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2011 Chambolle Musigny, Les Charmes, 1er Cru, Domaine de la Pousse d'Or
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Although Domaine de la Pousse D'Or has vineyards reaching back as far as the eighteenth century, it has only existed as it does today since 1964. It is a forward thinking estate and one which was instrumental in pioneering a new technique for evaporating excess water to re-balance the must, resulting in less need for chaptalisation. It is perhaps unsurprising to learn, in view of this, that the domaine is owned by a consortium of Australian shareholders.
La Pousse d'Or is located a few kilometres from Beaune, in the commune of Volnay. The 13 hectares of vineyard are spread among the communes of Volnay, Pommard and Santenay, each producing distinctive and stylish wines.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
The finest and most elegant red wines of the Côte de Beaune are grown in Volnay, a village which might be twinned with Chambolle- Musigny in the Côte de Nuits, for the high active chalk content in the soil and comparatively low clay content.Whereas in earlier times Volnay was made in a particularly light, early drinking style, these days there are many producers making wines which age extremely well. The best vineyards run either side of the RN73 trunk road.