Domaine Robert Arnoux Lachaux is a wonderfully boutique Burgundian wine producer, now run by 6th generation Charles Lachaux. Many winemakers in Burgundy have adapted modern vineyard and winemaking techniques to keep up with new world competition, however, Lachaux is very determined to continue with more natural methods to produce wines that are in tune with their surroundings. The whole estate covers six different villages, most of which are in the Côtes de Nuits, with a mixture of Regional, Village level, Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards all managed with an organic and biodynamic approach. The production is really quite small scale which means that Lachaux’s wines are always in demand and not readily available to buy. With a focus on Pinot Noir production, the wines made are usually incredibly concentrated and polished, with bags of potential for ageing.
Pascal Lachaux took over production of the winery from his father in law, Robert Arnoux, who died in 1995. Both had different outlooks on how wine should be approached with Arnoux favouring a more wild and free approach to the vineyards and Lachaux following a more meticulous and careful plan for how the vines should be cared for. The latter approach had a more positive effect on the wines and the reputation of the Arnoux-Lachoux brand improved considerably. They developed a reputation for elegance and finesse with good concentration of fruit thanks to low yields and well-tended vines.
The Domaine has since been taken over by the next generation Arnoux-Lachaux with Charles, the eldest son of Pascal and Florence, taking over management in 2015.
Arnoux-Lachaux offers surprising value for the quality but this may be changing gradually as Charles develops his skills and obtains a more commercial following. It is well-known that he has been mentored by the infamous Lalou Bize-Leroy which I’m sure will encourage an interest amongst her followers.
The change in management has created a sense of instability in style, not necessarily quality, which may make it harder to understand where these wines are going. The 2010 vintages listed below have now reached drinking age but are from before Charles’ time. With changes to both the growing and wine making techniques the wines are evolving and Charles seems determined to put his own stamp on this Domaine focusing on honing a more precise sense of terroir from the vineyards. Change can be positive though and a fresh pair of eyes on a well-established Domaine can produce insight others may have missed. A before and after tasting may be a worthwhile experiment.
2013 was a good vintage for red and an above average vintage for white wines in Burgundy