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Burgundy 2020 En Primeur: Domaine Joseph Voillot, Volnay

Etienne Chaix has produced the most wonderful, classical wines in 2020 at Domaine Joseph Voillot, with the same sense of poise and balance as those made by his uncle, Jean-Pierre Charlot, over the last twenty years.  There is plenty of concentration in this vintage but, as ever here, the style leans towards the ethereal, with exceptionally pure and finely-delineated fruit.  Neal Martin is a great fan of Voillot and describes the 2020s variously as possessing "entrancing purity" (Pommard les Epenots 1er Cru, 91-93 points) and as "very refined and classy" (Volnay Les Champans 1er Cru, 92-94 points).  For us, the wines defy scores and are just the most wonderful expression of the weightlessness and finesse of classic Côte de Beaune reds.

To understand more about what makes this under-the-radar domaine in Volnay so highly respected by the critics and fellow winemakers alike, read our profile of Domaine Joseph Voillot, below.

The very old, low-yielding vines at Voillot produce a small crop in even the most propitious years, but in 2021 the harvest was woefully small.  We expect the wines to become extremely scarce over the next few years (listed as they are in the best restaurants and finest cellars around the world, as far afield as Japan!), so do please take this opportunity to add them to your cellar.

Landing autumn 2022.

Domaine Joseph Voillot, Volnay

Producer Profile

Domaine Joseph Voillot, Volnay

Domaine Joseph Voillot is a favourite domaine of ours, producing understated, elegant wines, which are classical in the best sense.  Recently-retired Jean-Pierre Charlot is a winemaker's winemaker, widely respected and a mentor to many starry names in the region.  He is equally respected by several of the most influential critics...and yet the domaine remains (just) below the radar, in-part due to its size and the small amount of wine produced.

We first visited here in the late 1990s to taste the '96 vintage.  Jean-Pierre had recently taken over from his father-in-law, Joseph Voillot.   He is is a gruff but genial bear of man, a rugby fanatic whose stoutness and no-nonsense approach always seems at odds with his elegant, ethereal wines.  For many years, he lectured at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune and many of the current generation were taught by him.  Since 2016 he has been training his nephew, Etienne Chaix, to take over and in recent vintages, Etienne seems to have really found his stride (although Jean-Pierre still checks in on a daily basis!).

The winery and cellar are in the middle of Volnay, a few metres from two great bastions of the village, the church and Le Cellier Volnaysien, one of the most traditional Burgundian restaurants on the Côte d'Or.  The domaine's 9 hectares of vines are mostly in Volnay and in neighbouring Pommard and are notably old, with even the village Volnay boasting an average vine age of 50 years.  These old vines tend to give low yields, even in the best years.  Voillot also own vines in Meursault and Beaune 

After total destemming (no whole bunch fermentation is used here) the harvest is put into vats to macerate for between 14 and 18 days on average.  White grapes are pressed whole.  After moderate pressing, alcoholic fermentation occurs in vats, with wild yeasts particular to each parcel, retaining the identity of each terroir.  Daily pigeage and remontage is practised at the start of the fermentation.  Between 10 and 15% new barrels are used each year.     

RED 2020 6 cases Joseph Voillot - Beaune Les Coucherias 1er cru 75cl £240 per case of 6 Joseph Voillot
Beaune Les Coucherias 1er cru
2020 / 6 cases / 75cl
£240 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"The 2020 Beaune Aux Coucherias 1er Cru has a pure, quite perfumed bouquet with red cherries and crushed strawberry fruit. The one-third new oak is nicely integrated here. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins, dark berry fruit with hints of black olive and balsamic, moderate length, though perhaps a little rustic. 87-89 points" Neal Martin,"An overtly spicy and moderately cool yet ripe nose freely reveals its aromas of red currant, raspberry, violet and a hint of just turned earth. There is evident minerality suffusing the generously proportioned medium weight flavors that tighten up on the lingering finale. This is very Beaune and a wine that should drink well young but also with up to a decade of aging. 90 points."
RED 2020 1 case Joseph Voillot - Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru 75cl £440 per case of 6 Joseph Voillot
Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru
2020 / 1 case / 75cl
£440 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"The 2020 Pommard les Epenots 1er Cru, which has no new oak, has a ripe, expressive nose with red cherries, crushed strawberry and a touch of incense. Fine delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy, silky opening - almost Volnay-like in style. Entrancing purity here with candied orange peel on the sweet and generous finish. This will be difficult to resist in its youth. 91-93 points" Neal Martin,
RED 2020 3 cases Joseph Voillot - Pommard Les Rugiens 1er Cru 75cl £460 per case of 6 Joseph Voillot
Pommard Les Rugiens 1er Cru
2020 / 3 cases / 75cl
£460 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"The 2020 Pommard Les Rugiens 1er Cru, matured with 25% new oak, has a tightly-wound bouquet with black cherries, raspberry coulis, undergrowth and quite a strong saline influence. The palate is medium-bodied with a concentrated opening, a mixture of red and black fruit, fine acidity with a lilting, very cohesive finish and peppery aftertaste. 92-94 points" Neal Martin,
RED 2020 3 cases Joseph Voillot - Volnay Les Champans 1er Cru 75cl £320 per case of 6 Joseph Voillot
Volnay Les Champans 1er Cru
2020 / 3 cases / 75cl
£320 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"Cask sample. Mid cherry. Peppery dark-red fruit. Marked acidity, just enough flesh to balance. A tight, energetic and sinewy wine that becomes more and more scented in the glass. This builds to a real beauty of balance, it is tight, fine-boned, delicious and not to be rushed. 13.5%. Drink 2027 – 2042. 18 points" (JH)------"The 2020 Volnay Les Champans 1er Cru, matured in 20% new oak, has an expressive and quite open, floral bouquet with red cherries, undergrowth, crushed strawberry and a touch of black tea. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity, harmonious and poised with good substance towards the finish. This is very refined and classy. 92-94 points" Neal Martin,

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