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Côte de Beaune



Joseph Voillot's grandson, Etienne Chaix, has taken over the management of this top class Volnay domaine. He makes classical, elegant Volnay that repay time in the cellar.


Volnay was the only renowned Cote D’Or village under-represented on our list. For some time we had been keeping a weather eye on an opportunity to work with a gifted grower from the village.

During our recent trip we lunched one day at the Cellier Volnaysien in the heart of the village. We ordered a bottle of Domaine Joseph Voillot 2017 Volnay – a domaine Robert had worked with in the 1980s. It was notably balanced, elegant, and expressive of the village terroir.

Clearly the Domaine was on top form.  On the off-chance we knocked on the cellar door two down from the restaurant.  Joseph’s grandson, Etienne Chaix, happened to be in and kindly dropped everything to lead us through a tasting of his cask sample 2019’s.  His meticulous background notes on each parcel, detailing the age of the vines, surface area, and soil type suggested a young man totally focused on making wines which reflect the individual character of each. They did not disappoint and we are delighted to rekindle the relationship.

Etienne, sixth generation winemaker, has now taken over the running of the domaine. They have 8ha in Volnay, Pommard and Meursault, but it is the Volnay we will concentrate on. Farming is designed with respect for nature in mind, herbicides and pesticides have been banned, and the domaine has recently qualified for high environmental value (HVE) certification. Everything is hand harvested and an initial strict sorting takes place in the vineyard, with further sorting at the winery, if necessary. Wine making is traditional, the grapes are destemmed, and given a 12-14 day cold soak before fermentation begins. Only native yeasts are used. New oak is kept to a minimum, never exceeding 15%. These are classical, elegant Volnays that will repay some time in the cellar.

Current Vintages

From six parcels, with plantings from 1930-1982. 10% new oak. Lifted cool red cherry, while the palate is structured with fine, slightly dry tannins backing up the fruit. Fleshy, but it doesn’t entirely hide the bones, and there’s a nice complexity on the finish, with dark red cherry, dried herbs, and a little spice.
Mid-slope vineyard with red clay over the limestone rock. Vines planted between 1932-1978. This is good, tight and refined, quite layered and detailed, certainly plenty of freshness alongside stone fruit, cherry and wood smoke. Tannins are fine grained, but add presence, and this holds its shape into a long finish.
Jasper Morris mentions this is a vineyard first recorded in 1252 and a site which is quintessentially Volnay**. Very stony, free draining soil in this climat below the village, where the Voillot vines average 66 years old. Very good fruit which certainly shows the Volnay lift, although quite rich too. Dark, almost exotic fruit isn’t at all overcooked, minerality underpins the ripeness. Structured, serious, will need a decade or more to shine. **p. 356 Inside Burgundy, Jasper Morris, BB&R Press

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