Tasted in Volnay with Thomas Bouley, April 2014.
I hadn’t visited Thomas for a couple of vintages (since I was locked out my hire-car outside his cuverie!) so it was nice to catch-up. We started with a wander in the vines – of-course in the Clos de la Cave vineyard, behind, and to the side of the domaine.
Thomas is very focused on what he has to do: “I don’t hold fermentations or green harvesting, or many things like that as my primary focus. For me, my primary focus is the soil in my vineyards.” Thomas then pushed his hand into the friable soil of the Clos de la Cave and thrust a handful forward for me to inspect. “I’ll probably plough this next week” he says.
That said, Thomas has his own thoughts on elevage; “I think the last part of elevage is the most important. What I do before is ‘classic’ and not that special, but I think it’s really important not to rush into bottling. These wines wont be bottled until July or even August – though certainly before the harvest. It’s cold in this cellar, so I’ll probably rack them in July, before the holidays.”
The 2012 vintage, due to hail, yielded on 15 hl/ha for the domaine as a whole, but the wines are a fine testament to what remained on the vine.
This cuvée assembles everything from ‘the bottom of the appellation’ where there’s more clay and soil, plus one higher plot where there’s a ‘more mineral, white soil’ from higher up the hill-side.
The nose offers flashes of dark fruit but remains rather shy. In the mouth there’s structure and impressive dark fruit – it seems more Pommard in style. Concentrated and impressive.
2012 Volnay Clos de la Cave
There’s a very pretty dark-fruit aromatic here. Just a little CO2, but a super, fresh and energetic core to this wine – very mineral and mouth-watering in the finish. Really lovely!
2012 Volnay Vieilles-Vignes
In 2011 there were 13 barrels of this wine, in 2012, just 4. These vines lie just below the 1er Crus hand have a little redder soil.
The nose is shy, but dark and faintly spicy. Wicked dimension, width and some generosity. Great length and energy. Super!
This cuvée comes mainly, but not completely, from Vaumuriens ‘a cool, place up on the hill with mainly white soil so can tend to directness and austerity’. ‘The 2010 was the first vintage where I did 2 years of elevage – I bottled it in September – that’s the best Pommard I ever made!’
Here the nose is fresh yet a little shy. Intense and direct in the mouth – just a little licorice and some dryness to the finishing tannin. Long and fresh. The last drops in the glass smell totally captivating. Superb!
2012 Beaune 1er Cru Les Reversées
‘Très Vieilles-Vignes. Very small grapes and I used 80% whole clusters.’
There is a little whole-cluster note on the fresh and welcoming nose. Wide, intense and concentrated with a dark-fruited flavour. A super growth of of energy in the mid-palate and a very mineral finish. Impressive wine, indeed an intellectual wine. Super!
Only 9 year-old vines and they were 80% hailed.
The nose is simply super-gorgeous – a brilliant blend of fruit and flowers – and that’s in a cold glass too! Concentrated and multi-dimensional with a growing width of flavour. Wow – grand cru standard, and from such baby vines too!
2012 Volnay 1er Cru Les Carelles sous la Chapelle
From 15 year-old vines. Thomas notes that ‘this is actually my grand cru – my favourite parcel.’
A super, medium-plus colour. The nose is round and pretty – more fruit than flowers and very generous. Plenty of structure and a little CO2 in the mix too. Despite the gas, this is rounder than the Caillerets – it’s very long too.
2012 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
Normally 8 barrels, but there are only 2 in the cellar.
The nose is slow to open but delivers delicate, beautifully focused, red fruit that’s accented with a faint spice. More obviously concentrated and textured, it’s very round but the flavour is direct in the finish and very long.
2012 Pommard 1er Cru ‘Léonie’ (Rugiens/Fremiers blend)
Named after daughter Leonié. Hail ensured that production was so low that these are blended to deliver 4 barrels. Thomas notes ‘I always thought that these two would be good blending partners, this vintage I get to see.’ The Rugiens was destemmed, the Fremiers not.
Deep colour. The nose has energy and a growing, crystalline, dark fruit – wildly impressive. Round, rather full, concentrated with a flavour that grows and grows, even after you spit. Impressive stuff.
2011 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune
The nose shows soft, dark fruit that gradually takes on more definition in the glass – good aromatic intensity here. It seems round and easy in the mouth, to start, but like the nose, it slowly takes on a more defined shape. Good fruit and a fine cassis note in the finish.
2011 Beaune 1er Cru Les Reversées
This vintage made with 40% whole clusters.
A deep aromatic, with dark fruits and a faint but growing spice note. In the mouth there’s sweetness of fruit and a little tannic grain. Finishing long on a stony note. This is a fast and sleek wine…
2011 Volnay Vieilles-Vignes
A very pretty nose of delicate, dark fruit. Sweet and quite structured in the mouth with a lovely dark-fruited flavour that runs the length of a nice line of acidity. There’s almost a little ‘ping’ of extra flavour as you approach the finish. Yum!
2011 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
40% whole clusters used in the fermentation.
The nose is dark and round with fine freshness – very pretty – quite some density of aroma too, though not as super-focused as others here. Big, round and concentrated in the mouth. Very impressive wine.
The nose starts a little narrower with a ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ sweet, creamy backing – you are drawn to return to look for it. Round but lithe palate – there’s no padding here – just super energy and flavour. Super wine. The mouth-watering finish reminds me of lemon juice in that you have to keep going back for the fresh zing.
80% whole clusters here.
There are whole cluster aromatics here but with freshness, generosity and a faint spice too. Linear and fresh in the mouth, the intensity becoming ever-more powerful. There’s a ‘pop’ of flavour as you swallow – some bitter-chocolate in the finish too. My taste-buds are already saying ‘more!’ The last drops in the glass are acid-redcurrants of gorgeousness. Brilliant