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Domaine Joseph Voillot: The cat is most definitely out of the bag


Whilst we have been huge supporters of the amazing wines of Jean-Pierre Charlot of Domaine Joseph Voillot for many years, his 2013s have most definitely caught the eye of Neal Martin, Robert Parker’s Burgundy aficionado. Neil likens his wines to two other great Volnay Domaines de Montille and Lafarge-classic, equally age worthy but at 30-35% less expensive. The ability to age was totally supported by the sensational 1947 Volnay 1er Cru Champans Jean-Pierre and I enjoyed over dinner together last year…

Jean-Pierre is unquestionably one of our favourite producers in the Cote d’Or, a great friend, brilliant communicator, passionate, gourmand and one of the most influential winemakers of his generation having been a senior lecturer at the Beaune wine school and responsible for educating the majority of the new generation of vignerons in the region.

More importantly the Domaine represents as fine a selection of the top vineyards in the appellations of Volnay and Pommard as any estate in the Cote de Beaune. The wines are totally representative of their terroir and the 2013 highlights this beautifully.. Sadly volumes are very tight due to the low yielding vintage and because of yet another hail storm that devastated a number of Jean-Pierre’s vineyards. We wholeheartedly recommend any of the selection below and chapeau to Jean-Pierre for the fully deserved worldwide recognition.

Neal Martin writes “Readers will be aware that I have an immense amount of admiration for winemaker Jean-Pierre Chalot and these days, a great deal of sympathy. When I first heard of the hailstorms in the Côte de Beaune I think of Jean-Pierre, whose holdings cluster around the most affected parts, so there is no compensation in owning vines out of range of God’s malice. On top of that, this is not an affluent domaine that can ride such calamities out; this is not a domaine with the global reputation to charge a premium on their premier crus, not that profit is Jean-Pierre’s goal. And on top of all that, last year saw the passing of his father-in-law, Joseph Voillot himself, who I was pleased to have lunched with many years ago. Still, this is a domaine that epitomizes everything to love, and I mean “love” and not just “like”, about Burgundy. Simple, artisan, quality-driven but not extreme, a soulful and charming domaine that just gets by turning out traditional, characterful Volnay and Pommards year after year. And in Jean-Pierre, as I have written before, you have one of the unsung heroes of the Côte de Beaune, the proverbial winemakers’ winemaker. He’s taught many of the vignerons in Burgundy, put them on the right track and played his own part in elevating quality.

“We were around 50% down in 2013,” he told me, sweeping up the shards of a wine glass that had inadvertently smashed on the floor of the cuverie. “Pezerolles was wiped out by around 75%. Most of the premier crus were halved in terms of quantity and so we had to use three sorting table during the harvest [which took place between 5 and 11 October]. The good thing was that there was ventilation and so there was no rot. I’m happy to have the quality even though we have suffered hail three times.”

I asked whether netting was the solution but as he pointed out, it is too expensive to use for a Village Cru. Having said that, I still think if the manpower was available, a grower like Jean-Pierre would have been spared at least part of his suffering had he had recourse to it. As for the wines, these are the types of Pommard and Volnay that I enjoy so much. They can be a bit “stiff” and aloof in their youth but they certainly repay cellaring. For those who prefer their Burgundy more “classic” in style, for those that might have a penchant for de Montille or Michel Lafarge, Joseph Voillot will be right up your street.”

Please find the Jean-Pierre’s 2013s listed below:

“¢ Volnay
£245.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond
£265.00 per 6 Magnums In Bond

Everything that village Volnay should be, this is a deliciously open and pure Pinot style; fresh and vibrant with delicate richness. An early approachable style which will give real pleasure. Drink 2017 – 2025

“¢ Pommard
£285.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond
£295.00 per 6 Magnums In Bond

A fine comparison between the two appellations of Volnay and Pommard. This is more classically sturdy with a firmer tannic grip, but excellent fruit and real life on the finish. Broad and structured. Drink 2017 – 2015

“¢ Volnay 1er Cru Brouillards
£450.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond

A very intense tightly knit style. This is a weighty styled Volnay, with layers of gamey black fruits and a vibrant spicy finish. Lots of weight and real depth in the palate. Drink 2018 – 2027

“¢ Volnay 1er Cru Champans
£450.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond
£465.00 per 6 Magnums In Bond

The most classical of all the Volnay wines, balancing a velvet silky refinement with a lovely richness of fruit. This is delicious, with broad mouth coating flavours, ripe and concentrated with a very good length. Drink 2019 – 2027

“¢ Volnay 1er Cru Fremiets
£450.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond
£465.00 per 6 Magnums In Bond

The most Pommard of the Volnay 1er Crus, hardly surprising as it is its neighbour. A wine with strong pronounced black fruits and real energy, without excessive weight. Crisp and bright on the finish, this will become deliciously sweet with age. Drink 2018 – 2028

“¢ Volnay 1er Cru Caillerets
£450.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond

The purest and raciest of the Volnay 1er Crus, with a reputation amongst most growers for making the most sophisticated wines in the village. This has sublimely pure fresh red Pinot characteristics, racy, fresh and yet beautifully sweet. Lovely fine length that lingers forever. Drink 2018 – 2029

“¢ Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens (limited)
£575.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond

A truly superb wine and one of the very finest reds in the Côte de Beaune for the vintage. Absolutely sensational, with extraordinary texture of rich dark wild berried fruits. So full and ripe, yet not excessive and completely in balance. A real stunner. Drink 2018 – 2029

“¢ Pommard 1er Cru Les Epenots
£575.00 per 12 Bottles In Bond

A superb example of this, Pommard’s most prestigious 1er Cru, packed with deep rich dark wild fruit flavours. This balances a full weighted texture with an air of refinement. The lovely gamey flavours on the finish provide layers of complexity. Fabulous. Drink 2019-2030