Tasted with François Bitouzet in Volnay (right in Taillepieds) 10 February 2016.
Rue de la Combe
Tel: +33 3 80 21 62 13
In the otherwise terribly discreet buildings of Rue de la Combe, just down the road from Lafarge and Roblet-Monnot, the last house on one side is a beautiful one – 2 or 3 centuries old – and behind, on lower levels, following the contour of the hillside, is the domaine’s cuverie. This is Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur.
Not surprisingly, two families came together to form the domaine; The Prieurs on the maternal side came from Meursault and are distantly related to the family of Domaine Jacques Prieur. From Paris-Hôpital near Maranges came the Bitouzet – together since 1860. François Bitouzet is now the 6th generation of the family at the domaine.
The domaine’s 13.5 hectares include about 6 hectares in Volnay; 6 Volnay 1ers, a villages wine assembled from parcels in 3 lieu-dits – Echards, Les Aussey, and Petits Gamets. The 1ers of Pitures and Clos des Chènes each are from two parcels, the other 1ers just one. The domaine is also a significant producer of white wine, with many important cuvées from Meursault – 40% of the domaine’s volume.
In 1992-1993, François’ father, Vincent, stopped the use of herbicides across the domaine. Since 1994 all the vineyards were regularly ploughed. François arrived at the domaine at the end of 2005, and in 2009 he asked himself why not other methods too? “Personally I found it important to minimise the amount of treatments, because it’s not just about the vines, but also the people who work in the vines.”
About 60% of the domaine’s wine is exported. The US, Russia and the far east are the main markets after France.
Pitures, Aussy and the villages were bottled on December, the other premiers probably on March. The last 5 months of elevage for the 1ers is in tank on lees. No whole clusters were used in 2014.
3 lieu-dits: Echards, Les Aussy, and Petits Gamets.
The nose slowly gets better and better in the glass – starting with a rougher texture and getting smoother and smoother with air. A nice roundness, growing concentration and intensity in tandem. Really a fine red fruit followed by a wave of fine and mouth-watering flavour. Fine in the finish. This half bottle needs some air, most likely due to the recent bottling. Clearly Lots to look forward to here.
2014 Volnay 1er Les Aussy
The only Aussy tasted on this trip – as they are usually labelled Ronceret today. 0.5 ha here, half planted in 1998, the other half in 1948.
Medium, medium-plus color. Wide, supple, floral, super fruit – picture perfect Volnay aromas. In the mouth, this has a little tannin texture to start with, but it softens and softens until it has almost gone. Floral fruit, delicate and delightful wine! Discrete but persistent in the finish. Lovely…
2014 Volnay 1er Mitans
Vinified in a 500 litre barrel. A wine that father, Vincent, used to put directly in the villages because its ‘only’ three barrels worth in a normal year.
Here is a vibrant nose, really some dimension of aroma here. Here is more weight of material too, really impressively so, with multiple dimensions, but clearly requiring a little time to relax in bottle, but the floral inflected flavour is unmistakable. Long finishing with a saline edge. Super wine, but wait for it.
Taillepieds has 3 ages of vines. One part replanted in 1998. Pruned to a long bagette. Not guyot pousard yet, will see how it goes with the neighbours.
A wide, almost muscled dark fruit. Slowly, slowly adding floral notes. Ooh… Beautiful in the mouth with volume but it’s not dense, lithe, with a width of layered flavour. A small explosion of mid-palate flavour perfect freshness and a finishing salinity. Bravo! Showing perfectly today…
2014 Volnay 1er Caillerets
Dessus, planted in 1983. About 0.25 ha.
Deep, there is muscle but it’s lithe and flexible – the first wine to show a little oak. Really wide in the mouth, growing intensity and purity of flavour – super mouth-watering and tasty. Excellent. A great finish, too.
2 parcels, one on a brown soil in the middle, and the other higher and more white. Roughly 0.75 ha.
Rather deeper, darker fruit, freshness above, faintly reduced (Reduire noble – haha! The first time I heard that description.). A harder sample to judge as this is both reduced and a little gassy. Slowly it settles and delivers super width, a mouth-watering complexity and a really super finish. This will be really something.
Bottled 1st Dec. almost 1 ha
Wait for it, it starts slowly before blossoming – always discreet but a beauty. Lithe, energetic, complex fruit and flowers, a little tannin – ouf! This is talkative! The finishing fruit flavour is gorgeous. Then slowly fades on a more floral theme. Super again!