• Volnay Tradition Personified: Domaine Michel Lafarge

    Volnay Tradition Personified: Domaine Michel Lafarge

    The highlight through eight days in Burgundy was undoubtedly visiting with Frédéric Lafarge in Volnay. The village is synonymous with grace and delicacy, but ardent collectors know in the traditional realm they can be among the most long-lived in Burgundy. And, without hesitation, the wines of Domaine Michel Lafarge are the model for this tightrope act of finesse and tension that ultimately leads to slow transformation in bottle.

    Today, I'm happy to offer a diverse range stretching from the ultimate insider and best Burgundy buy, the 2015 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge through the 1991 Volnay 
    Vendanges Sélectionnées.

    Domaine Michel Lafarge was founded in the early 1800's, and today is managed by Michel, with his son Frédéric, and granddaughter Clothilde. The trio has seen dramatic trends sweep through Burgundy in their time. During the 1950's, vignerons started incorporating chemicals in the vineyard, but Lafarge never considered it. In the mid to late 80's when the practice of elevated extraction was rampant this domaine continued their own path founded on transparency. And then in 1995, Lafarge was one of the very first to begin biodynamic practices in the vineyard.

    Tradition can mean so many things in Burgundy, but the use of hand-destemming and reliance on nearly all older barrels for aging places the domaine in a very specific position.

    It may be unfair to jump in categorizing Volnay as feminine and ethereal, leading one to believe the wines lack the rigid structure required for serious aging. Michel Lafarge touched on this really eloquently in his terrific interview with Levi Dalton on I'll Drink to That! Wine Podcast:

    "It's difficult to achieve the silkiness in tannins, but in Volnay it's unacceptable to have hardness. It's the silkiness of the tannins that define the overriding definition of Volnay."

    Domaine Lafarge holds vineyards primarily in Volnay, with plots in Pommard, Beaune, and Meursault. All wines have a regal frame met with the translucent qualities that put terroir firmly in the crosshairs. Volnay may not have Grand Cru vineyards, but if given the opportunity to drink any Côte de Beaune reds, my first choice is always Volnay.


    A few bottles opened over the last year have amped up my love affair with this domaine: At La Paulée, the 2000 Clos du Château des Ducs was a great reminder that when Lafarge hits that perfect window it's simply breathtaking. A 1993 Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées proved that aging the more humble designations is the wisest thing one can do. And at this summer's wedding of a dear friend, a magnum of 2006 Clos des Chênes was far more generous and approachable than anyone would have guessed, a beautifully pristine example of Pinot Noir from one of the best slices of limestone in all of Burgundy!

    Of course the array of Premier Crus from Lafarge are the most profound, but I cannot stress enough how much enjoyment there is to be had from the Bourgogne Rouge - from one hectare of 41-52 yr-old vines in the lieu dit, Petit Pré.

    36x 2014 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
    $44 per bottle. 

    37x 2015 Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
    $49 per bottle. (Fall arrival)


    3x 2015 Lafarge Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Aigrots
    $128 per bottle.

    1x 2015 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
    $299 per bottle.

    1x 2014 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées 
    $89 per bottle.

    3x 2012 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
    $246 per bottle.

    10x 2010 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
    $273 per bottle.


    1x 2009 Lafarge Beaune 1er Cru Grèves 
    $129 per bottle.

    3x 2008 Lafarge Pommard 1er Cru Pézerolles
    $139 per bottle.


    2x 2008 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
    $199 per bottle.


    2x 2008 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes 
    $219 per bottle.


    3x 2006 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes 
    $209 per bottle.


    1x 2005 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets
    $284 per bottle.

    1x 2005 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
    $299 per bottle.

    1x 2002 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes 1.5L
    $899 per bottle.

    1x 2001 Lafarge Pommard 1er Cru Les Pézerolles 
    $269 per bottle.


    2x 2000 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
    $209 per bottle.

    3x 1999 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
    $389 per bottle.

    5x 1996 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Château des Ducs (Monopole)
    $344 per bottle.

    4x 1996 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
    $399 per bottle.

    1x 1995 Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
    $359 per bottle.

    1x 1991 Lafarge Volnay Vendanges Sélectionnées
    $299 per bottle.
    Posted by Max Kogod