Tasted in Volnay with Thiébault Huber, 6th August, 2014.
3 rue de la Cave
Tel :+33 3 80 21 64 37
Huber is actually a name from Alsace, it is Verdereau that is the name attached to Volnay. Thiébault who lived a long time in Alsace, worked as a sommelier and also for a while with Domaine Marcel Deiss, came back to Volnay to recover the family vines and (re-)begin the family domaine.
Thiébault’s grandparents ran the domaine until they retired in 1974 but because nobody in the family wanted to take on the domaine, the vines were rented out for the next 20 years. Thiébault returned to Volnay, but first worked three years for his cousin Jean-Marc Bouley before restoring the domaine in 1994. The last family vines were recovered in 2010, so the domaine now stands at almost 9.5 hectares, of which 3 hectares are white and include vines in Meursault and Puligny, plus 3 Volnay and 3 Pommard cuvées. ‘Encouraged’ by the low yields 2010-2014, Thiébault also includes wines from bought-in grapes with labels as diverse as Monthélie, Mercurey and even Gevrey in his cellar to try and boost his turnover a little.
Thiébault began experimentation with Bio in 2001 and Biodynamics in 2003. From 2005, everything was Biodynamic and later certified too. Thiébault explains “One of my plots was next to the vines of Frederic Lafarge and I was fascinated to see the difference between our vines. I soon decided that if I wanted to translate the different terroirs in the most efficient way, then I would have to follow these rules in my vines.”
To roughly quantify what hail has done to this domaine in the last vintages, Thiébault has the following rough perspective: 75% lost in 2012, 65% lost in 2013, and perhaps 50% (too early to be sure) lost in 2014. France is the biggest market for these wines, in-particular they head to restaurants and cavistes near Paris. America is the largest export market, Norway one of the first…
The following were tasted from barrel. Whites had comfortably finished their malos, the reds had quite late malos Thiébault explained, but fortunately showed no obvious signs of this, and no gas either. I noted that Thiébault was assiduous in blending samples from the different barrels to reflect his elevage and how the final bottling should look…
The whites are direct and show very good energy – there is no batonnage here. The reds show concentration (of-course they are low-yielding vintages) and good class, but they were just a little tight having been sulfured 10 days before.
2013 Puligny-Montrachet Les Levrons
From the Meursault side of the appellation, near Les Referts. The vines were planted in 1947 and delivered just one, 350 litre barrel in 2013.
The nose is fresh and rather fruity. In the mouth it’s lithe and has a fine balance. Fine mid-palate flavour and intensity too. Yum!
2013 Meursault Les Dressolles
I don’t ever remember seeing this label on Meursault before – the vines are situated a little lower and north of Le Barre. There are two barrels here, one new.
The aromatics are rather understated. Lovely aromatic width and the intensity in the mouth is excellent – gorgeous wine here!
2013 Volnay Robardelles
This vineyard has both 1er cru and villages parcels – the domaine’s parcel has both so this wears a villages label. Thiébault’s grandfather planted these vines in 1943.
This wine needs a little air, but soon opens to show very pretty fruit and flowers. Growing intensity in the mouth, the tannin contributing a velvet texture. Lovely freshness here. Will be fine.
2013 Pommard Clos de Colombier Monopole
Another of the domaine’s holding that include both 1er and villages parts. “This vineyard was more affected in 2013 than 2012, so we only have 3.5 barrels.”
The nose is round, fruity and ripe and shows a little more muscle than the Robardelles. There’s lovely freshness here and has a fine line of lingering flavour.
2013 Pommard 1er Bertins
I’d already seen that this vineyard was one of the worst affected by hail in Pommard (Chantal Lescure is the main owner here with over 2 ha), Thiébault wasn’t sure if there was enough fruit left on the vine to make a barrel. The vines were planted by his grandfather in 1955.
There’s more explicit aromatic power here, likewise in the mouth this is rounder and fuller – plenty of lovely fruit flavour in the finish too. It’s a little less finely focused than the Clos de Colombier today but with much more flavour.
The following wines were tasted from bottles, some of-which had been opened a couple of days before (nobody opens 2012s every day in Pommard and Volnay!) which accounts for the modest aromatic of many.
A blend of four parcels of vines below Volnay village and another above the village. No new oak used.
The nose is wide if rather modest. Quite full in the mouth, there’s lots of material here. The tannin adds a velvet texture. I’d say that this needs 2-3 years for the structure to melt a little, but there’s super concentration and power waiting.
2012 Volnay 1er Fremiets
From a very sunny spot – usually one of the first parcels that Thiébault harvests – though there was only 1 barrel’s worth to harvest in 2012.
There’s more aromatic width and roundness here, though of similarly modest proportion to the Volnay. In the mouth this wine is much more direct and on the attack – ouf! Just a little tannic astringency but that will fade in a year or two and there’s very little grain. A long, almost herby finish. I find this a little more Pommard in style but with very good potential if you can show a modicum of patience.
Almost the reverse of the Volnay, with 4 parcels from above the village and one below – though in this vintage, there is very little of the vines from above the village in the mix. The parcel below the village has the oldest vines of the domaine – planted in 1930.
The nose is tight. Plenty of concentration here but there’s energy too! Serious wine. Tannic, but ripe tannin that just adds a little drag to the texture, not grain. Intense in the mid-palate and slowly lingering. Another excellent wine, but that also needs time.
2012 Pommard Clos de Colombier Monopole
The nose is more airy and faintly floral. This is full of energy, with direct, clean flavour. Lots of character here. Not the longest, but very tasty.
2011 Mercury Vieilles-Vignes Blanc
From the Rully side of the appellation. Elevage was half barrel and half tank.
Wide nose with depth and a little pear fruit. Good balance here, with a hint of richness and faintly stony flavour. Round, rather than direct with a little savoury element. Not my favourite style.
2012 Meursault Les Dressolles
The nose is modest yet fine with certainly some Meursault character. Ouf! Very direct attack in the mouth and very good acidity supporting it. There’s a growing intensity in the mid-palate and the finish becomes a little rounder. Very good wine!
2012 Meursault 1er La Piece Sous le Bois
Fromm grapes purchased since 2010 – from a ‘hyper-sunny’ south-facing plot. One new barrel used from 4.
A fresh and attractive nose. Again the palate is very direct and shows lots of energy. This time there’s an added sucrosité and some fainter barrel references. Very tasty wine indeed!