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.
**p. 356 Inside Burgundy, Jasper Morris, BB&R Press
“Richer and more muscular than the Frémiets, the 2019 Volnay 1er Cru Les Champans evokes notions of cherries, sweet berries, orange rind and loamy soil. Medium to full-bodied, layered and multidimensional, it’s deep and concentrated, concluding with a long finish. This is the domaine’s largest premier cru holding, planted in 1934, 1971 and 1985.”
William kelley, Wine Advocate January 2021
About the Domaine
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.