil inflection and plenty of length and grip on the tangy and dancing finish. Much of this wine’s mid-palate generosity is still hidden behind its acidity, but it is clearly in evidence and only needs a bit more time to really start singing. A lovely bottle. (Drink between 2016-2040) 93+  (9/2011)

91 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 I hadn't tried a bottle of this in a very long time and it has aged extremely well as the nose, while now fully mature, is still fresh with dark berry fruit and earth aromas that display plenty of secondary character (though no sous-bois). There is lovely detail and punch to the medium weight flavors that offer better concentration than the average '96, all underpinned by excellent length where the finish exhibits a hint of dryness that is just enough to detract from the overall sense of balance. The supporting structure has largely, if not completely resolved and the usual bright '96 style acidity is present though not to excess. For my taste this has arrived at its peak though it should hold here for a long time to come.  (8/2017)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium red. Redcurrant, cherry and spice on the nose. Sweetly insinuating flavor and pliant texture in the mouth. This has the stuffing to support its firm tannins. Finishes with persistent, subtle, cherry-flavored fruit. (ST)  (3/1999)

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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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:


- 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.