A new beginning for a new generation of winemakers in Burgundy. Charles Lachaux is among the group of new generation winemakers in Burgundy that are innovative whilst staying true to the tradition.
Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux was founded in 1858. The estate is blessed with some of the finest vineyards in Vosne Romanee, including four Grand Crus and five Premier Crus. Robert Arnoux’s son in law, Pascal Lachaux ran the estate from 1987 to 2012. During those years, Pascal applied 100% new oak in the Grand Cru wines, 100% destemmed, sufficient extraction and organic to biodynamic practices in the vineyards. In 2012, the son of Pascal Lachaux, Charles Lachaux took over the Domaine and changed the winemaking style drastically.
Note: The name of the estate was changed from Domaine Robert Arnoux to Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux in 2009.
Charles Lachaux is a huge fan and follower of Madam Lalou Bize-Leroy from Domaine Leroy and Domaine d’Auvenay. Charles is practicing some of Lalou-Bize Leroy’s unique vineyard approaches, such as not pruning the top branch of the vines in two of his favourite vineyards, Vosne Romanee Aux Reignots and Romanee Saint Vivant. Charles and his vineyard team only trims the Aux Reignots and Romanee Saint Vivant plot when the branch reaches around 3 meters tall, that is the length when the branch starts to weaken and even snap. The team will trim down from 3 meters to about 1.2 meters tall. Charles told us the reason for not trimming is to allow the roots to grow deeper into the soil and absorb more flavours from deep earth. Charles also introduced whole cluster fermentation to the estate as well as using less new oak and less extraction.
Charles Lachaux is the sixth generation in the estate. He drove us around the vineyards and showed us how the pruning is done in his two favourite vineyards, Aux Reignots and Romanee Saint Vivant.
Since Charles Lachaux took over, the village wines are aged in 15% new oak, 20% new oak for Premier Cru wines, 30% for Grand Cru wines, and no new oak on the Bourgogne.
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 2015
The Arnoux-Lachaux Bourgogne Pinot Fin comes from a blend of 8 parcels scattered around Nuits Saint Georges, Vosne Romanee and Chambolle Musigny. 100% 60 years old Pinot Noir grafted on Pinot Fin rootstock. Pinot Fin is an ancient clone of Pinot Noir, it is rarely seen in Burgundy. The grapes are small (prone to millerandage in the vineyard) and yields are low for this Bourgogne Pinot Fin, creating a rich generic Bourgogne rouge especially from this warm vintage. Dark juicy currants and ripe berries, a lovely lift of spices and subtle stems. 80% whole cluster vinified and aged in all old barrels. Good grip and intensity for a Bourgogne rouge. (85+/100)
Nuits Saint Georges 2015
The Nuits Saint Georges is a blend of 7 parcels from 4 different village vineyards. Average 50 years old, 80% whole cluster with 15% new oak. Dark fruits, black cherry, sweet red berries. Showing some saustere and grippy earthiness of Nuits Saint Georges. Medium bodied with a nice freshness. Some floral tones but relatively masculine. (87-88/100)
Vosne Romanee 2015
The Vosne Romanee village comes from Aux Communes and Aux Saules. This 2015 Vosne Romanee shows more sexy spices and earth than the Nuits Saint Georges. Good density of dark fruit, black cherry with an exotic touch of spices and linear minerals. 70% whole cluster and 15% new oak. Energetic with a juicy fruit finish. (88-89/100)
Nuits Saint Georges ‘Les Poisets’ 2015
Les Poisets is a village lieu-dit in the south of Nuits Saint Georges. The vines are around 70 years old, mostly affected by millerandage, yielding very small berries with deep concentration. The Poisets is a league above the normal Nuits Saint Georges, with more intensity and flavour impact in mid-palate. Great fragrant of spices, hints of summer flowers, clove and red currant. Nice aromatic profile, 100% whole cluster. More elegant than the generic Nuits Saint Georges. (88-89/100)
Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos des Corvées Pagets 2015
The Clos des Corvées Pagets is a 1.56 ha Premier Cru vineyard located just south of the famous Clos des Corvées (which is owned by Prieure Roch). The vines here are around 70 years old, small berries with great concentration. The yield is less than 20 hl/ha. Brighter red fruits than the Les Poisets, great vibrancy and concentration. Fresh redcurrant, dark cherry and hints of floral tones. 100% whole cluster and around 20% new oak. Good depth and well tamed tannins. (89-90/100)
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2015
Arnoux-Lachaux owns a nice plot at the upper slope of Clos Vougeot within the lieu-dit of ‘Quartier des Marei Haut’, a stone throw away from Grands Echezeaux. 0.5 ha of 50 years old vines. The 2015 Clos Vougeot is showing rich juicy red fruits, red cherry and summer flowers. Great concentration and depth, a big-boned Clos Vougeot. Full bodied with gentle tannins. 70% whole cluster. Lovely latent energy on the palate. Clos Vougeot seems to have performed well in 2015 vintage. Drink from 2025 onwards. (91-92/100)
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Suchots 2015
Arnoux-Lachaux owns the highest slope of Les Suchots, a 0.45 ha vineyard adjacent to Les Beaux-Monts and Echezeaux. The vines at their Suchots plot is close to 100 years old. This 2015 Les Suchots shows more dark fruits of black cherry and cassis than the Clos Vougeot. Good intensity of dark fruits, violet and spiced earth. A nice balance between flavours and weight. 100% whole cluster. A bit austere at this stage but there is grace behind it. (91-92/100)
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Aux Reignots 2015
The Aux Reignots is Charles Lachaux’s favourite vineyard, a 0.29 ha parcel located just above La Romanee. Vines are 100 years old. Charles allows the branches at his Aux Reignots plot to grow up to 3 meters tall before trimming down to 1.2 meters. Interestingly, the 2015 Aux Reignots tasted different compared to most other wines of Arnoux-Lachaux. There is a sense of green stem fragrant, sweet spices and a sleek mineral backbone. Full bodied with an extra layer of complexity. Good definition of fruits and terroir of Aux Reignots on the palate. Very intriguing, more finesse driven than fruit-expressive 2015. (92-93/100)
Latricières Chambertin Grand Cru 2015
Bought in 2007, this 0.53 ha parcel is located of the top slope of Latricières Chambertin, bordering Clos de la Roche. 55 year old vines. The Latricières Chambertin displays an elegant, cool climate expression. Fresh mixed berries, strawberries and earthy minerals of Gevrey Chambertin. Flamboyant with good depth and elegance. 100% whole bunch, 30% new oak. Fine acidity. (92-93/100)
Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru 2015
The Romanee Saint Vivant is a very special plot to Charles Lachaux. A 0.375 ha plot located next to La Grand Rue. The vines here are close to 100 years old and they only got 20 hl/ha in 2015. Like the Aux Reignot vineyard, Charles Lachaux leaves the branches to grow up to 3 meters tall before trimming. The Romanee Saint Vivant has a tight aroma of deep and intense dark fruit, cherry, liquorice, smoked grabel and spices. Hints of stems radiating from the background. Elegant and refined with a playful aroma. Very good length and complexity. Gorgeous! (94-96/100)
Echezeaux Grand Cru 2009
Served blind by Charles Lachaux – Rich and fragrant with a lovely phenolic ripeness. Good weight and density suggesting it is either a good Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyard. Flashy red berries and juicy raspberry, nice fragrant with lifted oak spices and toast. Lots of new oak. Could it be Echezeaux or Clos Vougeot from 2009/2012? Charles Lachaux definitely toned down the new oak and extraction since taking over in 2013. (92-93/100)
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Suchots 1996
Blind tasting bottle no.2 – A mature Burgundy nose of autumn forest floor, light and mellow red fruits with subtle smoked game and herbs. Fairly light weight and clean. A Premier Cru from Vosne Romanee from the 90s? Classic vintage coolness. 1991 or 1993? (88/100)
Click here for 2016 Domaine Arnoux Lachaux review.