Tasted with Marc-Olivier Buffet in Volnay, 05 February 2016.
Domaine François Buffet
7 Place de l’Eglise
Tel: +33 3 80 21 62 74
Here are super underground cellars – something of a luxury in Volnay – a warren of rooms, some containing older vintages – “Helpful to offset some of the missing volume from the last years” says Marc-Olivier Buffet. These are damp cellars like those of Lafarge – don’t touch something for a while and it will begin disappear under the penecillium…
Marc-Olivier describes this as a “small domaine of 8 hectares, in the family for centuries.” François was Marc-Olivier’s grandfather, Marc-Olivier taking the domaine on from his father, Jacques, in 2005. They produce eleven 1er Crus including wines from as far-afield as Savigny and Pernand – they have 6 in Volnay.
Marc-Olivier explains that it is mainly small volumes of each cuvée as the vines are ‘vieilles-vignes.’ 2 from 3 vintages are Bio, but they reserve the prerogative to occasionally use something ‘synthetic.’ Some parcels are even managed ‘biodynamically,’ but Marc-Olivier says that he’s not prepared to take the risk every year.
The have all types of tanks in the cuverie, but prefer wood or concrete for fermentations. triage is mainly done at the vines but may also be done in the cuverie if really necessary, though they are not really fans of triage tables. In ‘normal’ years Marc-Olivier likes to see some stems in the fermentations – so not many have been used in the last years! “We do no pigeage, as I really want to avoid extraction, and I prefer 2 winters of elevage, assembling a couple of months before bottling – but depending on the phase of the moon. Sometimes there might be a light filtration, but largely not.”
About 50% of the domaine’s sales are in France, ‘through salons et-cetera’ the rest exported. The mix of sales depends on the year.
An interesting address, where the wines are definitely worth your attention. The first two have just recently been sulfured…
2 parcels – Famines and Gigotte in total 1 hectare.
Fresh, not fully formed but some flowers there. Rather narrow but deep really opening out from the finish onwards – and it is long with a stoniness, very long. A little early to appraise I think. The hardest of the 14s to taste.
2014 Volnay 1er Carelles sous la Chapelle
0.44 ha parcel, close to Thomas Bouley’s replanted section, direction Meursault.
A faint spice, a hint diffuse but attractive all the same. Broader, good sweetness, nice layers of complexity – like the last wine, this really opens from the mid-palate, showing much more complexity. “I like wines that have finesse and length that’s what I try to achieve and here is the length.”
2014 Volnay 1er Clos de la Rougeotte (Monopole)
0.52 ha in Fremiets, in general the domaine’s vine ages are 40-100 years-old, but here nearer 50, but some are on an SO2 rootstock so they are slowly replacing those.
Subtle, wide, really more together from barrel than the last too. Wide, sweet, a hint of tannin, fine complexity. Super growing intensity – never acute just really tasty, not a wine of fat or density, rather elegant and persistent. Yum! Fine!
2014 Volnay 1er Champans
0.47 ha, next to Javillier. Vines that run from the bottom to the top, the full length of the cru.
Not deeply coloured. A very discreet nose, faint barrel and high tones. Wider, a hint more flesh, a hint more oak too, layers of fine mouth-watering flavour. Concentration in the mouth-watering finish too – to wait for, but it will be worth the wait.
1 ha in 3 parcels of 45 up to 80 year-old vines, located north and south, bottom and top of this vineyard.
Deeper and wider, more obvious fruit – more obvious Clos des Chenes! Fuller, but no fat, complex, really complex – here a gorgeous mid-palate flavour. A little tannin, essentially a fine and elegant wine without overt power – except the power to beguile!
20% whole bunch – usually it’s 100%. From 0.30 ha.
Tighter but silkily fine. In the mouth this is quite the freshest, mouth-watering wine – beautifully balanced, with a slowly growing a base of tannin – long, never wide but complex and long. Really super, I’d much rather take the last wine today, but I see fabulous potential here.
2011 Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Medium-minus colour. The nose is clean, and almost strawberry to start, eventually a hint of pyrazine. Layered, tasty, sweet, complex, yes a hint of pyrazine here too, but complex interesting and overall very tasty wine – lovely! Long too. Very good wine, don’t judge it by its colour!
Medium, colour. Bright, forward nose of floral perfume – this is very attractive, and not the usual violets affair. Precise, gorgeous flavour. N undertow a modest, faint tannin but here are violets. Just a super wine…
1986 Volnay 1er Clos des Chênes
Big, wide, open, round nose that’s sweet and red with some sous-bois – attractive! Fresh, clean, still plenty of tannin, but hardly any dryness, fresh and bright flavour. Alive and simply super…