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Volnay

Volnay, perched on the hill of Chaignot high up in the Côte De Beaune, occupies a narrow and steeply sloping site as if to allow more space to the vines. The hill itself is oriented slightly differently from the general run of the country so that the vines face south-east rather than east. These vineyards have been valued and exploited for centuries. Long before the revolution, the harvests of Volnay went to the Knights of Malta, the Abbeys of Saint-Andoche d’Autun and Maizières, or to the Dukes of Bourgogne and to their successors, the Kings of France. The style of this red Pinot Noir wine was fixed as early as the 18th century. The Volnay appellation is twinned with Volnay-Santenots, grown in neighbouring Meursault on ground equally suited to the Pinot Noir grape.

Volnay's oolitic limestone has a superficial similarity to the reddish igneous rock (porphyry) found in the Morvan district. It is pink in colour with pale green inclusions and overlain by banks of schist. At the top of the slope, this limestone predominates. Lower down we find white, chalky-textured argovien limestone. Lower still are reddish Bathonien limestones, pebbly and ferruginous. The soils at the foot of the Volnay slope are deeper and more gravelly. Altitude is between 230 and 280 metres.

Volnay, admired for its delicacy, its sap, and its bouquet, has always been thought of as the most feminine of Burgundy red wines. Though certain of its terroirs modify this judgement with more vigorous and muscular versions, Volnay truly does stand out among the red wines of the Côte De Beaune like the lipstick imprint of a kiss... The colour varies from bright ruby to a light garnet. Its aromas are of violet, gooseberry, cherry, and - with age - spices, game and cooked prune. Volnay has an immediate appeal which, added to a slight natural precocity, means it can open fully while still relatively young. The attack is fresh, the finish is warm. Drinking this wine, one seems to bite into a fresh fruit and breathe in its heady aroma.

Volnay's velvety femininity is matched by its great aromatic intensity. This makes it an ideal partner for sophisticated poultry dishes, slowly roasted and glazed, which can bathe in the fruit and spice aromas of the wine. Better still, especially for the premiers crus, is feathered game, stewed, slowly braised, or simply roasted. In this company the opulence and meaty texture of Volnay work wonders. For the more adventurous, it might accompany a couscous or a tagine with meat or poultry or even both. The intensity of Volnay allows it to partner distinctly flavoured cheeses.
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