Weekend Vinopolpick- December 14th

December 14, 2013

Perched on the hill of Chaignot high up in the Côte de Beaune, occupying a narrow and steeply sloping site, Volnay officially gained AOC status in 1937. But these vineyards have been valued and exploited for centuries, often providing the preferred wines and country homes of royalty throughout the years.  Long before modern wine sales, the harvests of Volnay went to the Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France.

Situated between Pommard (famous for its powerful reds) and Meursalt (home to rich whites), Volnay wines have a character distinct from that of its prestigious neighbors. Over the centuries, the wines of Volnay and Pommard have alternately shared popularity and comparison. When silkier, smoother wines are in demand, Volnay takes the center stage; with its typically light and aromatic wines that have generally less overt tannin than Pommard.

Volnay is rich in quality climats. With 30 Premier Crus in this small area, more than half of the Volnay vineyards are designated as Premier Cru. As with most of Burgundy’s prized vineyards, the Premier Crus are located on the mid-slope of the Chaignot hill, taking advantage of a tight cluster of high quality terroir. Here, they benefit from well-drained, limestone-rich soils, and, a slightly different orientation of the hill that faces the vineyards south-east as opposed to east like the rest of the appellation– helping the vines to capitalize on the morning and early afternoon sunlight. The highest quality of the Volnay premier crus is the cluster lying at mid-slope starting just south of the village: Clos des Chênes and Taillepieds, ascending uphill from the road, and Caillerets, Champans, and Santenots rolling gently downhill from it. Santenots itself is an anomaly in the Burgundy appellation system, technically residing in Meursault, the land in this area is suited for reds and whites so both are produced, with the reds labeled as either Volnay or Volnay- Santenots; the whites- Meursault.  With the same elegance retained in all Volnay wines, Santenots is prized for its stronger tannic structure and the age-worthy wines resulting.

While Pommard is stereotyped for its masculinity, the keyword for Volnay is elegance. The winemaking decisions of a given grower will exert a significant influence on the style of the resulting wine, and Volnays can cover a lot of stylistic ground depending on the producer; but the ideal expression of Volnay will almost always center on finesse and complexity more than on power or muscle. Volnay is an area in Burgundy where true value can be found. It has an immediate appeal which, added to its quick development in the bottle, means Volnay wines can be fully open and enjoyed while still relatively young. Its velvety feminine style is coupled with an aromatic intensity, explaining why Volnay is often described as the “Queen of Burgundy”.

In Stock Now:

Prieur Volnay Clos Santenots 2005 ($119.95) $89 special 1 bottle available
Burghound 91-94 points 
“completely different nose with fruit that runs toward the black and plum side of the aromatic spectrum nuanced by hints of Asian spice and warm earth that can also be found on the lacy, detailed and pure flavors that culminate in a linear and distinctly ripe yet velvety finish. This is a big Volnay but one that remains impeccably balanced and all one needs is a good cellar and ample patience.”

Pousse D’Or Volnay Clos Audignac 2006 ($119.95) $99 special 1 bottle available
Burghound 91 points
 “This too possesses a wonderfully layered nose but here the aromatic profile runs more to the floral and earthy side with dark pinot fruit sliding into rich, full and distinctly more powerful flavors that are tautly muscular in character while culminating in a long and sappy finish. This doesn’t have anywhere near the same degree of finesse but it’s bigger, longer and possesses even more depth.”

Pousse D’Or Volnay Clos Audignac 2009 ($149.95) $119 special 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points 
“The 2009 Volnay Clos d’Audignac is the most open and inviting of these 2009s today. Layers of rich, textured fruit flow across the palate in stunning style. Hints of goudron and licorice add complexity to the dark, jammy fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2039. ”

Pousse D’Or Volnay En Caillerets 2009 ($139.95) $89 special 2+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “The 2009 Volnay En Caillerets bursts from the glass with a huge, explosive bouquet. Blackberries, blueberries, hard candy and spices are just a few of the notes that emerge from this layered, intense Burgundy. There is plenty of inner tension here, in fact the Caillerets appears to be holding back a lot of its potential. It is a dazzling wine though, and one built for the long haul. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2049.”Roche de Bellene Volnay Pitures 1er Cru 2009 ($49.95) $41.90 special 10 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 89 points
 “Bright dark red. Complex aromas of raspberry, leather, smoke and flowers. Creamy-sweet but a bit unforthcoming, with pepper and menthol notes currently dominating red fruits. Just a tad tough today, with a slight dry edge to the finish. An awkward showing today for this very ripe wine.”

Lucien Le Moine Volnay Clos des Chenes 2007 ($119.95) $79 special 3 bottles available
Burghound 90 points
 “Here the nose is more complex if less elegant with sauvage notes that add nuance to the mostly red berry fruit aromas that precede rich, textured and more precise middle weight flavors blessed with better extract levels that do a fine job of buffering the notably firmer tannins.”

Montille Volnay Les Champans 2009 ($119.95) $99 special 5 bottles available
Burghound 92 points
 “This offers a notable step up in aromatic breadth with intense floral nuances as well as earth, wet stone, underbrush and a hint of spice. The rich, powerful and focused flavors possess plenty of dry extract that confers a velvety texture to the mid-palate yet the moderately austere finish is quite fine, indeed almost delicate. A lovely effort that should age beautifully.”

Pousse D’Or Volnay Bousse D’Or 2009 ($149.95) $119 special 20 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points 
“The 2009 Volnay Clos de la Bousse d’Or presents a wild, almost unrestrained expression of Volnay. It is a sumptuous wine graced with stunning beauty in its opulent fruit. This shows marvelous detail and clarity with palate staining intensity. Despite its richness, there is plenty of vibrancy and freshness. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2049”

Louis Boillot Volnay Brouillards 2009 ($84.95) $69 special 18 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.”

Lafon Volnay Santenots du Milieu 1er Cru 2009 ($229.95) $189 special 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points
 “The 2009 Volnay-Santenots is a wine of breathtaking finesse and elegance. Impossibly silky on the palate, the Santenots impresses for its vivid texture, nuance and precise voice. All of the elements flow across the palate with stunning grace, building beautifully towards the multi-dimensional finish. This is a flat-out great wine from Dominique Lafon. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2034.”

Henri Boillot Volnay Caillerets 2009 ($169.95) $135 special 10 bottles available
Burghound 93 points
 “Very mild reduction suppresses the red berry fruit somewhat but the notes of mocha, plum, stone and spice still shine through. The rich, minerally and impressively concentrated flavors brim with dry extract that buffers the solid tannic spine on the elegant, pure and balanced finish. Lovely.”

Louis Boillot Volnay Grands Poisots 2009 ($49.95) $39 special 14 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.”

Marquis D’Angerville Volnay Fremiets 2010 ($149.95) $119 special 14 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-95 points 
“The 2010 Volnay Les Fremiets is all crushed rocks, graphite, minerals and wet stones. With time in the glass the fruit gradually begins to emerge. Sweet red fruit, mint and freshly cut flowers are some of the nuances in the glass, but in the end the Fremiets remains decidedly cool and inward. A pointed, chiseled finish continues the theme to its logical conclusion. Readers will need to be especially patient here. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2030.”

Matrot Volnay 1er Cru Santenots 2010 ($64.95) $49 special 20 bottles available
Burghound 89-90 points
 “This is both riper and more elegant with a lovely and beautifully layered blend of red currant, plum, spice and earth. There is good mid-palate density to the suave, even opulent flavors that exude a fine minerality on the equally spicy and persistent finish. While the Matrot style is for reds that will be agreeable when they’re young, this will also be capable of rewarding 3 to 5 years of cellar time.”

Comte Armand Volnay Fremiets 2010 ($139.95) $109 special 12 bottles available
Burghound 91-93 points
 “Sweet spot Outstanding…This is more elegant still with a high-toned, pure and exceptionally fresh nose of mineral-inflected rose petal, stone and wild red berry fruit aromas. The equally mineral-driven, energetic and beautifully well-detailed medium-bodied flavors possess pain staining intensity, all wrapped in the dusty, firm, focused, balanced and lingering finish. This is a really lovely effort and Leroux noted that “the 2010 is the best Frémiets that I have ever made…91-93”

Faiveley Volnay Santenots 2009($99.95) $69 special 18 bottles available
Burghound 91-94 points
 “Quite deeply colored. An earthy and very ripe (though not surmature) nose of red currant, plum and a hint of black cherry merges into noticeably earthy and full-bodied flavors that are wonderfully generous and impressively concentrated possess ample amounts of dry extract that buffers the extremely serious and strikingly persistent finish. This should be gorgeous in time.”Faiveley Volnay Santenots 2010 ($84.95) $69 special 13 bottles available
Burghound 90-93 points OUTSTANDING
 “Very deep ruby. An explosive and highly complex nose offers up aromas of raspberry and cherry liqueur along with hints of lavender and violets. The medium-bodied flavors possess outstanding richness and volume with excellent levels of dry extract that render the tannins almost invisible at present though the finish is sufficiently firm to suggest that they will require 12 to 15 years to fully resolve. I very much like the balance and sense of harmony here.”

Montille Volnay Les Brouillards 2010 ($109.95) $89 special 6 bottles available
Burghound 89-92 points
 “Rose petal and lavender nuances add an elegant top note to the lightly spiced and earthy red berry aromas that include cherry and raspberry. The detailed, racy and wonderfully energetic middle weight flavors possess a discreet minerality that runs to the very end of the firm, delicious and mildly austere finish. This persistent effort is very Volnay in character yet with that little hint of mid-palate robustness that indicates that it is Brouillards.”

Huber Verdereau Volnay 2010 ($49.95) $33 special 5+ cases available
Burghound 88 points 
 ” A pretty mix of red and blue pinot fruit aromas exhibits plenty of earth influence that continues onto the silky and pure middle weight flavors that culminate in a moderately rustic and austere finish. This will need a few years to flesh out and add depth.”

Huber-Verdereau Volnay Les Fremiets 2010 ($84.95) $69 special 18 bottles available
Burghound 90 points 
“Huber indicated that this was vinified with 50% whole clusters. A notably floral nose of ripe and pure red pinot fruit scents gives way to attractively detailed, intense and mouth coating medium-bodied flavors that possess a balanced, spicy, dusty and lingering mineral-inflected finish. This is really lovely if not particularly deep though it’s already so pretty that if it can add more depth in bottle my score may seem unduly conservative.”

Huber- Verdereau Volnay Roberdelles 2010 ($54.95) $41.90 special 1 bottle available
Burghound 89 points OUTSTANDING TOP VALUE
 “A wonderfully expressive and aromatic nose features really lovely complexity on the layered scents of spice, earth, red pinot and stone. There is a refined mouth feel to the pure and energetic flavors that culminate in a dusty, moderately firm and beautifully well-balanced finale. A terrific villages that is worth a look.”

Jadot Volnay Clos de la Barre 2010 ($84.95) $59 special 18 bottles available
John Gilman 92+ points 
 “The premier cru of Clos de la Barre is located immediately below the village center of Volnay, tucked in on the slope between les Angles to its north and Clos de la Bousse d’Or to its south. The 2010 from Maison Jadot is outstanding and another real sleeper to search out in this vintage. The classy and very precise bouquet offers up scents of cassis, dark berries, espresso, dark chocolate, a great base of complex minerality and just a hint of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure on the attack, with impressive complexity, ripe tannins, a lovely core and impressive grip on the long and tangy finish. A beautiful bottle of Volnay in the making, the 2010 Jadot Clos de la Barre will need the better part of a decade to fully blossom and should age for a very long time”

Jadot Volnay Les Santenots 2010 ($84.95) $59 special 2 cases available
Wine Enthusiast 93 points
 “Santenots, like most premier crus, is located halfway down the slope. This is structured, yet it remains ripe and fruity, and it shows off the voluptuous texture that’s characteristic of Volnay. There is fine balance between the acidity and fruit, and the dry core promises aging potential.”

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.”

JM Boillot Volnay 2011 ($49.95) $39 special 12 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 88-90 points
 “Good red with ruby tones.  High-pitiched nose offers cassis, blueberry, violet, licorice and smoke.  Supple, fully ripe Volnay villages, with blackberry, violet and chocolate flavors carrying well on the finish, where the ripe tannins reach the front teeth.”

JM Boillot Volnay Carelle Sous Chapelle 2011 ($89.95) $69 special 12 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 89-92 points
 “Bright ruby-red.  Black fruits and licorice dominate the nose.  Suave and sweet but with ripe acidity giving cut to the concentrated blackberry and dark chocolate flavors.  Finishes persistent and lively, with a mineral firmness and solid tannic spine.  From a crop level of 32 hectoliters per hectare, according to Boillot.”

JM Boillot Volnay Pitures 1er Cru 2011 ($99.95) $75 special 12 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
 “Bright ruby-red.  Blackberry, cassis, licorice and violet on the nose, complicated by hints of leather and game.  Lush and spicy, with ripe acidity giving shape to the dark fruit and chocolate flavors.  Unusually deep and suave for this wine at this early stage of its evolution.  Has plenty of mid-palate stuffing to support its serious but supple tannins.  Offers terrific potential.”

Matrot Volnay 1er Cru Santenots 2011 ($69.95) $59 special 12 bottles available
PY Colin-Morey Volnay Champans 2011 ($99.95) $89 special 12 bottles available


Pre-Arrival offers, January arrival:

Henri Boillot Volnay 2010 ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special 5+ cases available
Burghound 90 points ‘OUTSTANDING TOP VALUE’ 
“This is more aromatically reserved with an elegant nose of red and dark pinot fruit, earth and an interesting note of smoked tea. There is even more refinement to the mouth feel of the lightly mineral-infused medium-bodied flavors that possess a dusty and rather serious finish of impeccable balance and persistence. This may be labeled as a villages but it’s easily of 1er quality.”

Jean Marc Bouley Volnay 2010 ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special 5 cases available
Burghound 88-91 points
 “This offers a big step up in both aromatic complexity as well as elegance with its cool red berry fruit nose replete with violet and anise hints. There is good richness and fine volume with ample mid-palate concentration to the refined middle weight flavors as the supporting tannins possess a very fine grain, all wrapped in a balanced, intense and solidly long finish. There is a touch of youthful austerity but I suspect that the backend will flesh out relatively quickly.”

Faiveley Volnay Fremiets 2011 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special 12 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 89-92 points
 “(this and the following wines were still in barrel in November; this vineyard was picked first in 2011, along with the Beaune Clos de L’Ecu):  Bright red.  Pungent red fruits and orange peel on the lively nose.  Reticent and rather tight in the mouth, but with a suave grain and lovely lift to the red fruit flavors.  Quite closed in the early going.”

Faiveley Volnay Santenots 2011 ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special 2 cases available
Burghound 90-92 points 
 “As would typically be the case this is notably riper than the Frémiets with notes of cassis, plum and black cherry. There is equally good phenolic maturity to the quite solidly structured and even robust flavors that exhibit a taut muscularity before terminating in a delicious and complex finish. This is much less refined and mineral-driven but there is just more depth and a bit more persistence as well though patience will be necessary”

Henri Boillot Volnay Caillerets 2011 ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special 17 bottles available
Burghound 94 points ‘DON’T MISS! OUTSTANDING
‘ “In contrast to the jovial expressiveness of the prior wines this is much more reserved with its ripe yet cool aromas of dark berry fruit liqueur, spice and wet stone. The silky and equally cool and restrained middle weight flavors offer outstanding definition on the rich, energetic and hugely long saline-infused finish. This is one seriously impressive Caillerets but note well that it’s built to age.”

Henri Boillot Volnay Chevrets 2011 ($99.95) $77 pre-arrival special 23 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points 
“Bright red-ruby.  Rather brooding aromas of cassis, blackberry, smoke and licorice are pure and discreet.  Surprisingly rich on entry, then lush and seamless in the middle, but with very good acidity framing and lifting the black fruit and game flavors.  The powerful, rising finish features building tannins and a distinct thick-skinned character.  The old vines in Boillot’s parcel were strongly affected by millerandage, which largely explains this wine’s extra measure of texture and concentration.”

Henri Boillot Volnay Fremiets 2011 ($99.95) $77 pre-arrival special 2 cases available
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
 “Deep red-ruby.  Highly perfumed, musky aromas of black raspberry and smoky minerality.  Large-scaled, round and rich but not yet complex; less creamy and fine-grained than the Chevrets, showing a youthful toughness from the calcaire-rich soil.  Despite the fact that this was the first pinot parcel Boillot picked in 2011, this wine relies more on its big, ripe tannins than on its acids for balance.  Really saturates the palate on the aftertaste.”

Henri Boillot Volnay Santenots 2011 ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special 2 cases available
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points 
 “Deep red-ruby.  Black raspberry, dark chocolate, game and a wild hint of leather on the nose, with a floral element emerging with air.  Sweet, rich, broad and deep, boasting a velour-like, utterly mouthfilling texture that’s rare for the vintage.  Excellent acidity gives this firmly tannic, very long wine terrific energy and lift.  Very strong Santenots.”