Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard takes its name from the marriage of Richard Fontaine to Laurence Gagnard, the daughter of Jacques Gagnard of Domaine Gagnard-Delagrange. Like many estates in Burgundy, Fontaine-Gagnard’s history is inextricably linked with generations of families that have intermarried, divided vineyards and sometimes reunited disparate vineyards and estates into new properties. Laurence inherited part of her father’s estate, which is now the estate she and her husband own and operate. Fontaine-Gagnard has 20 acres mostly in Chassagne-Montrachet with premier cru parcels in Pommard and Volnay. There are also grand cru parcels in Le Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet and Criots-Batard-Montrachet. Especially noteworthy is the estate’s Criots-Batard-Montrachet, since it comes from a vineyard that includes just 5 acres. Clive Coates has called Fontaine-Gagnard “one of the very best sources” for Criots-Batard-Montrachet. The estate produces a total of 36,000 bottles a year.
Volnay is a small appellation with just 904 vineyard acres and a town of fewer than 500 residents. Nevertheless, to Burgundy enthusiasts, it's a jewel. Clive Coates calls Volnay “one of the most delightful wines and one of the most rewarding communes in the Côte d’Or.” Robert M. Parker Jr. described Volnay as “the queen of the Côte de Beaune.” Volnay has always been appealing. In the 13th and 14th centuries the powerful Dukes of Burgundy acquired land there and built chateaux. The medieval town sits on the hillside above the vineyards and the appellation is restricted to red wines made of Pinot Noir. Though there are no Grands Crus, there are 35 Premiers Crus. Some reviewers say the lighter soil of Volnay, compared with Pommard to the north, makes Volnay wines more delicate and elegant than wines from neighboring appellations. Robert M. Parker Jr. wrote that Volnay has a “high-quality level of winemaking…The top Volnays possess an immense, seductive fruitiness and lushness…”
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.