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Joseph Voillot – Champans

DSC09335Tasted with Jean-Pierre Charlot in Volnay, 03 February 2016. To the right, one of his old vines in Champans…

Domaine Joseph Voillot
Place de l’Église
21190 Volnay
Tel: +33 3 80 21 62 27
www.joseph-voillot.com

We already visited the 2014s of this domaine in the November 2015 Burgundy Report, so, by way of a change – how about a vertical of one of the domaine’s best wines? Champans.

Champans extends over 11.2 hectares, only Caillerets with 11.9 ha and Clos des Chênes with 15.4 ha are the larger 1ers in Volnay. Champans sits right in the centre of the lower mid-slope of the Volnay’s premier crus, lying directly under the D973 road between Pommard and Meursault. The plot of Voillot is at the northern top (corner) of the vineyard, across the small road from Carelle sous la Chapelle. There is a small buffer of 1er crus below Champans before the villages section – in the shape of Les Aussey and Roncerets. Above Champans lies, mainly, Taillepieds, with small bookends from Clos des Chênes and Clos des Verseuil.

Jean-Pierre explains: “We are fortunate to have a large 1.07 hectare plot in Champans. It’s hard limestone here towards the top (near the road) – over the road, Carelles has more finesse. The average vine-age is 50 years, new plantings are mainly by repicage.

“2016 is our first normal pruning after 3 years of hail. We do a long pruning, taking out the intermediate buds, hoping to give the grapes the best possible aeration. We plough 3 to 4 times per year.

“There’s about a 3°C temperature difference between the top and the bottom of the vineyard when working; the top right hand section (corner) is always the earliest flowering section for the domaine.”

The wines…

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2014 – Medium, medium-pus colour. A roundness of aroma, pretty red fruit. Round in the mouth too, but with a really nice line of freshness and growing complexity – this is lovely, the flavours really melting across the palate – this is super classic and has great material. It will last a long time despite how tasty it is today!

2013 – This aromatic is also wide, less deep, a fine and complex width – tighter certainly than the 2014. Quite large shaped in the mouth – the acidity is more notable but there’s a roundness and richness of fruit flavour than easily balances. Nice, modest waves of fresh finishing flavour – here the merest suggestion of tannin. Fine and long – some similarity to 2008 here and like those wines you need to wait 6-10 years. I like this very much.

2012 – Round, complex, almost truffly – lovely. Sweetness of fruit, round in shape – lovely freshness, widening panorama of flavour in the mid-palate and towards the finish. Tension and complexity – all-round super wine! Bravo!

2011 – A complex and inviting nose that includes a faint pyrazine element. Sweet on the palate, supple, yet with a modest dryness of tannin. A good line of intensity – pyrazine flavour here too but again on a very modest level. A good wine but my to my palate some way below the level of attainment of the first three wines.

2010 – I have the impression that there’s a tiny amount of aromatic development here – not the deepest of aromas but there’s a fine width. A fine sweetness of fruit too; narrower of line and with slightly forward acidity. Despite that it is the impression of layers of flavour and really this wine is super as it approaches the finish – really wide and impressive flavour – yum!

2009 – A nice freshness here, almost a vibration of aroma, slowly fading to a warmer note. Round in the mouth, lots of energy, a little less mid-palate clarity but more weight of flavour and a certain there’s a salinity too. Really the flavour is more roast in style but this is big and very generous finishing. It’s long too. Almost a sizzle to the finishing flavour – not the smoothest today, but generous of nature.

2004 – The nose is like that of the 2011, perhaps a little more intense, but the pyrazine note is overtaken by really impressive weight of fine red fruit. Here is a wine of real fresh, complex dimension – rare in 2004. Mouth-watering and really tasty finishing. The vintage is clear, blind, but the overall clarity and deliciousness is exceptional for that vintage!

1999 – Ooh – not the biggest but this is wide, complex, not so fruit-driven and really inviting. A little extra richness of texture, great dimension of flavour – a weight of mid-palate flavour. This is exceptionally long. A great wine that’s not yet ready – maybe if I had a case I wouldn’t start harvesting for another 5 years or so. Still to wait for…

1987 – Here is a beautiful width of mature burgundy aroma – sweet, growing intensity, a freshness but also intensity. That brown-sugared complexity of an older wine but with a direct but covered acidity and really hardly any tannin. This is a wine to curl up with. Really yum!

1964 – Older colour. Wide, round, soy, a certain herb, almost a suggestion of cheese. We are very clearly in old territory – the nose is interesting but hardly attractive to start with. In the mouth this is perfectly silky up to the mid-palate where still a hint of tannin starts to come through. Savoury wine of fresh acidity, the best part is a really super finish – super long and impressive despite it being savoury with meat and soy – this needs a little air to open further. Even after 2 hours (it was my evening drink!) the nose, whilst better, still wasn’t attractive – but unbelievably this hung on without problem into day 2 – and here it now smelled sweeter and more inviting, without ever losing any of its verve or super finishing flavour – a big surprise. I’d happily serve it to anyone based on the day 2 performance!

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