Burgundy 2015 En Primeur | Domaine Joseph Voillot, Pommard & Volnay

January 30th 2017

Pommard is one of the largest communes in the Côte d’Or, whilst neighbouring Volnay is one of the smallest. Pommard’s iron rich soils produce masculine wines with structured tannins and long ageing potential. Volnay, on the other hand, typically produces wines with an ethereal perfume and elegant fruit. For those more familiar with the northern end of the Côte, Pommard and Volnay show strong parallels with Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Muisgny respectively.

Joseph-Voillot-2The clay rich soils of this part of Burgundy, just south of Beaune itself, keep the vine roots cool and well-watered; protected from the heat and water stress which threatened growers in the hot summer months of 2015. Just as Echezeaux in the Côte de Nuits – which also has a high clay content in its soil – has shone in 2015, so too have the communes of Pommard and Volnay. Relentlessly punished by cruel hail storms for consecutive vintages, 2015 sees a major return to form for these two appellations, and for Domaine Joseph Voillot.

Neal Martin describes Jean Pierre Charlot at Joseph Voillot as a ‘winemaker par excellence’, and an ‘unheralded legend’ who has made ‘some absolute gems’ in 2015. He continues:

‘There is finesse and elegance to these wines, especially in his sublime Pommards: Rugiens and Pezerolles perhaps two of the finest that I have encountered from this estate. These are wines, to put it prosaically, that represent proper Burgundy. Some might class them as old fashioned and those seeking tons of succulent fruit are best advised to seek elsewhere. However, in terms of terroir expression, charm, personality and ability to age over many years, this is a domaine that despite everything that has been thrown at it, continues to produce outstanding and soulful wines.’

2015 Volnay Vieilles Vignes Joseph Voillot

£298.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
A very easy and classical Volnay. This old vine cuvée focuses on red cherry fruits, a subtle tannic structure and rounded tannins. The perfect wine for partridge! Drink 2018 – 2027, Goedhuis & Co

The 2015 Volnay Villages has an attractive redcurrant and cranberry-scented bouquet with just a touch of faded rose petal. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm, almost Pommard-like tannins, but there is clearly good density on the finish. It just needs to spread its wings once in bottle. 87-89 points Neal Martin

2015 Pommard Vieilles Vignes Joseph Voillot
£320.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
Much like the Volnay Vieilles Vignes this Pommard is relatively light and suited to earlier drinking. It has a little more tannic depth and is a very complete wine. Drink 2018 – 2028 Goedhuis & Co

The 2015 Pommard Villages has a briary and cranberry-scented bouquet with a light marine influence that surfaces with aeration. There is a bit of stemminess here. The palate is medium-bodied chewy ripe red berry fruit, a gentle grip and a little more complexity on the finish compared to the Volnay village. This serves as a very decent introduction to the delights of Jean-Pierre Charlot’s classical winemaking style. 88 points Neal Martin

2015 Volnay 1er Cru Les Champans Joseph Voillot
£495.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
A superb cuvée, with masses of enticing black fruits and mocha aromas and flavours. In the palate it is appealingly broad, coating the mouth from start to finish. A full wine, with very good concentration. Drink 2019 – 2029 Goedhuis & Co

The 2015 Volnay 1er Cru Champans has an expressive bouquet for this habitually taciturn domaine (at least in its youth). This is bestowed with a comparatively opulent bouquet with rounded red cherry and wild strawberry scents, almost Santenots-like in style. The palate is supple and rounded on the entry, belying the structure that lies underneath. Yet there is fine grip on the finish and it lingers long and tenderly in the mouth. This has great potential – one of Jean-Pierre Charlot’s best wines this vintage. 93-95 points Neal Martin

2015 Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets Joseph Voillot (limited)
£495.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
The calibre of this exceptional vineyard really shines through in this terrific 2015. Very deep purple colour, this is full of dark currants, rich and intense, but also bright and lively. Crowd pleasing, but also high quality. Drink 2019 – 2030 Goedhuis & Co

The 2015 Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets was showing a little more lift of fruit compared directly with the Volnay Fremiets – ebullient, vivacious raspberry and red cherries to the fore. The palate is chewy on the entry with slightly gruff tannin, but it is surrounded by very attractive red fruit. I would just prefer a little more weight and density on the finish, although that will probably develop with time. 90-92 points Neal Martin

2015 Pommard 1er Cru Les Pézerolles Joseph Voillot (limited)
£695.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
Sitting above the Epenots vineyard on the border with Beaune, this dark horse produces an outstanding premier cru. Regarded as making an elegant style of Pommard this is a perfumed, floral Beaunesque wine, both charming and long. Drink 2018 – 2030 Goedhuis & Co

There are three barrels of the 2015 Pommard 1er Cru Pezerolles this year, at least more than the paltry one or two that Mother Nature has bestowed in fallow recent years. It has a gorgeous floral bouquet with wonderful definition, equally divided between red and black fruit. It’s as if it wants to compensate the shortfall in quantity with sheer quality. The palate is very pure with a silky texture, very fine tannins, charming even now with superb mineralité on the finish. Oh yes! Bon vin Monsieur Charlot. 92-94 points Neal Martin

2015 Pommard 1er Cru Les Epenots Joseph Voillot (limited)
£695.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
Possibly my favourite wine in the cellar this year, this is a beauty. Wonderful purple sheen. The aromas are all freshly picked strawberries and cherries. There is a superb sweetness of fruit, supported by volume and refined, velvety tannins. Very, very long and quite lovely. Drink 2019 – 2030 Goedhuis & Co

The 2015 Pommard 1er Cru les Epenots is subtler and covets its secrets more than the Pommard les Pezerolles from barrel. Nuanced and unapologetically inward-looking at first, it begins to unfold with just a few swirls of the glass and eventually blossoms. It’s just toying with you. The palate is sweet on the entry, a little more candied and generous than the Pezerolles, perhaps the vintage speaking more than the terroir at the moment. But I appreciate the light-hearted joie-de-vivre of this Pommard. 89-91 points Neal Martin

2015 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens Joseph Voillot (limited)
£720.00 per 12 bottles In Bond
The most powerful of Jean-Pierre’s Pommards and a little closed at the time of tasting. However, behind the wall of structure, damson and sloes and hints of dark chocolate abound. The well-defined mineral finish marks this as a wine with great potential. Drink 2021 – 2033 Goedhuis & Co

The 2015 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens had a fragrant and floral bouquet, subtle at first but blossoming in the glass with wonderful mineralité and tension. The palate is underpinned by very fine tannins and perfect acidity that lends this Rugiens both elegance and a sense of symmetry. Long and tender on the finish, watch out for this beauty in bottle. 92-94 points Neal Martin