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Burgundy 2021 En Primeur: Domaine Joseph Voillot

In all the years we have known Domaine Voillot in Volnay, we have seen them experience some exceptionally small harvests due to the vagaries of the weather, but none more so than in 2021Etienne Chaix told us his average yield was less than 10 hl/ha!  However, he did offer an ironic perspective that no one else we spoke to in Burgundy mentioned:  Had it not been for the frost, 2021 would probably have been just a rather rainy year and the wines would not have been as good as they are.  In reducing the yields, the frost led to concentrated fruit with particularly elegant aromas and a more classical expression than we have seen here for some years, the epitome of the Volnay-style.

Neil Martin's 87-88 points awarded to the 2021 Volnay Vieilles Vignes may seem modest, but in the currency of Vinous' burgundy scores, this rates it as 'Excellent'.  More importantly, his tasting note is as enthusiastic as our own!  We found the same sweet fruit, with a sense of volume on the palate, a perfect rendition of Volnay terroir, with the most perfect, elegant tannins and a fine balance.

The Volnay 1er Cru 'Les Champans' had an exceptionally fine, chalky palate and lovely acidity.  Neil Martin's barrel score of 91-93 points puts this firmly in the 'Outstanding' category.  

Pommard 'Les Rugiens' offered darker, more earthy cherry, strawberry, chocolate and coffee aromas, followed by more chocolate and strawberry notes on the palate, all very finely delineated.  The trickiest of Voillot's wines to taste from cask, we think this will improve radically in bottle and could well be the star of the line-up.

Voillot is a true connoisseur's domaine, inexplicably overlooked by the market, but loved and respected by both the wine trade and critics, for the purity and elegance of the wines.  Quantities are extremely limited, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to order.

Offered en primeur, landing Autumn 2023.


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.     

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