I love Volnay, Clos des Chenes is a damned serious Premier Cru and 2009 is a top vintage. Even the producer, Jean-Marc Bouley, is a serious chap, although his wines are distinctly underrated. So, this bottle of Burgundy could well have been created just for me to pleasure myself immensely with – hooray!
Surprise, surprise, once again I must thank my wonderfully generous friend Keith Prothero for giving me this probable charmer. He is probably the biggest supporter of Elitistreview, although – if I am honest – there are bugger all supporters of Elitistreview. I think this is because I keep frightening, insulting and generally alienating most people who might be tempted to send me properly decent wine to review. Anyway, thank you, Keith!
To the tasting note!
Volnay Premier Cru Clos des Chenes 2009, Jean-Marc Bouley
This is quite dark (which tells us little with Pinot) and heading toward carmine in colour, which tells us that it has a bit of age. Bloody hell, we know that! I wrote the bleeding vintage just above this! 2009 – ten years old!
The first aromas from a complex panoply to hit your nose are lovely, soft, ripe cherry and loganberry (that is a sort of brambly raspberry-like aroma if you do not know the fruit) fruit. They are rather powerful. 2009 was a ripe vintage and the fruit shows it. The alcohol-level is perfectly balanced, so Jean-Marc did not let his Pinot get too ripe.
This sweet, ripe fruit is highly attractive, but there is more to this nose. There is a warm spiciness – not exactly mulled wine spiciness but close – that suffuses the aromas here. It is very complex and highly attractive. I would put it down to a combination of the warmth of the vintage coupled with the complexity imbued by this coming from a favoured vineyard site. I do not know the age of Jean-Marc’s vines, but I would wager there are some pretty old ones in his plot.
As I would expect from a Volnay, there is a little hint of greenness lurking on the nose. It is not unripeness, it is just a character Volnays often have. This one is very Volnay, deliciously so.
A slightly truffle-y earthiness is also in attendance. This common aroma on fine Burgundy is a tertiary characteristic*. There is clearly some development on this nose, the softness of the fruit is also a tertiary characteristic.
If there ever was any new oak on this nose, it has been consumed and the nose speaks of harmony, the beginnings of maturity and high quality in a ravishingly pleasing way. This is a Volnay for lovers of very good Volnay (that’s me!) and is just edging toward the stage where it sings so very beautifully.
Yeah, this is good. Very good, a wine that provokes goosebumps on me. Oooohhhh yeeeaaahhhhh… Shall we do with the important bits? Let us.
The harmony between components is supreme. Acidity, tannin, fruit, earthiness, spiciness, they all love each other and have spent the last ten years getting to know each other in a far more intimate manner than you will ever achieve if you are holding a sex manual whilst you are trying to perform its instructions. Everything just wants to get along on the palate.
This is a harmonious cascade of deeply indulgent complexity. The interplay between fruit, the slightly rigorous structure, the fine acidity, that spicy set of flavours and a fine chalky grip are absolutely dazzling in the way they toy with your senses. This is brilliantly involute.
This is a sculpted model of total beauty; everything works together to please your pleasure centres with finely honed pulses of effulgence. Delightful!
This Volnay is for those who really like it; it has good acidity, there is a firmness to the tannins and even though it is quite structured it is elegant and pulchritudinous. I get the feeling that all those bloody awful over-extracted, over-ripe and over-acidified Central Otago Pinots I have tried were made by winemakers who would have the biggest petit frisson of their lives if they tried a wine as superb as this.
One last point, this has only just opened the door to look out at the scented flower garden of maturity, it is quite backward for such a generally bien loché vintage as 2009. It has a long and unfailingly attractive future ahead of it. If you have some bottles you should not really be opening them now. Come back in five or more years. Having said that, if you are a fan of the charms of structured Burgundy this will blow your socks off. It is bleeding marvellous even though it is too young. Excellent wine. Thank you Keith!
He gave me another bottle too!
*Let me make this clear: Primary aromas are characteristics from the fruit and the vineyard it is grown in. Secondary flavours are those produced from the winemaking – an example of secondary aromas would be all ‘natural’ wines smelling of an oxidised mix of beer, cider and crap. Tertiary aromas are those derived from bottle age. There are not just primary and secondary aromas – are people’s minds so limited that they cannot tease apart the first two (or that they can only count to two)?
Wonderful note and so pleased you enjoyed the wine especially as I still have ten bottles !!!
This means you’ve got to hang around, Keith! I loved this but you would not like it at such an early stage of drinkability. It’ll be bloody marvelous in but five years, I’d guess, and will remain so for a looooong time. My bottle will stay in the wine fridge for quite a while as I prefer mature Burgundy. 😂😂😂😂
Great note Davy. Having not had a JM Bouley wine before wheres a good place to start to get to know the producer? And don’t say Clos des Chenes 😂
I’ve only had his basic Volnay and this, James, and you should choose this in a snap. I warn you, though, as someone who’s not big on ageing wine, Bouley probably isn’t the producer for you. Get d’Angerville’s basic Volnay to explore more of Volnay.
I’ve managed to leave my Joblot alone. I’m getting better😀. L&W have the ‘07 available. Bit of age but the vintage?
07s from good producers are really delicious, one of my favourite vintages to drink at the moment. If you are buying from l&w you really should get some Domaine du Colombier Hermitage and age it! Last time I looked they had an array of really good vintages at good prices. It hurts me that I cannot get any for the foreseeable future😥.
Ok. £62.68 duty paid seems reasonable to me. Fav hermitage vintages? Yes I’ll age it 👴
Cripes-a-lordy! If £63 is ‘reasonable’ to drop then you should be buying me some Hermitage as a reward for getting access to my boundless store of red-hot tips and general advice!!!!!! Now, pay attention, this is really good advice. Hermitage vintages in descending order of desirability:
15: Fucking amazing, top shelf vintage
10: Bleeding marvellous, also top shelf vintage
16:: Really tits, very, very, very near a top shelf vintage
09: Just delicious, earlier maturing than the above but still damned fine
17: Very good, but look further up this list, my friend!
I’ll take a magnum of 16 (ideally, as I love magnums and I can never have enough) or a bottle of 10. These require KEEPING! Pop any of these now and you are just pissing money away. If you want to try one soon get a 14, it’s a soft, easy, early maturing vintage. Nowhere near the class and quality of the above. Indeed if a 14 is your only experience of Colombier you’ll likely think Florent is less of an Hermitage demiurge than he actually is. The guy is titting great. Best producer of Hermitage on the market at the moment. I tell you what, I’ll give you a 14 next time I see you so you can have a taste – think MORE profound, manly and complex when you taste it. A lot more!
Have you tried Pousse d’Or Volnay? That’s good and might be cheaper. D’Angerville and Lafarge are the other two famous goodies. If this kind of wine appeals to you, you should see if anyone has some Chassagne Clos St Jean from Pillot. It’s one of the best reds of the Cote de Beaune and it’s a freaking bargain. Four Walls used to have the stunning 09….
Anyone thinking of trying to help with my depression, you should pay attention to the list of vintages I recommend of Domains du Colombier Hermitage that are on sale on the Lay and Wheeler website and email me for my address. Not if you are going to stalk me, obviously;)
Haha Davy, great stuff as usual. You’re on form today! Thanks for the vintage advice! £63 compares well with most I would say. Especially with the age. Lafarge would be £100 plus. Had his village Volnay and Bourgogne and they were right up my alley so to speak. Not tried any of the others you mention. I have a lot of drinking to do, especially on the Hermitage front. Actually I have the Colombier Crozes-Hermitage Gaby from TWS out back. Love that wine.
Cuvée Gaby is the best Crozes on the market. Graillot is really making mini-Hermitage (with prices to match). Gaby is damned-good Crozes – it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. I have a bottle of 16 in the wine fridge.
You still have my address to send the H to, James?
There’s never any rush to drink Hermitage, it’ll last. I’ll give you a 14 next time you visit. It’s nice, but compared to his best vintages… *boff!*…
I have actually had a stalker here in Winchester. That’s a fucking terrifying position to be in Iif you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, are psychotic and have incredible paranoia..😰😰…
Sounds good Davy. Hopefully I’ll be released from hard labour sometime in the next 5 years. This landscaping is too hard for a 54 year old wino 😵
Lovely note on the Bouley. I have the 10 and 11 vintages of this wine… might be nice to bring them to a dinner with your last 09 in a few years’ time.
Great I’ll save it to drink together then! I warn you, however, that the 11 probably tastes like battery acid already, let alone in the 5-10 years the 09 and 10 deserve to become really magic.