Normally I always taste the wines before I decide to visit a producer. I only visit estates where I know there is a good chance that I will like the wines – thus also will be able to write something positive and perhaps even recommend some wines.
Many Burgundy collectors are quite lucky, as they only taste the best 10% of the wines made .. and believe me .. you don’t want to try the worst 30% of the wines produced in the region – there are some pretty awful wines.
The visit at Domaine Bouley in Volnay was however different, as I agreed to a visit without tasting the wines first. I was therefore both relieved and very pleased when Pierrick Bouley served the first wine .. lovely juice and drinking very well indeed.
Domaine Pascal Bouley
Domaine Pascal Bouley is an old family estate – as I understand it Pierrick Bouley represents the fifth genaration at the estate .. so a lot of heritage and knowledge about the wine making and the terroirs of Volnay.
Pierrick runs the estate with his parents … Pascal and Réyane Bouley – and the main market has so far been France – with quite a large share to private clients in France. This estate does however deserve the attention of collectors of Volnay all over the world.
The wines are mainly from the Volnay appellation – with the occasional wines from the surrounding appellations.
The style of a Pascal Bouley Volnay
Pierrick makes wine with a quite light hand – only little new oak, low extraction and a relatively low amount of SO2 – they are classic wines with a contemporary touch.
In my world Volnays should be like this – i.e. elegant wines, refined wines – wines that are not dark and dense – but wines that reflects the very character of pinot noir and Burgundy. Sadly many attempts have been made to make dark and somewhat extracted Volnays … I don’t like these wines as they rarely develop the refined and delicate complexity a Volnay should have.
The Volnay terroirs are special as the top vineyards also have a slight tendency to austerity … and this – in my view – needs a light hand otherwise they rarely unfold the full complexity a great Volnay can offer.
Pierrick seem to have found a lovely balance in the wines – and even in a rich vintage like 2015 – some wines are beyond 14% alcohol – the wines are quite lightfooted and refined. This is a vintage where the lesser wines really shines as they have more body than usual, and where the big wines needs to be treated with respect – as they most certainly will require quite some time to unfold.
Sadly the quantities are very small in 2015 due to the problems with hail … and furthermore in 2016 there will be very little wine to sell due to the severe frost in April 2016.
I don’t believe in buying wines only to support the growers – but I do however think Volnay deserves a chance these years – and buying Volnay will support the growers in the village that perhaps has endured the greates losses over the last vintages – with hail, frost and other of natures misfortunes.
If you want to explore and support Volany – I see no better place to start than Domaine Pascal Bouley – as these wines a well made, lovely and still quite affordable.
Please note there is more than one Bouley in Volnay – and Thomas Bouley is also making very fine wines at his estate – and they are perhaps more well known in the market .. but now to the notes on the excellent wines from Domaine Pascal Bouley.
Tasting notes on the 2015s from Domaine Pascal Bouley
All the wines showed well aside from a slight reduction here and there. Wines were tasted from cask in the celler of Domaine Pascal Bouley on June 16th 2016.
Pierrick Bouley mentioned that they harvested between September 4th and September 9th 2016 i.e. a relatively early harvest – a good decision in my view.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Passetoutgrain 2015
The Passetoutgrain 2015 offer very good value – a lovely little wine. The nose is offering juicy fruit – predominantly red berries – fresh and forward. On the palate quite concentrated for this level … fresh and juicy. A wine for enjoyable drinking – and just for the record Passetoutgrain can offer a lot of pleasure .. so no need to overlook these in the quest for fine Burgundian moments.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Bourgogne Rouge 2015
The Bourgogne Rouge is a step up in refinement and purity from the Passetoutgrain. The nose offer lovely red fruit spiced with an earthy minerality. On the palate ripe and rich fruit … generous for this level … with a lovely mouth feel. It’s fresh and vibrant offering a fine drinkability. A lovely Bourgogne Rouge – will most certainly provide a lot of pleasure over the next years
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Monthelie “Aux Founereaux” 2015
Another overlooked appellation is Monthelie … here in the shape and form of the village Aux Founereaux – located above the village of Monthelie. The bouquet is offering lovely ripe red berry fruit – good depth and complexity for this level. On the palate fine and juicy fruit – lovely sweet berries on the mid-palate. Offers good weight and length for a village from this appellation. Love the fresh and juicy fruit a beautiful Monthelie in the making.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Monthelie Les Clous 2015
Stepping up the game with a Monthelie 1er cru … Les Clous, a vineyard located just above Aux Founereaux and above the village. The nose offer fine red and dark berry fruit – a bit more depth and somewhat darker than the fresh and forward village. On the palate lovely ripe fruit – very juicy with the most delightful notes of forest strawberries on the mid-palate. A very good wine in it’s own right – matching the generic Volnay quality wise.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Volnay 2015
The Volnay village is quite a step up in quality – although slightly reduced currently. The nose is bursting with red fruit brought forward by a fine earthy minerality. On the palate rich and generous fruit – lovely depth and concentration. The fruit is juicy and fresh … the timely harvest has no doubt preserved the energy in this wine. A delightful generic Volnay … cheers.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Pommard 2015
The Pommard village is also showing the goods. The nose is forward offering a lovely selection of red berries. On the palate fine concentration, lovely depth with a fine and juicy mid-palate fruit. It’s an elegant and generous Pommard village in the making.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Volnay Robardelle 2015
The Volnay Robardelle 1er cru is another lovely wine from a terroir located in the lower southern end of the appellation. The nose is bursting with red fruit … elegant and supported by a what seems to be a slightly chalky minerality. On the palate juicy and vibrant red fruit .. lovely mid-palate energy. I really enjoyed this wine for it’s energy and juicyness .. will provide excellent drinking.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Volnay Ronceret 2015
The Volnay Ronceret is taking it to the next level … the nose is bursting with fruit – blackberries, boysenberries and blackbarries spiced with a fine earthy minerality. On the palate layers of ripe and rich fruit – lacy and generous with impressive depth and length. This is a truly delightful Volnay … lovely vibrant energy – one of my favorites in the Bouley lineup. Ronceret is located just below Volnay Champans – below the southern part of the village.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Volnay Les Grands Champs 2015
Volnay Les Grands Champs is a 0.24 ha monopole located in Volnay Les Mitans. This is more ripe than the previous wines with the bouquet offering notes of red and dark fruit – boysen berries, plum and hint of prunes. On the palate rich and weighty fruit – almost velvet – with a nice balancing acitdity. It’s a quite elegant wine .. but perhaps lacking a bit of freshness and energy compared to the previous Volnays.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Volnay Clos des Chenes 2015
Volnay Clos de Chenes is a energetic powerhouse. The nose bursting with juicy red fruit spiced by a intense earthy minerality. On the palate layers of juicy ripe fruit – gorgeous energy and freshness – and while this is a big wine (14,3% alcohol) it’s still vibrant and energetic. This is a magnificent Volnay in the making – impressive and delightful offering all the best sides of the 2015 vintage. My favorite in the Bouley lineup.
Domaine Pascal Bouley, Volnay Champans 2015
The Volnay Champans is more backward than the Clos de Chene – just finishing the malolactic fermentation. The boquet is offering layers of ripe fruit – notes of dark cherries, prune and boysenberries – supported by a intense earthy minerality. On the palate layers of weighty red and dark fruit – long and intense. A big Volnay in the making .. will require years of cellaring to unfold.