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It is perhaps only in a village blessed with as many fabulous vignerons and famous wineries as Volnay, that a venerable domaine that stretches back five generations might be somewhat overlooked. Yet this is somehow the case with Joseph Voillot in Volnay. With nine hectares of well-situated, old vines across Volnay and Pommard, Voillot is a delight for lovers of classically styled Burgundies. The wines are pure, mineral, terroir-specific and they age beautifully.
The domaine has been run since 1995 by the puckish Jean-Pierre Charlot, (son-in-law of the late Joseph Voillot), after working alongside his father-in-law beginning in 1980. During this period Jean-Pierre also taught for many years at Lycée Viticole in Beaune, where he trained a bevy of Burgundy’s finest winemakers. His work in the vines and cellar produce wines that highlight the terroir of each site; his deft hand is especially evident in difficult vintages, when his wines shine.
At Voillot, the winemaking is traditional, with minimal intervention and focus on terroir and purity. To this end, the grapes are destemmed, the cuvées see 10-20% new oak, the Premier Crus are aged in barrel for sixteen months before resting in tank before bottling, the Villages and Bourgogne wines see a shorter elevage. Sulfur is minimized, to allow the aromatic purity to shine through. The reds are bottled with minimal filtration and without fining. The resulting wines are lovely on release, though they really gain in harmony and complexity with time in the cellar.
As those who follow Burgundy are likely aware, the 2016 vintage was especially trying for the growers with devastating frost in April, followed by mighty struggles in the vines through most of the spring and early summer. Yet despite the early setbacks and tiny yields, Jean-Pierre's wines are truly exceptional with soaring aromatics, luminous fruit, excellent terroir delineation, and an inner vibrance that is nearly electric. The wines are beautifully knit and have fabulous intensity with a sense of weightlessness and lift. It's always a pleasure to offer the Burgundies from Voillot, and with the 2016s it is especially satisfying to share these exceptional wines. John McIlwain
From 50-year-old vines in four parcels below the village of Volnay. Cherry pit, iron, and spice box with notes of black tea on the nose, freshly turned soil and violets emerge with air. There is a deft interplay between the bright hedge fruit and stony earth notes on the detailed, mid-weight palate. This is a fine Bourgogne, with enough savory elements in relation to the charm of the fruit to warrant a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
From multiple parcels averaging 50 years old. The 2016 Volnay Vieilles Vignes from Joseph Voillot is marked by the precision and lift of the vintage. The nose is high-toned offering aromas of ripe red fruits, red currant, and Morello cherry, with hints of iron and stone. The palate displays a deep mineral core with waves of ripe cherry and raspberry fruit framed by discreet wood and a lifted, persistent finish. The intensity, depth, and complexity is impressive for village level wine and this will age beautifully over the next 7-15 years and beyond. John McIlwain
Dark ruby robe. A mélange of red and black fruit, forest floor and freshly turned earth on the nose with a faint whiff of anise and mustard seed. The midweight and concentrated palate offers sour cherry, pomegranate, and animale flavors, underlain with a deeply mineral core and a long mouthwatering, moderately tannic, expansive finish. This is fabulous Champans and what it may lack in overt polish, it makes up in mineral frankness and lift. This should age effortlessly and is cracking traditional Burgundy! Voillot’s 2016s are not to be missed! John McIlwain