Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru
Domaine Arnoux Lachaux
Previously Domaine Robert Arnoux, the estate was founded in 1858. Today, it is run by Charles Lachaux, representing the family's sixth generation. Despite, or perhaps because of, his youth, Charles is crystal-clear in his aspirations and objectives. The vineyard is virtually everything here, complemented in the cellar by restrained oak use and some whole cluster fermentation.
Charles makes no secret of being a disciple of Lalou Bize-Leroy, leaving the vines' shoots to grow longer than usual, in tune with their natural vigour. “We don’t want to be traditional; we don’t want to be modern.” The estate is 14.5 hectares, all planted to Pinot Noir, spread over six villages and 15 terroirs. These comprise four grands crus, five premiers crus, five villages and a regional level wine, the excellent ‘Pinot Fin’.
Most of the village wines are 70% whole cluster, and beyond this everything is pretty much 100%. For the whole cluster he just puts the grapes into the vat (the size will vary by the plot). After this, fermentation starts, and there’s no recipe for how this is managed: it is judged by taste. Usually, the wine is pressed off after 10-11 days, so there’s no cold pre-soak or post-ferment maceration. He’s also not keen on new oak, and uses 10% in the village wines, rising to a maximum of 30% in the Grand Crus.
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