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Domaine Huber-Verdereau, Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chênes”Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2018 (750mL)

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Domaine Huber-Verdereau, Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chênes” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2018 (750mL)

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Today brings an exceptionally rare and regal delicacy for red Burgundy collectors: a globally revered, should-be-Grand Cru site; a small biodynamically farmed estate; and an allocation that takes scarcity to new levels. This is Huber-Verdereau’s impossible-to-find “Clos des Chênes.” Generally speaking, you’re not getting your hands on this Volnay Premier Cru unless you’re knocking on Thiébault Huber’s cellar door or rubbing shoulders with the most fanatical, in-the-know collectors.


The man has only crafted it a few times (no one seems to know how many, most don’t even know it exists) and if a small parcel does exit his cellar, it’s almost impossible to track down. We’ve succeeded just once before today, when their boutique importer granted us the entire allocation of 2016s—a meager 120 bottles that vanished before dinner time. So here we are, with what barely qualifies as a “parcel” of his 2018s (none of the ’17 could be imported; older vintages are practically phantoms on the market), and we couldn’t be more fired up about it. Coming from Huber’s 0.18-hectare sliver of old vines, this lush, explosive, and exceedingly rare Pinot Noir epitomizes a fabled 1er Cru terroir as seen through a 100% biodynamic lens. Once this sells out, that’s it, and for those thinking about waiting until the next vintage...I wouldn’t hold your breath! 




Thiébault Huber was on the sommelier scene decades ago when he heard vignerons discussing the shift to organics and, on rare occasions, biodynamics. While pouring, talking wine, and smiling, he logged mental notes and, from that, formed ideas—ideas that largely shape the way he runs his tiny estate today. Further influences came from Jean-Michel Deiss of Alsace’s cultish Domaine Marcel Deiss and his globally renowned neighbor in Volnay, Frederic Lafarge, where he witnessed the enormous benefits of biodynamics. Because of this, he saw organic farming as a mere stepping stone, a transitional phase towards the greater goal of complete biodynamics, which he achieved in 2005. Coincidentally, that is the same year his wines caught the attention of Burgundy icon Allen Meadows, and from there, his stock surged. Since then, Robinson and Bergman have discovered the magic being created here, but there’s one underlying problem: His top wines are practically untraceable in America!


Huber is from Alsace, and the Verdereau part of his domaine name came from his maternal grandfather, a vigneron in Volnay who retired in 1974 with no one in the family to take over his vineyards. The family held onto them, renting them out to others until Thiébault eventually made his way to Volnay and re-established the domaine in the early ‘90s with just a couple of prized hectares. Today, Huber has meticulously expanded to 9.5 hectares of vines spread across numerous appellations, including Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Pommard, and his home base in Volnay. 


The village of Volnay produces among the most elegant and gorgeously perfumed reds not only in Burgundy, but the world. And while Volnay is home to dozens of Premier Crus, there is near-universal agreement that five ancient vineyards—Premier Crus “Clos des Chênes,” “Taillepieds,” “Caillerets,” “Champans,” and “Santenots”—produce the village’s top wines. These are Volnay’s unofficial “Grand Crus.” Furthermore, if one seeks the ultimate detail, finesse, and intoxicating Pinot Noir aromatics in a village revered for such traits, many whittle this already-short list down to Clos des Chênes. Huber’s holdings here are minuscule: He only has 0.18 hectares of 66-year-old vines to work with. In the winery, he de-stems 100% and his grapes slowly ferment in concrete vessels after a brief cold maceration. The resulting wine is then transferred into French barrels, 20% new, for 14 months. It is bottled without filtration. 


The golden rule for Huber-Verdereau’s 2018 Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chênes” is that patience is a virtue: After 60 minutes in a decanter, it enters a new realm of beauty. This is lush, hedonistic, ultra-pure Burgundy that will make lovers of high-end Chambolle and Sonoma Coast Pinot weak in the knees. The nose funnels out framboise liqueur and crème de cerise before revealing high-toned aromas of spiced plum, damp violets, crushed rock, cinnamon, orange peel, pomegranate seed, and licorice. For Premier Cru Pinot Noir, the palate is medium-plus bodied and loaded with silky, dark-fruited layers that glide into a mineral-studded finish. It will be nearly impossible to stop yourself from  pulling the cork on one now, so just make sure you buy multiple bottles because I cannot wait to see what this will do starting in 2023. Cheers!




Domaine Huber-Verdereau, Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chênes” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France 2018 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionCôte de Beaune, Burgundy
  • Sub-RegionVolnay / 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
  • SoilLimestone & Clay
  • FarmingCertified Biodynamic
  • BlendPinot Noir
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 20% New

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionCôte de Beaune, Burgundy
  • Sub-RegionVolnay / 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
  • SoilLimestone & Clay
  • FarmingCertified Biodynamic
  • BlendPinot Noir
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 20% New
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2028+
  • Decanting60 Minutes
  • PairingRoasted Quail w/ Calvados Sauce