Today’s Story: Domaine de l’Arlot
Domaine de l’Arlot is a historic and well-regarded wine estate located in Nuits St. Georges within the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy, France. Though its roots trace back to the 18th century and owner Jean-Charles Vienot, its more recent history begins in 1891 when the domain was purchased and expanded by wine merchant Jules Belin. Domaine de l’Arlot remained in the Belin family until early 1987, and then was purchased by the French investment company of AXA Millésimes. Around the same time, Jean-Pierre de Smet came on board after spending eight years with Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and he is largely credited with the winemaking philosophy at the domain of minimal intervention. Though Jean-Pierre retired in 2007, this philosophy remained largely intact and today de l’Arlot is run by technical director and Burgundy native Géraldine Godot.
Domaine de l’Arlot today consists of 14 hectares (35 acres) of vineyards planted 95% to Pinot Noir and only 5% to Chardonnay. Average vine age is about 50 years, however the property does maintain some vines aged 70+ years. de l’Arlot farms their vineyards adhering to biodynamic viticulture, a transition that started in 2003 following several years of organic viticulture. A couple of the most prized plots are monopoles of the domain, the 1er Cru vineyards of Clos des Forêts Saint Georges and Clos de l’Arlot.
In terms of winemaking style, Géraldine practices a minimal intervention and “less is more” mentality. Fruit is hand-harvested and every motion within the winery and cellar is accomplished by the use of gravity. The wines ferment spontaneously with only native yeasts, seeing minimal pumpovers and punchdowns by foot. For aging, Géraldine uses less new oak than what was previously used over the domain’s history, which in turn provides a more transparent and true-to-variety and terroir expression. New oak percentages and length of aging vary by vintage and bottling, however the end goal never wavers of producing terroir-driven wines.
Today’s Wine: 2015 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos de l’Arlot
100% Chardonnay; 13.5% ABV
The 2015 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Clos de l’Arlot is pale golden straw in color. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the wine opens with aromas of medium (+) intensity and the nose showcases notes of lemon, green apple, white florals, flint, wet river stone, mild green herbs, and chalky mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of green apple, lemon pith, white peach, floral blossom, dried green herbs, and wet stone. This dry white is medium- to full-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very good right now, but I would love to see if this adds complexities perhaps with a few more years of bottle age.
Price: $120. I think there are better values out there, however I think the pricing here is partly due to the great reputation of the producer as well as how rare white wines are from Nuits Saint Georges. As one of their rarest and top bottlings, I can see why this is priced the way it is.