The Incredible Clos de la Chapelle
Every now and then, we taste wines from a producer that’s clearly Going Places—like the star student in a high school class, it’s painfully obvious that some domaines are driven in a fundamentally different way from their peers. The current incarnation of Clos de la Chapelle is clearly one of those estates—the praise keeps coming and it won’t be long until these are thought of (and priced with) wines like D’Angerville, Lafon and Lafarge as some of the top bottlings in Volnay.
That drive comes down to one person, their (American) owner, Mark O’Connell, who bought the domaine in 2011 and has poured money and time into elevating it from an historic (yet perhaps underperforming) producer with excellent holdings into one of the elite domaines in the Cote de Beaune. The winery now owns land in an array of the top vineyard sites in Volnay, Pommard and Corton and makes truly excellent renditions of each—with moderate whole cluster use, small amounts of new oak and brilliantly balanced ripeness.
This is a domaine that’s only been around in its current incarnation since 2011, and yet has already been a featured winery at La Paulee, with strong reviews from both Burghound and John Gilman. The original incarnation dates back to the middle of the 19th century, run by a member of the Boillot family up until the recent sale. The Clos de la Chapelle monopole was always considered to be one of the premier terroirs (it’s right next door to the Clos de la Bousse d’Or and there are records of Louis Pasteur buying 50 bottles of the 1858, so this is not a secret) but it’s mainly since the changeover that the wines have lived up to the promise of the land.
The domaine owns a total of 4 hectares of red and white vineyards, exclusively in Premier and Grand Cru sites and we’re excited to offer them for the first time today. Some of the wines, featured below, arrive early next month and still more arrive towards the end of the year (there’s a table at the end of this section with all of those wines). Although there are a number of different wines, quantities are limited on each one—and we’re selling them first come, first served.
Arriving ETA Early November:
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Corton Rognet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2013 750ML ($149.95) Buy Now: $119 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92 points “A relatively high-toned nose displays no such reductive notes as the fresh and cool red berry fruit aromas are mixed with background hints of earth and the sauvage. There is a lovely sense of energy to the powerful and concentrated broad-shouldered flavors that also possess a velvety mouth feel, all wrapped in a mildly rustic and dusty but clearly riper finish. This beauty should amply repay medium to perhaps even longer-term cellaring.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Corton Rognet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2014 750ML ($149.95) Buy Now: $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points “The Rognet in 2014 from Clos de la Chapelle was raised in one third new wood and included fifty percent whole clusters this year. These vines lie just above those of Jean Nicolas Méo on the slope. The wine really shows the elegant side of the vintage, wafting from the glass in a beautiful aromatic constellation of cherries, red currants, a superb base of minerality, a bit of gamebird, lovely Corton spice tones and a bit of new wood. On the palate the wine is pure, fullbodied and nascently complex, with fine transparency, lovely focus and grip and a very long, ripely tannic and tangy finish. There is a touch of stems here today, but these will become cinnamonlike down the road and just add to the spicy appeal of this lovely Corton. 20252075+.”
Burghound 93 points “Sweet Spot. A touch of oak sets off the mildly reduced nose though a note of menthol is evident in the background. There is excellent volume and concentration to the broad-shouldered and muscular flavors that brim with mouth coating dry extract before concluding in an overtly robust and slightly austere finish of outstanding depth and length. This is a classic Rognet that is presently quite compact and it is immediately evident that this is going to need every bit of a decade to unwind the firm tannic spine and 15 years would not surprise me. In a word, impressive.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Les Chanlins, Pommard Premier Cru 2011 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 92+ points “The domaine’s eighty-plus year-old vines in Chanlins have produced a stellar example of the 2011 vintage, as the wine offers up a superb bouquet of cherries, quince, woodsmoke, lovely minerality, cocoa, herb tones and just a touch of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bdoied, pure and very elegant (particularly for young Pommard), with a very good core of fruit, fine focus, ripe and suave tannins and great transparency on the long and youthful finish. Chanlins seems to often produce one of the most elegant examples of Pommard and this is certainly in evidence in the lovely 2011 from Domaine Clos de la Chapelle. 2020-2050.”
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding. Here too there is a real sense of refinement though as pretty as this is it cannot match its two Volnay stable mates in this regard. There are plenty of earth and underbrush nuances to the mineral-inflected, cool and pure red currant, cherry and spice aromas. There is good power and intensity to the textured, broad-shouldered and mineral-driven flavors that possess a sophisticated mouth feel, all wrapped in a moderately austere but balanced and wonderfully persistent finish. This is definitely Pommard in basic character but refined Pommard.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Les Chanlins, Pommard Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points “The eighty-five yearold vines here have produced a very pretty and red fruity example of the vintage in 2014. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a classy blend of cherries, quince, a touch of blood orange, pigeon, woodsmoke and a gentle framing of cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied, complex and really very suave on the attack (particularly for a young Pommard!), with a fine core of fruit, fine grained tannins and a long, focused and tangy finish. This will be outstanding in the fullness of time! 20222060.”
Burghound 89-91 points “A much more deeply pitched nose is comprised by notes of violet, plum, black cherry and discreet floral hints. There is excellent volume to the suave and very rounded medium weight flavors that also exude a fine bead of minerality onto the dusty, persistent and mildly austere finish. This velvety effort should drink reasonably well after only 5 years and reward up to a decade of cellar time.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Grands Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($149.95) Buy Now: $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 92+ points “Another new addition in the cellar, there are only two casks this year of Grands Epenots due to the hail, but this is destined to be a reference point example of this fine vineyard in the years to come. The parcel is planted with forty to fifty year-old vines as well and offers up a superb and nicely reserved bouquet of red and black cherries, fine minerality, woodsmoke, gamebirds, herb tones, cedar and a touch of peonies in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and nicely structured, with a rock solid core, fine focus and grip and a long, tangy, ripely tannic finish. Fine, fine juice in the making. 2023-2060.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Grands Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) Buy Now: $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94+ points “The 2016 Grands Epenots from Domaine de la Chapelle is also a stellar young wine. The aromatic constellation delivers scents of red and black cherries, pigeon, woodsmoke, a very complex base of soil, espresso and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and potentially very, very complex, with a rock solid core, fine-grained tannins, outstanding focus and balance and a long, youthful and elegant finish. This is every bit as refined in profile as the Chanlins old vine bottling, and will probably just edge it out by a nose over their long lives in bottle. Simply great Pommard in the making! 2028-2065.”
Burghound 93 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. Here too there is enough wood to notice along with hints of menthol framing the overtly earthy and agreeably fresh aromas of black raspberry and cassis. The generously proportioned and fleshy big-bodied flavors possess excellent volume thanks to the abundant level of dry extract, all wrapped in a markedly structured, austere and backward finale. This is terrific but note well that it will not make for especially inviting early drinking.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle En Carelle, Volnay Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 pre-arrival special
Winery note “Deep ruby color with light garnet hues. Finesse and elegance on the nose, with aromas of small red ripe fruits, exotic spices and violets, with a touch of minerality. The palate is full and round, with a generous finish. Delicate and velvety tannins, with nice acidity and length on the finish. The Volnay appellation is found mid-slope in the Côte de Beaune, with Pommard to the north and Meursault to the south. Although there are no Grands Crus here, Volnay’s 30 Premiers Crus are unmatched. Always appreciated for their finesse and beautiful bouquet, Volnays are often regarded as being feminine. The vines for this cuvée are on average 45 years old. This square shaped, “carré = Carelle”, vineyard is located just below the beautiful 16th century chapel of Volnay.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle En Carelle, Volnay Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) Buy Now: $89 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 92+ points “The domaine’s vines in En Carelle are planted northsouth, which served to shelter the bunches a bit during the hail at the end of June and there was really quite moderate damage done here in 2014. The wine was raised in twenty percent new oak and these fiftyfive to sixty yearold vines have produced and excellent wine in this vintage4. The bouquet offers up scents of cherries, red plums, raw cocoa, gamebird, cedar and a lovely topnote of spices. On the palate the wine is fullish, pure and intensely flavored, with a velvety attack, a good core and a long, suavelytannic finish. Just a lovely wine. 20212060.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle ‘Clos de la Chapelle’, Volnay Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($149.95) Buy Now: $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points “The Clos de la Chapelle lies right next door to the Clos de la Bousse d’Or in the center of Volnay. At one point it was part of the Clos de la Bousse d’Or, but sometime back in the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries, the wall that separates it from the Clos de la Bousse d’Or was built, and it was already a separate vineyard by the time Louis Boillot purchased it in 1865. The 2010 is an absolutely stunning young bottle of Volnay, offering up a deep and classy nose of cherries, red plums, a touch of raw cocoa, vine-smoke, fresh herbs, a beautiful base of soil, a lovely touch of fresh nutmeg and a deft framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full-bodied, with beautiful transparency, bright, tangy acids, a sappy core of fruit, superb focus and balance and a very long, soil-driven and utterly refined finish that closes with superb grip and outstanding complexity. This is a magical first vintage for the domaine’s flagship wine and this is obviously going to be one of the top premier crus in the commune in the coming years. Do not miss this wine if you have a chance to latch onto a few bottles. Stunning juice. 2020-2060.
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93 points “The new addition of Taillepieds in the Clos de la Chapelle cellars hails from a parcel of forty to fifty year-old vines that lie between the rows of Domaines de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville, so very well-placed indeed. With the hail damage, there were only three casks of this wine this year, with one barrel being new oak. The wine is excellent and sappy on both the nose and palate, offering up a deep and complex nose of red and black cherries, gamebird, a complex base of soil, woodsmoke, fresh herbs and a deft framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, elegant and nicely reserved out of the blocks, with a fien core of fruit, ripe tannins and a long, nascently complex and very classy finish. This was one of the 2013s where the malo was late to finish and the wine had only been bottled a month prior to my visit. A superb new source for top flight Taillepieds! 2022-2060.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93 points “The Taillepieds bottling from Clos de la Chapelle was new in 2013. As readers may recall, this hails from a parcel of forty to fifty yearold vines that lie between the rows of Domaines de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville. The 2014 was another very short crop here, as they only produced three casks, whereas in a normal crop, they should have nine! The wine is superb in 2014, delivering a fine aromatic constellation of red berries, red plums, a beautifully complex base of soil tones, gamebirds, pretty spice notes and cedary wood. On the palate the wine is pure, fullbodied, complex and shows good stuffing at the core, with fine focus and grip and a moderately chewy finish. 20242060.”
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points “The 2016 Clos de la Chapelle was completely destemmed (as is the custom here for that wine), but the Taillepieds included fifty percent whole clusters this year. One of the three casks used for the elevage of the wine was new in 2016 and the wine has turned out beautifully as well. The bouquet delivers a fine blend of cassis, dark berries, espresso, currant leaf, a fien base of dark soil tones, gamebird and a fine, smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with ripe, well-integrated tannins, tangy acids and excellent focus and grip on the very long, poised and well balanced finish. This too is stellar in 2016! 2028-2075.”
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding. A cool, pure, ripe and airy nose combines notes of black cherry, raspberry, plum and a pretty array of floral elements. The exceptionally rich and generous middle weight plus flavors possess good power and punch before concluding in an intensely mineral-driven, youthfully austere and sneaky long finale. I would describe this as an unusually opulent Taillepieds but even so, it’s sufficiently backward as to make clear that at least moderate patience will be required.”
Other Wines, Arriving ETA December: