Vosne-Romanée “Les Chaumes”
1er Cru Red barrel
Tasted: Jan 15, 2018
Producer note: Charles Lachaux describes the 2016 vintage as one that “gave us highly variable yields that ranged from basically zero to almost normal due to the late April frost. For example there will be no Poisots or Clos de Vougeot in 2016 and even though Vosne was largely untouched, even there yields weren’t consistent. I say this because our parcel of Romanée St. Vivant was down 50% yet we were the only ones who suffered there. The Cathiard parcel adjoins ours and as far as I could tell, theirs was untouched. We were also tagged pretty hard in Latricières and Suchots yet Reignots was virtually untouched. Thereafter the growing season remained complicated and difficult because even those vines that weren’t harmed by the frost were attacked by mildew and/or oidium and this tended to weaken them. Mostly of July, August and September though were advantageous to the proper ripening of the fruit and we chose to begin picking a few of the lowest yielding vineyards on the 21st of September. We then attacked the others on the 25th and brought in very clean and phenolically ripe fruit. Yields, when averaged across all of our appellations, came in right around 20 hl/ha but as I explained, there were significant differences from one parcel to another. The skins were thick and the extractions came easily during the cuvaisons that lasted from 11 to 14 days. I used about the same proportion of whole clusters that I did in 2015, which is to say every wine had a minimum of 50% and many were fully 100%. I also chose to go with the same new wood regimen that I used in 2015 where the maximum is now 30 to 35%. I really like the 2016 vintage as the wines are so fresh and pure. My only regret is that there isn’t more them.” The young Lachaux continues to impress and his 2016s are definitely better than what I found in general and particularly so at the villages level. Moreover, I was equally impressed by the 2015s and they too deserve your attention. The 2015s, six of which I revisited below, were bottled between March and April 2017. (Purveyor of Fine Wines, www.winepurveyors.com, LA, William Gladstone Imports, www.williamgladstoneimports.com, NY, David Bowler Wine, www.bowlerwine.com, NY, Favorite Brands, LLC., www.favoritebrands.org, TX and P. Comms Intn’l., www.pcommswines.com, NC, all USA; Diva Beaune S.A.S., www.divawine.com, France; John Armit Wines, www.armit.co.uk, Private Cellar Ltd., www.privatecellar.co.uk, Laytons, www.laytons.co.uk, Clarion Wines, www.clarionwines.co.uk and Bibendum Wine Ltd., www.bibendum-wine.co.uk, all UK).
Tasting note: A ripe and airy nose mixes aromas of various spice and floral elements with those of red pinot and plum. The round, fleshy and generously proportioned flavors also possess very fine depth and length on the punchy and relatively refined finale thanks mainly to the fine-grained supporting tannins. Note that in contrast to several of the foregoing wines, this should be reasonably approachable young if that’s your preference.