2020 Domaine Follin-Arbelet, Aloxe-Corton “Clos du Chapitre” Premier Cru, Red Burgundy, France.
One of my favorite wines from the Kermit Lynch 50th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting in San Francisco was Domaine Follin-Arbelet’s gorgeous 2020 Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru Clos du Chapitre red Burgundy and a bottle I really recommend for collectors and savvy Pinot Noir fans, there’s few bargains in premium Burgundy these days, but this wine is, without question. The dark ruby 2020 Clos du Chapitre shines beautifully in the glass and the chalky, lightly floral nose, with a hint of flinty reduction leads to a surprisingly generous and silken palate that reveals black cherry, raspberry, red currant and candied orange fruits, along with subtle wood accents, mineral notes, rose petal, apple skin, loamy earth and snappy spices. The depth and nuances here keep you on your toes, this wine fascinates the senses and the mind with a delicate tension and expanding dimension with every sip, I can only imagine how much better it will get with age! Going back almost ten years now, I’ve enjoyed the wines of Follin-Arbelet, which I’ve been lucky enough to sample on many occasions, thanks to Kermit Lynch, and I must say this vintage, a richer and deeper year than most, is fabulous for this Domaine, allowing for some profound wines, such as their Corton Grand Cru and this magnificent effort, two of the best I’ve tried from them. The reds, all de-stemmed, at Follin-Arbelet are done with indigenous yeasts, very gentle handling, gravity flow and ultra soft pressing, with the use of used and neutral wood mainly.

The Domaine Follin-Arbelet, run by Franck and Christine Follin-Arbelet since 1993, is focused mainly around the vineyards of Aloxe-Corton (their hometown) and the Côte de Beaune, but they also have a small parcel in the famous Romanée Saint Vivant Grand Cru, which is their unicorn bottling. With a great collection of plots, with lots of old vines, including in Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses, Corton Grand Cru, Corton Bressandes Grand Cru, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru and the mentioned Romanée Saint Vivant Grand Cru, Follin-Arbelet makes a stellar set of wines, interestingly of which I previously mostly enjoyed their whites, especially the Pernand-Vergelesses offerings. The terroirs are classic with clay and limestone soils and all the vines are grown using sustainable methods and, as Kermit Lynch notes, without synthetic fertilizers or weed killers, working the soils regularly to aerate them and keep them healthy. Going on Berkeley’s famous importer and talent spotter says the vinifications, at Follin-Arbelet, are in the old-school style, fermenting slowly in open-top wooden vats, using only indigenous yeasts, and the wines are bottled in, he adds, all of their unadultered glory, unfined and unfiltered. Lynch continues that the wines here, and I agree from my decade of tasting them, are both pure and intense, they are deep with stony freshness, explosive with bright fruit, and framed with balanced structure, especially these latest releases. This wine, from organic vines, saw wood maceration and aging with just 20% new oak and was aged close to 23 months, all to highlight transparency and sense of place, it is utterly brilliant and with loads of sex appeal.
($110 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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