“Its hard to believe that Ghislaine Barthod and Louis Boillot are 50. Apart from the fact that they don’t look it, it only seems the other day – rather than 20 years ago or more – that I called in to taste their wines…Louis was born in 1957 (Pierre (brother) in 1960, and there are three sisters) and finished his viticultural studies in 1978 – about the time his father’s estate was reaching respectable dimensions and beginning to domaine bottle seriously. He met Ghislaine at the Roi Chambertin (an annual village party that lasts for a long weekend) in 1983. In 1987 they jointly bought the rather grand, if somewhat dilapidated house they live in now. From the first time he began to have access to Ghislaine’s wines, Louis realised that things could be improved at Lucien Boillot et Fils. But he was in the minority. Both Lucien (father) and Pierre were content to rest with the mediocre…
In 2002, Louis decided to quit his father’s domaine. The following year yet another extension was made to the Chambolle cellars. Louis made his first independent vintage in 2003. His wine is now as good as Ghislaine’s. And while there is now a lot of similarity in the styles of the two, both seeking to bring elegance, intensity and fruit to the fore, Louis’ wines are more rugged, Ghislaine’s more sensual…
What took him so long to make the break? ‘I’ve got nothing against my father and my brother,’ he insists. ‘I didn’t want to be the cause of another family rift. But I wish I’d separated sooner. It’s certainly a relief.’ And what has he changed? ‘Lots of little details. The size of the harvest has been reduced. I no longer use herbicides. All the vineyards are ploughed. There are a lot of other nuances in the vinification.’ …
Some people are already middle-aged at 30. They stand on their dignity; they are already inflexible. Others, though 50, still have their youthful cheerfulness and the enthusiasm, exuberance and infinite curiosity of the younger generation. The best Burgundians, like Ghislaine Barthod and Louis Boillot, and the sources of the best wines, are in the second category.”
Wine Advocate 91-92 points: “Sweetly ripe morellos cherries such as one found in the corresponding 2006 fill the nose and mouth from Boillot’s 2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles, which also evinces an especially savory if elusive meatiness and the piquancy of fruit pits. Sappy and vibrant through to its long finish, this superb evocation of an under-rated site should be worth attending to for at least a decade.” WALouis Boillot Gevrey-Chambertain Evocelles 2010 ($69.95) Was $59 Now $49, 29 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points: “Bright ruby-red. Cassis and strong spicy oak on the nose; this initially reminded me of cabernet! Dense, rich and seamless, with almost grand cru-like volume and suave texture. Fully ripe but classically dry wine with fine-grained tannins and superb dark berry persistence. “Fully 70% of the grapes were affected by millerandage,” noted Boillot. “We’ve never seen that here.”” ST
Louis Boillot Gevrey-Chambertain 2008 ($49.95) Was $39 Now $33, 3+ cases available
Burghound 88-90 points: “Like the Fixin, this is unusually elegant with a pretty blend of upper and lower register aromas that include fresh red berry fruit with earth and underbrush nuances that also extend to the detailed, pure and very Gevrey-like medium-bodied flavors that possess both excellent depth and length on the vibrant and lingering finish. The old vine sap is in evidence and this is one to consider as it’s a fine villages.” BH
Louis Boillot Gevrey-Chambertain 2010 ($49.95) $39 special, 7 bottles available
Burghound 90-92 points: “This is also exceptionally fresh with cool, airy and layered aromas of both red and dark berry fruit, underbrush and pungent Gevrey-style earth. There is excellent cut and plenty of energy to the precise and stone-inflected flavors that possess an impressive amount of dry extract that confers a textured quality to the highly complex finish. Like the Grands Poisots, this is a first-rate villages.” BH
Louis Boillot Volnay Brouillards 2009 ($84.95) Was $69 Now $59, 20 bottles available
Burghound 90-92 points: “This is also wonderfully expressive with its mix of upper and lower register red berry fruits, earth and mineral hints that carry over to the rich but detailed medium-bodied flavors that also evidence plenty of minerality on the generous, balanced, long and relatively refined finish. This is actually rather powerful and while fine, it’s not quite as fine as the Les Angles yet makes up for this with the heightened sense of underlying tension.” BH
Louis Boillot Volnay Brouillards 2010 ($69.95) $59 special, 16 bottles available
Burghound 90-93 points: “There is also reduction here but it’s sufficiently mild to allow a glimpse at what appear to be ripe but cool red berry fruit and warm earth aromas. There is good richness to the pure and elegant medium-bodied flavors that possess both excellent volume and like the Les Angles, a silky mouth feel on the impressively long and complex finish. This is also a wine of contrasts as the silky mid-palate is juxtaposed against a firm and robust finale.” BH
Louis Boillot Volnay Grands Poisot 2009 ($49.95) Was $39 Now $33, 31 bottles available
Burghound 88-91 points: ‘OUTSTANDING’ “An elegant, pure, cool and airy nose offers up notes of very fresh wild red berries with a trace of crushed leaves that gives way to beautifully intense, minerally and delicious middle weight flavors that possess very fine tannins and impeccable balance on the sneaky long finish. Lovely quality at this level.” BH
Importer (Mannie Berk- Rare Wine Company) notes:
“As purity, expression and transparency increasingly dominate the discourse in Burgundy, the prices for wines from icons like Mugnier, Roumier and Rousseau have skyrocketed. But for every Mugnier or Rousseau, there are a handful of domaines who make wines of profound expression, but whose prices remain attractive. At the top of our list of such producers is Louis Boillot.
Louis Boillot’s emerging position in the Burgundy firmament is not accidental. Despite having created his domaine only a decade ago, he came armed with some of the oldest and best situated vineyards in Burgundy-thanks to four generations of Boillots having acquired prime sites in Volnay and Gevrey Chambertin. But in just one decade, Louis’ domaine has become one of the most admired small estates in the Côte d’Or. The turning point came in the mid-2000s, when he and his partner-the supremely talented Ghislaine Barthod-built a cave together in Chambolle-Musigny. This brought two of Burgundy’s most gifted winemakers together-working and tasting side by side-with the alchemy you’d expect. The vineyard management was also combined, with Louis responsible for not only his own vines, but those of Ghislaine as well.
It’s no wonder Ghislaine lets Louis take care of her vines. He’s a master with more than 30 years of experience-using no chemical fertilizers or weed killers, and meticulously pruning for balanced yields. His winemaking is equally timeless, featuring extended, gentle extractions and a limited use of new barrels. In the years since his move to Chambolle, there has been a wildly impressive advance in the stature of Boillot’s wines. It has been a change marked not by flash or dazzle, but by an inexorable march towards increasingly refined and transparent wines.
Today, as in the past, at the heart of his style is a profound respect for the terroir of his old vines. In Gevrey-Chambertin for example, his villages vines average over 50 years old, as do the vines for his premier cru-quality Evocelles. Louis’ Côte de Beaune vineyards are equally imposing, with 55+ year-old vines in the villages Volnay Grands Poisots. Also in Volnay, there are three premier crus: the supple Les Angles, the intense old-vine Brouillards and the esteemed Caillerets.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine the wines of so many great Burgundy terroirs slumbering in the same cellar. Between Louis and Ghislaine, there are 26 different cuvées, of which 17 are premier cru. Louis and Ghislaine’s son Clement promises to inherit both domaines one day, creating a single domaine of dizzying stature. The wines that Louis makes from his priceless vines are like Burgundy used to be: gentle, subtle, pure, precise and highly nuanced, their complexity and sensuality growing with age.”