An interesting tasting of Volnay (Burgundy) held at London wine
merchant Roberson Wine
village of Volnay in Burgundy has a reputation for making elegant
Burgundies. Indeed, the wines can show the sort of elegance and
ethereal quality that Chambolle Musigny is known for. They've been
described as the Chambolle-Musignys of the Côte de Beaune
When the Côte was classified in 1860, Volnay didn't get any Grand
Cru sites. However, 54% of the vineyard area is of Premier Cru
level, which is unusually high. With the exception of Beaune, this
is the highest in Burgundy.
Altogether there are 207 hectares of Volnay, with 118 hectares of
1er cru vineyards.
sort of tasting, focusing on the wines of just one village, is
interesting, but it is too small a sample to be able to draw any
conclusions about the sorts of characteristics of Volnay generally.
The difficulty is that the terroir effects are expressed in tandem
with the growers style, the influence of winemaking and the effect
of the vintage conditions. It was nice that we were largely tasting
mature wines. So often in the wine trade while you taste broadly,
you tend to taste just very young wines.
first two wines were from the same vineyard, Frémiets, a middling
1er Cru vineyard on the border with Pommard. Pommard has more clay,
which results in bigger wines. Frémiets has strong, shaley stones
and not as much lime as many other vineyards, and this results in
more elegant wines.
is an important family in Volnay. Jean Boillot had two sons,
Jean-Marc and Henri. In the 1980s they were brought into the family
business, and there was a slight family rift because Jean-Marc
wanted to change the direction of the Domaine. In 1984 when Henri
arrived, Jean-Marc left to work as head winemaker with Olivier
Leflaive. Since then he has gone off on his own.
Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Frémiets 2001
This was a hail-affected vintage with yields down to 10 hl/ha.
Lovely aromatics: sweet ripe cherry and berry fruit with some warm
spiciness. Slightly exotic. The palate is richly fruited but elegant
with some meaty, spicy notes behind the rich, vibrant fruit.
Expressive and lovely, for current drinking. 94/100
Volnay 1er Cru Frémiets 2006
Spicy and quite dense with a savoury edge. Cherryish and quite
herby. Angular with firm tannins and perhaps a subtle hint of
mustiness. Tough. 88/100
Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Pitures 1996
Lovely mineral, savoury cherry core to this with bright
herb-tinged red fruits. Quite drying and savoury. Evolving really
nicely with lots of personality, and will probably evolve more.
Pousse d'Or domaine was started in 1964 by Gerard Potel, but the
ownership changed in 1997, when it was half owned by Potel and half
by an Aussie consortium. This wine is a declassified 1er Cru
Caillerets because of a discrepancy in the paperwork.
d'Or Volnay Caillerets 1997
Nicely aromatic: sweet cherry fruit nose is perfumed with some
sappy notes and spicy warmth. The palate is juicy, spicy and fresh
with very nice herby cherry and berry fruit. Drinking well now.
Bouley Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes 1995
The first bottle opened was very stinky, so we opened another.
The second bottle is fresh, bright, cherryish and spicy with some
earthy notes and minerality. It's fading but still quite attractive.
Volnay 1er Cru Santenots 1992
Santenots is actually in Meursault, the next door commune, but
when red wines are made here, they count as Volnay. Deep coloured
and a bit cloudy with some browning. The palate is earthy and
mineral with savoury animal and soy sauce notes. It's dead. NR
Montille Volnay 1er Cru En Champains 1999
Fine, elegant restrined raspberry and cherry fruit on the nose.
The palate shows silky cherry fruit and notes of herbs and spice.
Very attractive and pure with lovely structure. Classic. 95/100
Volnay 1er Cru Clos Chateau des Ducs 1999
Aromatic and spicy on the nose with ripe cherry fruits. The
palate is fresh and structured with subtle herby notes, some juicy
cherry fruit and nice structure. Good acidity and structure. Lovely.
Volnay 1er Cru Santenots 1990
Quite deep coloured. Spicy and savoury with some warm, earthy
notes. Savoury and grippy with nice cherry and berry fruit, as well
as some tertiary notes. Nicely structured with a drying finish.
held at Roberson Wine, 348 Kensington High St, London
wines of Comtes Lafon
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