A Star Rises in Volnay
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.
The drive that is pushing them to greatness comes down to one person, their (American) owner, Mark O’Connell. He bought the domaine in 2011 and has poured money and time into elevating it from an historic (yet perhaps underperforming) producer with excellent holdings to 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 and has received 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.