Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Domaine Arlaud Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Aux Cheseaux 2011

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If endless vineyard division can reveal an ideological adulation of terroir, Morey-St-Denis is poster child for this over-ambition. Of its 20 premier crus, only three are larger than three hectares and there has long been criticism that most lack distinction from their neighbours. Add to this the fact that many premier crus have been absorbed into the Grand Cru Clos de la Roche or Clos St. Denis, and one wonders what premier cru means in Morey.

The Premier Crus of Morey

Clive Coates divides Morey’s premier crus into four categories: 1) those upslope of Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche, 2) those immediately underneath those two vineyards, 3) those just north of the village of Morey and 4) those just south of the village. Aux Chesaux belongs to the second category, which is considered to be the highest quality group of premier cru vineyards in Morey. Arlaud is in particular known for their superb Aux Cheseaux (from the premier cru portion of the vineyard, which sits upslope from the village level portion).

Arlaud’s approach in the cellar is to de-stem 100%, cold-macerate for 4-6 days, ferment in oak (30-100% new) and bottle after 12-16 months after a single racking and no fining or filtration. The style is modern and focused on purity of fruit, which they seem to achieve on a consistent basis.

The Wine

This Aux Cheseaux is true to Morey’s reputation for elegance: a beautifully pure wine, with candied cherries, rhubarb and strawberry requiring little prompting to produce olfactory excitement. On the palate, this is charming and delicious, reflective of the earlier drinking 2011’s. Fresh and fruity with a long finish and a subtle, hidden structure that gives the wine dimension. A wonderful wine on its own (for the love of fruit) or with food (which allows its earthy side to come through).

Excellent
~$120 at Kits Wine

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