I am sure that most people that belong to a wine club, show up to the shop, give their name and pick up their allotted parcel of wines. At the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, I find that I have to select my time judiciously, because I can be there longer than the time required to pick up two wines, and you don’t hear me complaining. I know that they have now figured out, that the strange guy with the sport coat and a fedora loves to talk about wines, and I do. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with open arms and the conversation began with a discussion of a restaurant. I hadn’t even got to the part of the shop where the tastings usually occur and one member of the staff had brought me a glass of wine and the bottles sans the Coravin apparatus, so that I may take my customary photo, even before tasting the wine.
With almost no fan-fare I was handed a glass of Domaine Monthelie-Douhairet-Porcheret Volnay 1er Cru En Champans 2015. Volnay is one of the heralded regions within the Cote de Beaune and there are thirty-five Premier Cru Vineyards that have stood the test of time in Volnay. Champans is located in the heart of Volnay and if one looks at the map of the region with all the vineyards penciled in, one wonders how anyone can keep it all in order and make sense of it. I think because of this quirk, the entire area of Burgundy is sometimes avoided by some wine lovers, who feel that they can find Pinot Noir wines in more easily understood areas. My experience is in retail (not wine) and I can appreciate and take the time to try to decipher the chaos of Burgundy; by the way the wines of Volnay have always been described as delicate with vibrant tannins and that is so true, and until one actually tries a true Burgundian wine, the idea that all Pinot Noir wines are the same is quickly shattered.
The Domaine has a storied three-hundred-year history in the region and like some family business there have been disagreements and changes and the addition of new blood. This Domaine I would consider quite affordable for the grade of wines that they produce and considering that we are talking about Burgundy. Champans is a perfect example of how most of the wine producers own their plots of vines, as they tend to stretch up the hillside and the terrain and soil as they go up the hill changes quite considerably, so most utilize this blended terroir to showcase the wines. They use the same work ethic and concept to produce all of their assorted wines. The fruit is hand picked and placed in small crates to avoid compressing the crops, and all the grapes are de-stemmed. The wines are aged for eighteen months in the classic Burgundy barrels and ten percent is always new. To immediately start off with this wine was wonderful and all I could do was marvel at the dirt, my way of admiring the terroir that was instantly picked up from the nose, the taste and that wonderful lingering aftertaste. It is probably a good thing that they took the Coravin away from the bottle, otherwise I may have been tempted to just pour myself another tasting or even a third. In fact, I would have been perfectly happy if that was the only wine I taste on this particular trip.