Tasted in Volnay with Thomas Bouley, 08 February 2016.
Domaine Jean-Marc et Thomas Bouley
10 Chemin de la Cave
Tel: +33 3 80 21 62 33
The domaine, and access to this part of Volnay, has been dominated for much of the winter, by a large crane and a construction team. It seems like the domaine is expanding!
I asked Thomas about his cuverie extension, to which he replied “Oh, that’s not me, that’s my dad – he loves a project like that!”
This was a great opportunity for me to taste the 2014 vintage chez Thomas, and to a certain extent really shows how ‘sub-optimal’ is the ‘traditional’ tasting window of October/November for many in the wine-trade: These wines continue to develop, indeed so-far only the Bourgogne has been ‘assembled’ with a view to bottling. All the other 2014s wait patiently in their barrels. Today there were also a few 2013s to be tasted – adding icing to the cake!
Thomas: “In 2014 the hail gave the opportunity for great maturity, of-course through concentration. The malos were mainly done in November, but I didn’t sulfur until July – so 8 months protected by the CO2.”
2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir
From Les Lamboits, 0.75 ha, but heavily hailed so Thomas bought a couple of barrels of Beaune which has been assembled into the cuvee – an 80% hail loss.
A rather tight nose. Bright, plenty of volume and dimension. A certain tannin too – serious wine, with a stony length today.
From just above the village of Volnay on the plateau – clay and red soil, lots of small rocks. Harvested a week later than the bourgogne, some hail – almost a hectare, and still in barrel.
A little more floral, bright, wide, finer texture, direct, impressive, muscled wine – young but yum! Lovely perfumed fruit in the finish.
Two-thirds from bottom of the commune with deep soils, rich with clay, the last third from above Clos des Chênes on white soil and more mineral. 70-90% hailed in the bottom.
Wider, dark fruit, individual, complex and pure. A sweetness but clarity, depth, a hint of salinity, fine and floral in the finish. You see both the weight and the airy quality in one.
Directly behind the house, steep but also on a deep soil, after 3 metres it’s white marl.30% whole cluster here.
A deeper, faintly reduced nose – today. Fresh, lots more dimension of flavour and flavour complexity – bravo precise and clean, still a hint of reduction perturbing, but this is really excellent.
2014 Volnay Vieilles-Vignes
Red ground, very little soil though, near the rock, 100% destemmed. Always very small grapes from the old vines here.
Just a little deeper colour. A faint but really involving, sweet, bright nose. More weight and density, a good base in fine tannin, hardly any dryness – some layering of flavour. More intense and guarded, but super material.
From Vaumuriens, high on the hill, there’s a cool breeze here and white soil – the opposite of the Volnay VV. The longest malo, only finished about the time of the 15 harvest.
Medium-plus colour. Fresh, deep dark fruit, faintly floral. Lovely. In the mouth, fresh and bright, a saline impression, a really fine width of fresh fruit in the mid-palate. I love this style – excellent. The finish is long and very faintly dry.
The last Pommard is the last that’s been racked. The rest are all direct from unracked barrels.
2014 Beaune 1er Reversées
80% hailed and 80% whole cluster from what remained. Vines below Les Avaux. Very sunny, old vines with small grapes, always the first to be harvested. The whole clusters really add some energy and complexity. 9hl/ha!
Deep and layered nose. Big and ripe in the mouth, plenty of tannin as a support, big wine, nicely, modestly complex, but overall far from modest. Excellent tasty wine – lots of energy here.
2014 Volnay 1er Caillerets
‘The Amoureuses of Volnay.’ Young vines, just 11 years old. High up near Champans, fragmented rock, not much soil.
A hint lighter in colour. Really a very tight nose – almost nobody at home – yet in the mouth this is a live and complex, just a hint of texture that reminds of gas, layers of chalky based flavour. A rather modest impression today – long, lingering notes, though. Super but just a little too discreet today.
2014 Volnay 1er Carelle sous la Chapelle
Only 3.5 ha the whole cru – these vines are mid-slope, red soil with big limestone rocks below the surface.
Like the Caillerets this is rather tight, but certainly more overt than that wine – silky red fruit is the main impression. Fuller, rounder, a more growing intensity, there was a little gas here but get past that and there is a slowly growing, layered impression to the flavours. Impressive but we are still tasting a little early in the elevage.
2014 Volnay 1er Clos de Chênes
40-50% new oak.
A bigger nose, more weight of dark red fruit, faintly oaked this sample. Wow! – there’s a base of tannin that rears as I’m typing, but here is a concentration of fresh fruit flavour, still framed by some creamy oak. The tannin gives the impression of a contribution from whole-clusters. A finish that starts wide, slowly narrowing, with really great length…
In 2014 there’s no Fremiers from Pommard – it was completely lost to the hail, all 0.5 hectares.
2014 Pommard 1er Rugiens
100% whole cluster. All on the higher part close to the rock, but none of the red soil of bas…
Deeper coloured. Deep, faintly spiced nose. Supple, with weight of flavour, of intensity, of texture – a big, impressive wine, but big in impact. Rather than roundness, there is volume. Fine, complex, spiced flavour. Strong finishing, very long,
Also some 2013s…
Only 19 hl/ha average for the domaine. All the 2013s were bottled in May 2015.
Round, some sweetness, some herbs – not massively intense but good enough. Round, sweetness, almost a sweet rhubarb impression, good complexity of fruit. Wide and nice finishing. Not a wine of particular clarity, but tasty and with some complexity.
2013 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune
11 october harvested, no problem with rot. Thomas’s only harvest in October – his father Jean-Marc hadn’t done one since 1981!
Great colour here. A silky nose, nice depth. Bright wide, impressive, overt, fresh wine – lovely intensity without overdoing anything. Lovely growth of flavour. No round, textured wine of ripeness – here is a wine of freshness and personality – very yum!!
A wide, fresh, nose of herb and with a certain vibrancy. Big, wine, with a great texture before the tannin exerts, lots of flavour and indeed volume in the mouth. This is very good but really a wine to wait for… The modestly dry texture lasts longer on the palate than the flavour!
2013 Beaune 1er Reversees
40% whole cluster. Bottom of the slope, very sunny. 18hl/ha
A fine medium-plus colour. Here there’s some reduction on the nose. A fine line of flavour here, that gets wider and wider, saline, a little mineral but essentially a ripe and tasty wine. Very tasty!
13hl/ha, 40% whole cluster.
A high-toned nose, almost a hint of sweetened gooseberry. In the mouth it’s wide and textured with a lovely, growing, fresh dynamic. Not so much dryness of tannin here, lots of interest, even a hint of reduction still. Really a dynamic wine. But one to wait for ! think!
A mix of Fremiers and Rugiens with 2 years of elevage on lees, always really dense, it was bottled in 2014.
A wide and vibrant nose and that’s while still cold in the glass. Big, but fresh, and again dynamic – a brightness of intense flavour in the mid-palate, maybe brightness give the wrong impression a highlight is maybe a better word, as there’s nothing here that’s over the top. Volume, a hint of flowers too. Super mineral finishing, grand cru length – special!