Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux is a rising star in Vosne Romanee. Charles Lachaux took over the estate from his father in 2012, and he implemented substantial changes to the Domaine in 2013. Such as high percentage of whole cluster, lowered the percentage of new oak and most importantly changing the viticultural regime.
Charles Lachaux is a huge fan of madam Lalou Bize-Leroy from Domaine d’Auvenay, and Charles has been experimenting with letting the top branch grow and weaving them down for the past five years. Charles Lachaux said by leaving the top branches of the vines unpruned on the vineyard, the roots reaches deeper underground and the grapes ripen around 7-10 days earlier compared to the conventional method. The acidity is also lower on the scale, with higher pH (in some vineyards close to pH 4) due to the viticultural method. Nonetheless, the wines still show great freshness and vibrancy.
Having tasted the 2015 Arnoux-Lachaux wines last month, my expectations were naturally high. I am very impressed with Doamine Arnoux-Lachaux 2016 wines from Bourgogne Pinot Fin to Vosne Romanee Les Suchots, not to mention the incredible Romanee-Saint-Vivant. Charles Lachaux have made some fabulous 2016 wines that complimented the vintage style brilliantly well. This is a vintage I highly recommend for readers.
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux lost approximately 60% of the entire crop, with 100% crop lost in two vineyards (no Clos Vougeot and Nuits St Georges Les Poisets produced in 2016).
Charles Lachaux said the wines in 2016 were made in the same way as he did with the 2015 vintage. Although not certified organic, the estate is around 90% organic. The village wines are aged in 10-12% new oak, 15-20% new oak for Premier Cru wines, 30% for Grand Cru wines, and no new oak on the Bourgogne. A mixture of foot-treading, punching down and pumping over is used. In my opinion, the wines here in 2016 are gentler in extraction than in 2015.
Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Latricières Chambertin Grand Cru, Echezeaux Grand Cru, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots, Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Aux Reignots, Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Chaumes, Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos des Corvées Pagets, Nuits Saint Georges Les Procès, Vosne Romanee Les Hautes Maizieres, Vosne Romanée, Nuits Saint Georges Les Poisets, Nuits Saint Georges, Chambolle Musigny, Bourgogne Pinot Fin
Bourgogne Pinot Fin 2016
This Bourgogne rouge is surprisingly charming and floral. I don’t normally care much for Bourgogne wines but this is something special and worth the attention. This Pinot Fin is a blend of seven different plots around Cote de Nuits, 50% from Chambolle Musigny appellation, 25% from Nuits Saint Georges, and 25% from Vosne Romanée. Around 60% of the crop was lost in 2016 due to frost, around 20 barrels of Bourgogne Pinot Fin produced in 2016. Flamboyant aroma of supple rose petal, wild strawberries, and raspberry. 60% whole cluster. Great lightness and gentleness. (86-87/100)
Nuits Saint Georges 2016
The Arnoux Lachaux Nuits Saint Georges is a blend of seven lieu-dits around Nuits Saint Georges, total 1.42 ha. The floral whole cluster style dominates the aromas, gentle fragrant of red berries, juicy raspberry, more red fruit driven than the 2015. Gentle ethereal aromas and cool fruits, lovely balance and smooth tannins. 70% whole cluster with a sappy fruit finish. This should be drinking well from 2022. (87-88/100)
Chambolle Musigny 2016
The Chambolle Musigny comes from five different parcels in Chambolle Musigny village, mainly from Les Guérippes, Les Danguerrins, and some from Les Creux Baissants and Les Fouchères. Total 1.62 ha. Unfortunately 60% of the crop was lost in 2016. The nose of the Chambolle Musigny offers a bit more lift and sappy red cherry than the Nuits Saint Georges. Charming red berries, strawberry, subtle spices and elegant minerals. 80% whole cluster. The phenolic ripeness of the Chambolle Musigny matches the winemaking style perfectly, good elegance and sweet stems. (87-89/100)
Vosne Romanée 2016
The Vosne Romanée is a blend of two Vosne Romanée villages, Aux Saules and Aux Communes, 0.57 ha in total. 13 barrels produced in 2016. The 2016 Vosne Romanée offers a sexy dark fruit aroma and spicy backbone, very classic and distinctive of Vosne Romanée. Black cherry, wild stems fragrant (giving a lovely sweet finish), a subtle oak spices in the background. Around 10% new oak. A feminine Vosne Romanée with good drive and fine tannins. (89-90/100)
Vosne Romanée Les Hautes Maizières 2016
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux owns a 0.60 ha plot in Les Hautes Maizières right below Echezeaux. 6 barrels produced in 2016. Les Hautes Maizières is one of the best villages in Vosne Romanée especially taking price into consideration. The 2016 Les Hautes Maizières offers a feminine perfumed nose, great energy of red fruits of cherry, strawberry and mixed berries. The high percentage of 80% whole cluster fermentation works brilliantly well with this iron-rich vineyard. Some ethereal tones and sweet spices on the finish. Good elegance and length. (90-91/100)
Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Procès 2016
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux owns 0.70 ha of Les Procés. The 2016 Les Procès offers a good richness and intensity. Darker fruit tone with some red berries and subtle spices. The Procès shows a good weight and brightness in fruits, although less flamboyant than the Hautes Maizières served before that. Only 50% whole cluster fermentation in Les Procès, the lowest percentage at Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux in 2016. Good fruit punch with a more tannic structure. (89-90/100)
Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Chaumes 2016
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux owns 0.74 ha of Les Chaumes, a long stripe of vineyard from top to bottom of the slope. A fair size compared to other owners in this vineyard. The 2016 Les Chaumes offers a dazzling bouquet of exotic spices, flamboyant redcurrant, subtle blueberry and ripe cherry fruit. Only 50% whole cluster fermentation, the lowest percentage at the Domaine in 2016. The sleek minerals of Les Chaumes is very expressive. Good phenolic ripeness and purity of fruit. Weightier and a bit more powerful than the Hautes Maizières but not necessary more refined. (91-92/100)
Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos des Corvées Pagets 2016
The Clos des Corvées Pagets is a rather special vineyard in Nuits Saint Georges. A 0.55 ha parcel located within the Clos des Corvées (where Prieure Roch owns most of it). The vines are 70 years old. 5 barrels produced in 2016. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Gorgeous bouquet of rose petals, dark cherry, whole bunch bubbly red fruits with lifted new oak spices. The aromas are a bit more assertive than the Vosne Romanée Les Chaumes served before this. Great concentration and superb texture. (92-93/100)
Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots 2016
The Arnoux-Lachaux Les Suchots performed very well in 2016. Only three barrels made in 2016 from this 0.43 ha plot, located at the top of Suchots, sitting just below Les Beaumonts. Vines here are 94 years old. The 2016 Les Suchots exhibits a gorgeous perfumed nose of whole cluster fragrant, rose petals, fragrant Japanese strawberry, Indian spices, and vibrant mixed berries. Great balance between the fragrant and depth. 100% whole cluster. Good richness with fine mineral expression and backbone. Great intensity. (93-94/100)
Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Aux Reignots 2016
Domaine Arnoux Lachaux owns a special vineyard in Aux Reignots, located just above the greatly revered La Romanée. A 0.2 ha parcel with vines close to 100 years old. The aromas are less expressive than Les Suchots but there is a serious depth and power which suggest it simply needs more time to unveil its quality than the Les Suchots. The Aux Reignots exhibits less sweetness than Suchots. Floral with intense dark fruits, exotic spices, raspberry, feminine perfume and subtle wood toast. Weighty with a good tension and concentration. Deep and fragrant with a sophisticated character. (94-95/100)
Echezeaux Grand Cru 2016
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux owns 0.8 ha of Echezeaux in the Les Rouges du Bas dieu-dit. The 2016 Lachaux Echezeaux is expressive and showing lots of fruit charm. Juicy red fruits of currants, strawberries, dark cherry and exotic spices. The 100% whole cluster fermentation integrates nicely with the bright fruits. Great body and intensity, the tannins are more pronounced than most of the Premier crus. (92-93/100)
Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux owns 0.53 ha parcel at the top of Latricières-Chambertin, bordering Clos de la Roche. The Latricières Chambertin offers a transparent Gevrey Chambertin earthy minerals and cool red fruits. Good strength of mixed berries, floral whole cluster, rose petal and smoke. This Latricières-Chambertin is lighter weight than the usual Gevrey Chambertin Grand Cru, but it is very perfumed and lifted. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Refined and smooth finish. (93+/100)
Romanée Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2016
The Romanée Saint Vivant is the flagship wine at Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux. They own 0.375 ha plot located next to La Grand Rue. The vines here are close to 100 years old and only around 760 bottles produced in 2016. The 2016 Romanée St Vivant is a league above the other Grand Crus of Arnoux-Lachaux, it carries a substantial power and intensity. Densely packed dark fruits, blueberries, mixed berries, very spicy and fragrant. There is an extra dimension of spices in the RSV. This wine has an impressive structure that will age for more than half a century! Hedonistic. (95-97/100)
I highly recommend the whole portfolio of Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux in 2016. Charles Lachaux made some excellent wines that to me is superior to the Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux 2015. The Bourgogne Pinot Fin is particularly charming and fragrant, very hard to dislike. Vosne Romanée Les Hautes Maizières shows exceptional floral aromas and punches through its class, fairly reasonably priced too. Both Les Suchots and Aux Reignots are fantastic Vosne Romanee Premier Crus, not to miss! The Romanée Saint Vivant I would recommend for those who are more serious with collecting Burgundies.