Above Volnay in the Roblet-Monnot vines (Courtesy of the Sorting Table)

A Holiday Burgundy Surprise

Share

This time of year is always frantic and fraught in the fabulous world of wine retail and like every industry that is built on the exchange of goods and services, this holiday season has a whole extra layer of challenges built in. The competition for great wine has never been more fierce and this is especially true for Burgundy, plagued over the last ten years by tough vintage after tough vintage. Pile on the skyrocketing costs of bottles, cardboard, international shipping and the shortage of available containers and you start to get the picture. It's a bloodbath out there keeping wine on the shelf. So it was a great and pleasant surprise last week when I stopped by the office of one of our distributors to taste some Burgundies with which I was totally unfamiliar, that turned out to be terrific wines.

I had seen the wines of Roblet-Monnot a bit here and there, but they had never found their way into my glass before last Thursday. I am very pleased they did, as they turned out to be a set of soulful, old-school Burgundies. Domaine Roblet-Monnot has existed in (more or less) its current iteration since 1865. Pascal Roblet is the fourth generation to lead his family's domaine in Volnay, having nine hectares, centered in Volnay with a very small bit of Pommard and Monthélie. 

Organic and biodynamic viticulture in Burgundy has become increasingly common over the last ten years, but Pascal Roblet has been quietly working biodynamically since 1997, making him something of a quiet pioneer alongside Claude Rateau, Anne-Claude Leflaive and Laloue-Bize Leroy. He has also been a maverick in the field of high-density planting. Burgundy has long been dominated by the 1m x 1m planting scheme, resulting in 10,000 vines per hectare. However, some growers have rejected this in certain terroirs where vigor is a concern, the idea being that increased competition from denser planting will help reduce output rather than short pruning or green harvesting.

The most prominent proponent of this has been Olivier Lamy in Saint Aubin, who makes wines of compelling density and focus with very high-density planting in some parcels. Pascal has made a point of scaling up to 12,000 vines per hectare in any vineyard where he has had to replace old vines. While I couldn't locate precise information on which parcels these are, the wines I tasted made for a compelling case. He has even experimented with no-sulfur winemaking here and there.

The overall profile of the wines I tasted was incredibly savory and deeply aromatic. This is the earthiest side of Burgundy, all dried flowers and herbs alongside delicate red fruit. They have a warming quality that feels deeply appropriate for the holiday season, though these being 2017s (!) they betray no sense of heat or imbalance. They feel genuinely alive and full of energy and pleasure. As with all things these days, quantities are quite limited so grab them while you can.

Sam Ehrlich

***Wines are PRE-ARRIVAL. Delivery is expected by Monday 12/20.***

Roblet-Monnot 2017 Haute-Cotes de Beaune Blanc Nerthus

From a parcel in the Hautes Côtes on the plateau above Maranges. Fermented in barrel for twelve months, then racked to tank for a further six months to tighten it up and preserve freshness. This was bottled with no sulfur at all. I found this wine incredibly appealing, open and expressive on the nose, full of crisp yellow apple and apricot, followed by cracked walnuts on the palate, with little hints of lemon pith and lemon sherbet. There is lovely breadth in the mid-palate (I suspect there is a good amount of clay in the soil here along with the limestone) and a spiciness that lends a Jura-like character. There is good length and the finish is fine and racy. I think this is great fun and terrifically expressive. Sam Ehrlich

  • white
  • 2 in stock
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur
Sorry, the Following have Already Sold

Roblet-Monnot 2017 Haute-Cotes de Beaune Rouge Vieilles Vignes

Sourced from several parcels the length of the Hautes Côtes, this was really striking the morning I tasted it. Beautiful bright red strawberry fruit and cherry skin in the nose and the attack, rounded out with a bit of orange oil and plenty of the dried flowers and lavender notes that distinguished the whole range. As it opened up it started to show some saltier meatier notes and the finish was exceptionally earthy and savory. The barrels used range from one to three years old but I was shocked to find out that this spends 28 months in barrel as there is no real wood influence to speak of. What I liked most was the texture here - this wine feels particularly floaty and delicate, a consequence of the gentle handling of the fruit during fermentation. All in all, a lovely wine. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Roblet-Monnot 2017 Volnay St. François

From a combination of village parcels, as well as Volnay 1er Crus Mitans and Robardelle. Again, the nose here is all snappy red berries and dried purple flowers, plus an extra bit of that wooly sweater character that runs through these wines. There is a bit of new wood here as well, but it's quite well-applied and well-integrated. The mouthfeel is slinkier here, with decent grip, and the acidity is focused and pointed. A very good village level wine and worth considering for drinking now or in a few years time. Sam Ehrlich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $94.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Roblet-Monnot 2017 Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds

From vines ranging from 25 to 50 years old and planted in the very center of Taillepieds, in exceptionally rocky soils. This spends 18 months in barrel compared to the long-aging of the little wines, in barrels ranging one to three years old.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $174.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur