Tasted in Meursault with Guillaume Lavollée, 16 July 2020.
25 rue de Citeaux
Tel: +33 3 80 21 49 20
Génot-Boulanger is a name that I seem to know much better than most of the market, and that’s because it was quite well represented in Switzerland in the early 2000s – I have memories of a few nice bottles. However, during this period much was sold in bulk – it seems that Switzerland was the exception!
Coming from a pharmacy background in Paris, Charles-Henri Génot and his wife, Marie, born a Boulanger, moved to Meursault to start their domaine in 1974. They mainly began with vines in Mercurey, soon adding additional parcels in Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, Volnay, Pommard, and Beaune. By 1998, when François Delaby inherited the domaine there was a total of 22 hectares of vineyards that covered 30 different appellations – also with vines now in the Côte de Nuits. In 2008 the daughter of François – Aude – and her husband took on the running of the domaine – it is this team that are still at the helm today.
Guillaume explains “We’re farming 22 hectares today, the domaine grew a lot in the 1990s. We have our winery in the Meursault industrial zone of Chanlins, but our historic home is here in the town of Meursault. We have a great cellar in Meursault, but it’s less interesting to make the wine here. We produce 80% white, with additions from Volnay, Pommard & Beaune plus 1.5 hectares of vines around Corton. We still have some vines in the Chalonnaise – our Mercurey 1er Crus – the historic start of the domaine.”
Aude and Guillame started with an organic approach from the very beginning in 2008 – at least for those vines closest to Meursault. Then in 2009 all the whites were treated with only Bordeaux mixture and a little compost. It was 2010 when the whole domaine was for the first time managed organically, following new investments in Mercurey. “We really saw the quality difference from this effort in about 2011-13, and all our wines have been labelled AB since the 2018 vintage. Some could have been labelled sooner but we wanted to make change our labels for the domaine just once. Equipping for the treatments was logistically difficult for 22 hectares. Though time doesn’t stand still, we’re now converting our pruning to the Poussard style and all our new plantings were already done this way.”
In 2007, 70% of the domaine’s production was sold in bulk, but Guillaume had the plan to sell all in bottle. Now the domaine even has the policy of keeping back older vintages in modest quantities, currently going back as far as 2011 – the 2010s are not long finished.
“Our approach to vinification has been the same for 10 years; manual harvested, crushed and then pressed without sulfur. Settled for 24 hours but keeping most of the lees unless it’s been a difficult growing season. We wait until the wine starts to ferment before moving it to barrel – there’s about 10% new barrels in total here but only enough to replace the barrels. We may use a little batonnage on occasional barrels. There are 12 months of ageing without racking before being assembled the following Spring.”
The 2018s were bottled at the start of April 2020. All of the wines use natural cork – but NDTech – Guillaume says that they have the ambition to make ‘vins de garde.‘
In this curtailed selection of the domaine’s range I found really fine wines – I am looking forward to return in October to gain a wider perspective…
On this visit, I specifically looked with Guillaume at the domaine’s wines from Puligny-Montrachet, but I plan to return in October to look at their wider offer of 2019s. Guillaume noting “2018 is a rich but generous vintage, the extra volume at harvest undoubtedly helped with the balance. Regarding the range of villages cuvées here, it’s a permanent question whether we should blend them all together!”
2018 Puligny-Montrachet Au Paupillot
Just enough vines for a barrel, bottled only in magnum.
That’s quite a punchy nose, slowly showing a little higher floral complexity. Hmm – that’s lovely over the palate – wide, melting just the right amount of tension and a super depth of, quite mineral, finishing flavour. Super wine.
2018 Puligny-Montrachet Levrons
A less punchy nose, a more airy style here, a little more vibration of energy too – despite the closeness of these vines. A little more mouth-filling, rounder, but with clarity and focus – beautifully open, languid over the palate – a little extra width of fine mineral flavour. Holding the line admirably in the finish.
A narrower but nicely deep nose to start. Here a little more structural, not quite strict, but here’s a super blend of the structural and the mouth-watering, almost juicily mineral, intense flavour. A little more of a growth of finishing complexity. That’s great villages – bravo!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er La Garenne
Airy, a little more width and depth to the nose with a subtle core of ripe citrus. Ooh – that’s mouth-wateringly mineral, very mobile, very attractive wine. Completely delicious – simply excellent wine – with a hauntingly long if not impactful finish!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières
Fresh, open, a little extra complexity in what is still an airy style to the wine. A little extra density here, I would even say ‘seriousness’ – if that was a word! Super texture, fine concentration, small waves, almost rippling finishing flavour. There’s a discretion to the finish of this wine that isn’t there in the previous. Super but for waiting!
Fresh, airy but with a depth of riper citrus fruit at the base – perhaps a faintly reduced minerality here too. Ooh, that’s lovely, a grapefruit, agrume style of fruit, a touch cream balancing, super-mouth-watering, faintly reductive. That’s great – bravo!
2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Folatières
Fresh, faintly herbed complexity. Mouth-filling – with great energy. The minerality and the energy combining to great effect. A little structural and like the 2018, this shows more the need for patience – juicy again. Really persistent, predominantly mineral finish. Excellent wine – and for keeping.
A couple of 2019s taken from tank, racked 2 days ago:
That’s already showing pretty and fresh citrus notes. Ooh – that’s mouth-filling, super energetic, faintly saline, there’s extract that really sticks around in the finish – ooh that’s potentially great villages!
2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er La Garenne
Hmm – more agrume style of nose – that’s very inviting and fresh. Wow – mouth-filling energy, so juicy, mineral too – nothing in excess but still lots of everything. So tasty finishing already.